Madonna, Jack Johnson Take Lead On U.K. Charts

Madonna's "Sorry" (Warner Bros.) became her second consecutive U.K. No. 1 single from the album "Confessions on a Dance Floor" yesterday, while Jack Johnson's "In Between Dreams" (Brushfire/Island) su

Madonna's "Sorry" (Warner Bros.) became her second consecutive U.K. No. 1 single from the album "Confessions on a Dance Floor" yesterday (Feb. 26), while Jack Johnson's "In Between Dreams" (Brushfire/Island) surged to No. 1 in its 44th week on the album chart. "Sorry" hit the top even as its predecessor "Hung Up" continues to hold down a place in the U.K. top 20, where it fell 16-20 in its 16th chart week.

Runner-up to Madonna, in a spectacular chart feat for an artist largely unknown six months ago, is "Put Your Records On" (Good Groove/EMI) by singer/writer Corinne Bailey Rae, which enters at No. 2. The 26-year-old's self-titled EMI debut album is out today; her first headlining U.K. tour begins March 27.

Britain's No. 1 single for the last two weeks, "Thunder in My Heart Again" (Apollo/Free 2 Air) by Meck featuring Leo Sayer, fell to No. 3, while Irish hitmakers Westlife returned at No. 4 with "Amazing" (S/Sony BMG). The Darkness, whose sophomore album "One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back" (Atlantic) has been a sales disappointment, nevertheless scored a second top 10 hit from it with "Is It Just Me" at No. 8, the same peak achieved by "One Way Ticket" in November.

Sony BMG's Dual Disc campaign of Michael Jackson reissues, "Visionary -- The Video Singles," which will feature limited edition re-releases of his classic tracks and their video clips between now and June, proved initially less successful than the company's previous Elvis Presley series. The first release, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," only managed a No. 17 debut.

On the album chart, the Johnson set raced 6-1 to end Arctic Monkeys' four-week reign with "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" (Domino), which dropped to No. 2. Last week, sales of "In Between Dreams" doubled following his Feb. 15 victory in the best international breakthrough act category at the BRIT Awards. Another winner that night, K.T. Tunstall, continues to see sustained sales for the album "Eye to the Telescope" (Relentless/Virgin), which was up 4-3 in its 57th chart week.

There was also an impressive chart return for Neil Diamond. "12 Songs" (Columbia), which came out last fall in the United States but was held for U.K. release until last week, entered at No. 5. That's Diamond's best-ever ranking in the U.K. for an album of new studio recordings. He also hit No. 5 in the summer of 1996 with "The Ultimate Collection" and No. 1 in 1992 with "The Greatest Hits 1966-1992"; his last top 10 album of new songs was "Primitive," which reached No. 7 in 1984.

Further down the chart, there was a No. 35 entry for Dolly Parton's "Those Were The Days" (EMI) and a first-ever solo appearance on the album chart for Kinks frontman and songwriting giant Ray Davies, with "Other People's Lives" (V2) at No. 36.

James Blunt's "Back to Bedlam" (Atlantic) is No. 1 for a sixth consecutive and seventh aggregate week on the European Top 100 Albums chart, while "Nasty Girl" (Bad Boy/Atlantic) by the Notorious B.I.G. with P. Diddy, Nelly, Jagged Edge and Avery Storm reaches the top of the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles survey after holding at No. 2 for four weeks.