Westlife is back in familiar territory at No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart. The group’s cover of Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl,” released for the Comic Relief charity, went straight to No. 1 this week, selling 292,000 copies and ending Shaggy’s one-week run at the top with “It Wasn’t Me” (MCA). The Irish pop quintet’s string of seven-straight chart-toppers ended last December.
Also debuting prominently on the new chart was Gorillaz, a “cartoon” band conceived by Blur’s Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, the creator of “Tank Girl.” In the best tradition of 1960s chart-toppers the Archies, the group consists of imaginary members Murdoc, 2D, Noodles, and Russel, drawn in Japanese comic-book style.
The group’s Parlophone single “Clint Eastwood,” on which Albarn appears, opened at No. 4, with the album “Gorillaz” due to follow in the U.K. on March 26. Ex-Talking Heads member Tina Frantz and Buena Vista Social Club veteran Ibrahim Ferrer also guest on the set.
The U.K. album chart, on which Dido secured a sixth week at No. 1 with “No Angel” (Cheeky/Arista), saw another remarkable surge for Eva Cassidy’s posthumous collection “Songbird,” which, after racing 18-3 two weeks ago, rebounded 10-2 on the new chart.
Eric Clapton’s “Reptile” (Reprise) was the highest new entry at No. 7. It was also an excellent week for soul survivor Lionel Richie, who not only scored a No. 29 entry with his latest Universal-Island single “Tender Heart,” but saw his album “Renaissance” soar 74-15.
Dido also retained the leadership on Music & Media’s European Top 100 Albums chart, with “No Angel” surpassing European sales of 1.5 million copies last week, according to Arista. Swedish pop quartet A*Teens had the top debut with “Teen Spirit” (Stockholm/Universal) at No. 13, while Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” (LaFace/Arista) spent a third week atop the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles tally, after passing the 1 million European sales barrier.