O-Zone Tops Eurochart

Song marks first ever Euro-hit from Romania.

O-Zone's "Dragostea Din Tei" (Love Under the Lime Tree) climbs to the top of the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles this week, becoming the first ever No. 1 hit to originate from Romania. The track, which was No. 3 on the aggregate chart last week, looks set to become this summer's novelty hit across Europe.

Having conquered continental Europe, the Romanian-language song with its distinctive yodeling vocal line enters the British singles chart this week at No. 3. O-Zone's success there follows No. 1 positions in France and Germany. Meanwhile, a rival version of the song, by Haiducii on Italian label Universo, remains unchanged at No. 4 this week Eurochart.

The three members of O-Zone hail from the eastern European republic of Moldova. Their recording was released by local indie Media Services and then licensed internationally to Italian dance specialist Time, which in turn has licensed it to various companies around Europe, including Jive in the United Kingdom, Island in Germany and Happy Music in France. Media Services managing director and head of A&R Dan Popi says O-Zone's track has shipped approximately 500,000 units in Europe.

Aside from the new leader, the Eurochart's top 20 remains relatively static. One exception is 4-4-2's "Come On England" (Gut), the Euro 2004 soccer tournament track in support of the English team. It bows at 10 on the Eurochart, following a No. 2 entry at home. The song's chart life will likely mirror that of the English team's performance in the tournament.

The European Top 100 Albums chart sees a string of debuts in the top 10. However, none contest the supremacy of Canadian pop rocker Avril Lavigne, who scores another week at No. 1 with her sophomore effort, "Under My Skin" (Arista).

British dance act Faithless scores the highest European entry, at No. 3 this week with "No Roots" (Cheeky/BMG), following a No. 1 entry at home. It is the act's best showing ever on the pan-European chart. Previous album "Outrospective" peaked at No. 4 in 2001.

Faithless is currently on promotion duty around Europe. "We had great impact with the first single, 'Mass Destruction,' and it's fantastic to see the album doing so well across Europe," says BMG U.K. & Ireland senior product manager Roger Jacobs. The album has shipped 150,000 copies so far in Europe, he says. It is due for U.S. release July 20 on J Records.

Another new entry on European Top 100 Albums is Nightwish, whose fifth album, "Once" (Nuclear Blast), cracks the top 10 at No. 4. This is a memorable achievement for a Finnish act that defines itself as a "symphonic metal band." A sure winner in the band's native country, where it opened at No. 1, "Once" also tops the German chart this week and is strong all around Europe, particularly in Scandinavia. The band is planning a 150-show world tour that will conclude at the end of 2005.

Nightwish fares better than another combo of rockers, supergroup Velvet Revolver, which comprises members of Guns N' Roses and former Stone Temple Pilots front man Scott Weiland. They debut at No. 8 on the European chart with the album "Contraband" (RCA), which opened at No. 1 this week on The Billboard 200 in the United States.