Leona Lewis maintained her stronghold on the U.K. sales charts yesterday (Dec. 2) as her Syco Music/Sony BMG album “Spirit” started a third week at No. 1 and “Bleeding Love” strode into a sixth week atop the singles survey.
Simon Cowell’s Syco Music achieved a notable double at the top of the album chart, where Lewis’ predecessor as a winner on “The X-Factor,” 2005 champion Shayne Ward, debuted at No. 2 with his sophomore album “Breathless.” Its current title track single fell 6-8.
Cowell’s personal stranglehold on the current top three of the album list was completed by Westlife, on his other imprint, S, who slipped 2-3 with “Back Home,” as the single “Home” moved back up 12-10.
Kylie Minogue’s comeback album, “X” (Parlophone), opened on the new chart at No. 4 while popular English tenor Russell Watson, who like Minogue has overcome serious personal illness (in his case a brain tumor), saw his Decca album “Outside In” debut at No. 14.
The current “lineup” of a chart-topping British recording act of the early 1970s returned to the album chart at No. 17. The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, a military band, reappeared with “Spirit of the Glen” (UCJ), 35 years after they topped the U.K. singles chart with an instrumental version, on the traditional Scottish instrument the bagpipes, of “Amazing Grace.”
Lewis, who is the first-ever British female artist to simultaneously top the U.K. singles and album charts, got a sixth week at No. 1 with “Bleeding Love” as last week’s big 14-2 climber, T2 & Jodie’s “Heartbroken” (2NV/All Around the World), held in the runner-up spot. The new challenger for her crown was Girls Aloud’s “Call the Shots” (Fascination/Polydor), up 9-3. It’s their 16th consecutive top 10 hit, a total achieved in just under five years.
Elvis Presley’s “An American Trilogy,” the penultimate single in RCA’s current reissue campaign, charted at No. 12. The sequence ends today (Dec. 3) with the re-release of “Burning Love.” Soulja Boy’s former Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” (Interscope), climbed 24-14 yesterday and Nickelback’s “Rockstar” (Roadrunner) rose 21-19.
The first singles chart of December also had something of a festive flavor, aided by the fact that this will be the first Christmas in which download-only sales are allowed on the singles countdown. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (Columbia), which reached No. 2 in the U.K. at Christmas 1994, climbed 46-23. The track would have been a hit again last year if download-only sales had been allowed, but was selling just before the new rule came into place in January.
“Fairytale of New York” (Warner Bros.) by the Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl, which has become a true Christmas perennial, became a top 40 hit for the fifth time. After reaching No. 2 first time around in 1987, it hit No. 31 in 1991 and has been a top 10 hit for the last two Yuletides, at No. 3 in 2005 and No. 6 last year.
Below the top 40 there was more evidence of festive downloading, as Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (Sony BMG), currently being used in a TV commercial campaign by U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer, appeared at No. 43. The timing is appropriate, as today is the veteran entertainer’s 80th birthday. Two more seasonal recurrents, Wham!’s “Last Christmas” (Epic) and Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” (EMI), re-charted at No. 50 and No. 65 respectively.
There was also an improbable chart comeback on the low rungs of the top 75, as the late New Orleans singer Ernie K-Doe debuted at No. 71 with “Here Come the Girls” (Soul Jazz), a 1970 track now being featured by another retail giant, Boots, in their Christmas TV campaign. K-Doe’s only other British chart appearance came 46 years ago, when “Mother-In-Law” reached No. 29 in 1961.
On Billboard’s pan-European sales charts, Celine Dion’s “Taking Chances” (Columbia) is in a second week at No. 1 on European Top 100 Albums chart, as is “Apologize” (Mosley/Blackground/Interscope) by Timbaland presents OneRepublic on Eurochart Top 100 Singles.