George Michael's retrospective "Twenty Five" album (Aegean/Sony BMG) opens at the top of European Top 100 Albums, after securing initial pan-European shipments of close to 450,000, according to Sony B

George Michael's retrospective "Twenty Five" album (Aegean/Sony BMG) opens at the top of European Top 100 Albums, after securing initial pan-European shipments of close to 450,000, according to Sony BMG president, continental Europe Maarten Steinkamp.

In the United Kingdom, 100,000 units are sold out of the box for a No. 1 start, and there are three runner-up debuts, in Italy, Holland and Switzerland, plus a No. 3 debut in Ireland.

Other chart action for "Twenty Five" includes climbs of 53-2 and 48-4 in the Belgian regions of Wallony and Flanders respectively and a No. 9 start in Portugal. Steinkamp points out that its debut in France is at No. 4 but on the separate chart for artist compilations, which do not qualify for the main survey. Available in both two- and three-disc editions, the collection features Michael's current single with former Sugababes member Mutya, "This Is Not Real Love," which debuted and peaked at No. 15 on the U.K. chart last week, and now dips 4-7 in Italy. "Twenty Five" is earmarked for U.S. release in the New Year.

"The Very Best of Depeche Mode Vol.1" (Mute) makes a strong debut behind Michael at No. 2 on the pan-European chart, as Mute director of international Donna Vergier reports a total opening shipment of 600,000 units. The compilation's performance is led by a No. 1 start in Germany (160,000 shipments, according to Vergier), No. 2 on the French compilation chart (110,000 shipments), No. 3 in Switzerland and No. 5 in Italy. In the United Kingdom, where shipments are 100,000, the debut is somewhat more modest, at No. 18. The single "Martyr" climbs 4-2 in Hungary, holds at No. 2 in Spain, and is also top ten in Germany and Italy.

Yusuf, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, returns confidently to the European charts with "An Other Cup" (Polydor), at No. 6 overall. It's new at No. 2 in Germany and Austria and No. 20 in the United Kingdom, on sales of 22,000 copies. That's his first appearance on the U.K. album survey with new material since "Izitso" reached No. 18 in 1977. Prior to that, Stevens had six top ten albums in that market between 1967 and 1975. Yusuf has no immediate plans to return to the concert arena, but appeared on BBC2's long-running live series "Later," aired last Friday (Nov. 17), performing songs from the new album and his 1971 U.S. top ten hit "Peace Train."

By contrast, the return of female pop quartet All Saints, newly-signed to Parlophone/EMI, produces an anti-climatic No. 40 debut there for the album "Studio 1." Lead single "Rock Steady" reached No. 3 in the United Kingdom last week.

"Smack That" by Akon featuring Eminem is the new No. 1 on Eurochart Hot 100 Singles, climbing from No. 6. In the United Kingdom, the track builds on its digital sales debut last week at No. 12 to climb to No. 1. Initial physical sales, coupled with its second-week digital performance, total 35,000 units. It's Senegalese rapper Akon's second No. 1 in the market, after "Lonely" topped the survey for two weeks last May. "Lonely" ruled the Eurochart for four weeks and was the No. 5 hit of the year on the year-end composite countdown. "Smack That" climbs 26-3 in Ireland but has already apparently peaked in Sweden, falling 3-5, and Germany (5-6).

Reunited 1990s pop hitmakers Take That debuts at No. 4 in the United Kingdom on digital sales alone with "Patience" (Polydor), to hit No. 17 on the Eurochart. According to midweek sales data from the Official U.K. Charts Company, the song is on course for this weekend's U.K. No. 1 slot after Monday's physical release, with the album "Beautiful World" set for release next Monday (Nov. 27).

Former Take That member Robbie Williams, meanwhile, adds another U.K. top ten hit to his collection - his 25th since leaving the group a decade ago - with "Lovelight" (Chrysalis). It climbs 28-8 in Britain for an 83-15 climb on the Eurochart.