U.K. pop vocal group One Direction makes history on the Billboard 200 albums chart as the first U.K. group to bow at No. 1 with a debut album. Up All Night enters atop the list with 176,000 copies sold according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The previous highest bow for a U.K. group's first album came on Feb. 22, 1997, when Spice Girls' Spice started at No. 6. The album eventually climbed to No. 1 in its 14th week on the list, spending five nonconsecutive frames in the penthouse.
Up All Night's lead single, "What Makes You Beautiful," debuted at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 a month ago. That marked the highest entry by a U.K. group's debut single since Spice Girls' "Wannabe" bowed at No. 11 on Jan. 25, 1997.
Formed on the 2010 edition of the U.K.'s "X Factor" TV program, One Direction comprises Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. All of the group hails from the U.K., save for Horan, who is from Ireland. The act has nabbed three top three U.K. singles and its debut album hit No. 2 in November 2011.
For the past two weeks, One Direction mania has been in full swing in the U.S., as the group did numerous album-signing events at shopping malls and performed on NBC's "Today" show (March 12). The group's record label, SYCO/Columbia, says that over 10,000 fans showed up for the "Today" gig -- its first live TV performance in America.
One Direction also recently wrapped a 10-date concert tour of the U.S., where they opened for Big Time Rush. Coincidentally, One Direction's No. 1 start on the Billboard 200 is the highest debut for a pop vocal group's first album since Big Time Rush's BTR landed at No. 3 on Oct. 30, 2010.
Our regular recap of the week's top 10 selling albums and songs will be available on Wednesday (21) morning.