Bruce Springsteen Battles Madonna for U.K. Albums Chart Crown

Danny Clinch
Bruce Springsteen

It’s a heavyweight clash on the midweek U.K. albums chart as The Boss and The Queen of Pop go toe-to-toe for the crown. 
Bruce Springsteen’s 19th studio album Western Stars (Columbia) leads the Official Chart Update, with Madonna's 14th album Madame X (Interscope) almost 16,000 combined sales behind in second place, according to the Official Charts Company. 

Western Stars is Springsteen’s first album since 2012's U.K. chart-topping Wrecking Ball, while Madame X is the followup to Madonna’s Rebel Heart, which reached No. 2 after its release in 2015.

If Springsteen's set holds its place when the weekly chart is published this Friday, it'll mark his 11th U.K. No. 1. Madonna has led the survey with 12 titles, a record for the most chart-topping records by a female artist. History beckons for the U.S. pop superstar. If she manages to win the race to the top, she'll join Elvis Presley as the solo artists with most leaders on the Official U.K. Albums Chart.

In other chart news, British electronic act Bastille slots into third place on the midweek chart with their third album Doom Days (Virgin), while Lewis Capaldi's Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish (EMI) looks likely to be dethroned after four weeks at the summit. It’s currently at No. 4.

Meanwhile, celebrated post-punk outfit Joy Division are on track to impact the top 10 with the 40th anniversary reissue of their classic debut album Unknown Pleasures (London). It’s at No. 5 on midweek data.  

Unknown Pleasures, with its iconic Peter Saville-designed cover art, failed to make an impression on the chart following its release in June 1979, and went on to peak at No. 71 in August 1980 after the untimely death of lead singer Ian Curtis.

As the years go by, Unknown Pleasures’ reputation grows. "Amazing that 40 years after release, new generations are still discovering and listening to our debut album,” founding band member Bernard Sumner told Official Charts. "The timeless sound of Unknown Pleasures continues to live on in a way we never expected."

On the midweek U.K. singles chart, Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s “I Don’t Care” (Asylum/Def Jam) is out front and on course for a sixth week at the summit, taking a lead of 6,400 combined sales into the second half of the week, according to the OCC.

The real action is at the No. 2 position, with Little Mix’s new track “Bounce Back” (RCA) leading Taylor Swift’s latest number “You Need to Calm Down” (EMI) by just four units.