James Blunt leads European Top 100 Albums for a third consecutive, and fourth aggregate, week with “Back To Bedlam” (Atlantic. It now moves 2-1 in Switzerland, stays at No. 2 in France and climbs 3-2 in Germany. It’s also up 24-14 in its 48th chart week in Italy, but “Bedlam” does lose two of its European chart crowns, falling 1-3 in both Sweden and Ireland.
Todd Interland, Blunt’s manager at Twenty-First Artists, tells Billboard.biz that “Bedlam” has now shipped 4.6 million copies in Europe and 6.37 million worldwide. “We’ve had tremendous success throughout most of Europe,” he says, “most notably [outside the United Kingdom] in France and Germany. The sales success didn’t happen simultaneously. Germany is the latest country to see a substantial increase in sales due to a slightly different sequence in singles released at radio.”
English rock singer-writer Richard Ashcroft makes a sturdy debut at No. 4 on Top 100 Albums with his third solo set, “Keys to the World” (Parlophone). That improves on the No. 8 pan-European debut of its predecessor “Human Conditions” in the fall of 2002. The U.K. market leads Ashcroft’s charge with a No. 2 debut, on sales of 74,000 copies, but “Keys” also opens well in Germany, at No. 6. The single “Break The Night With Color,” which hit No. 3 in the United Kingdom two weeks ago, now debuts at No. 3 in Italy.
Beating Ashcroft to No. 1 in the United Kingdom, and debuting at No. 5 on the composite chart, is red-hot English modern rock act Arctic Monkeys with “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” (Domino). After two No. 1 singles with “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” and “When The Sun Goes Down,” the band achieves Britain’s fastest-selling debut album in U.K. chart history, selling 363,000 copies in week one and outdoing the previous record of 306,000, held by shortlived pop act Hear’Say’s 2001 debut “Popstars” (Polydor). “When The Sun Goes Down” falls 6-10 on Eurochart Hot 100 Singles.
The Arctic Monkeys’ album also goes straight to No. 1 in Ireland, No. 8 in Finland, No. 9 in Holland and No. 12 in Norway. Other debuts include No. 40 in Sweden and No. 44 in Italy. The band is currently on a British tour that reaches Liverpool University tonight (Feb. 2), with 11 more U.K. dates followed by seven in Europe. An 11-gig North American tour commences in San Francisco March 13, followed by three shows in Japan, where “Whatever” makes a notable debut on the country’s international album chart this week at No. 5.
Sweden’s new No. 1 album, replacing Blunt at the top, is “Parvor Av Glas” (“Pearls of Glass”) (Sony BMG), the ninth studio album by longtime local favorite Lisa Ekdahl. She embarks on an extensive Scandinavian tour in March.
Madonna’s “Hung Up” clocks an impressive 12th consecutive week at No. 1 on Eurochart Hot 100 Singles. That’s the longest run at the top since O-Zone’s “Dragostea Din Tei” (MediaServices/ Time/Vale) led the Eurochart for 12 weeks between June and early September 2004. “Hung Up” is still No. 1 in Italy and Hungary, but falls 1-4 in Sweden and 1-2 in Spain and Norway.
“Nasty Girl” (Bad Boy/Atlantic) by the Notorious B.I.G. with P.Diddy, Nelly, Jagged Edge and Avery Storm spends a second week at No. 2 on the Eurochart but ascends 2-1 in the United Kingdom, giving B.I.G. his first No. 1 single there nine years after his death. Two-week U.K. sales of the single total 57,000.
The Eurochart’s highest new entry, at No. 5, is “Nolwenn Ohwo!” (Mercury) by Nolwenn Leroy. A graduate of France’s “Star Academy 2” in 2003, she debuts at No. 1 there with the single, which comes from her second album “Histoires Naturelles.”