The only album in the Top 20 to increase sales week-on-week, it is the first album to spend 50 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 in the 21st century. The album, which debuted at number one last January has spent the following number of weeks in each position: 1 - 19 wks, 2 - 15 wks, 3- 3 wks, 4 - 3 wks, 5- 1 wk, 6 - 4 wks, 7 - 1 wks, 8 - 2 wks, 9 - 2 wks. The last artist album to send longer at number one was Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water, which amassed 33 weeks at the summit in 1970/71. While 21 holds the record, Lady GaGa's debut album The Fame has the second longest run of consecutive weeks in the Top 50 since 2000, racking up 41 in a row. The Fame jointly holds the record for most cumulative weeks in the Top 10 in the 21st century (72) with Amy Winehouse's Back To Black (all editions) in a category dominated by female solo artists. Dido's No Angel is third (56 weeks), followed by 21 (50), Adele's debut album 19 (44) and Duffy's Rockferry (42).
21 is in its fourth spell at number one - but it has had an even more remarkable career in America, where it has spent only one week out of the top five (compared to nine in the UK), while assembling sales of 5,823,628 copies in 46 weeks, having been released there later than here. The album bounces 2-1 this week on sales of 144,185, racking up its 14th week at number one in total, while reaching the summit on a record nine different occasions.
Back in Blighty, Adele's debut album 19 is also a beneficiary of The Albert Hall effect, rebounding 40-18 (11,461 sales) to achieve its highest chart placing for 10 weeks. With the DVD/CD set Live At The Royal Albert Hall containing substantially more material than the BBC show, it is also resurgent, jumping 179-120 on the overall video chart (and 5-3 on the music video chart), with sales of 4,711 raising its six week total to 140,453.
21's return to the summit ends Ed Sheeran's second tenure at the top with +, which slips back to third (24,916 sales) in a top five made up entirely on former number ones - Bruno Mars' Doo-Wops & Hooligans celebrates a whole year in the top 15 with its second straight week at number two (30,227 sales); Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto drifts 3-4 (22,686 sales); and Amy Winehouse's Lioness: Hidden Treasures holds at number five (21,839 sales).
Multiple repeats of A Night With Beyonce on ITV2, rapid airplay growth for Love On Top (19-9-5) and explosive club growth for next single End Of Time (debuts at number 25 Upfront, number 17 Commercial Pop and number 11 Urban) all help to trigger further recovery for new mum Beyonce's 4 album, which has climbed 31-26-12-6 in the last three weeks to end a 20 week absence from the Top 10. The album sold 20,254 copies last week, raising its 28 week career tally to 471,421. Despite its rapid airplay advance, Love On Top has been somewhat becalmed in the past few weeks. moving 28-22-23-23-22-20. It sold 15,660 copies last week, raising its total sales to 120,648, and improving 17-16 in Beyonce's personal sales chart, which continues to be led by If I Were A Boy (683,083 sales).
With TV appearances on Top Of The Pops and Jools Holland's Annual Hootenanny plus multiple screenings of the full 4 minute advert for Kate Moss' Rimmel lipstick range which uses their song If You Wanna, with Moss posing as the band's guitarist, The Vaccines' debut album What Do You Expect From The Vaccines has jumped 104-33-16 in the last fortnight. Also helped by the fact it is available physically for under £5, and on download for £3.95 on iTunes and £3 at Amazon, the album achieves its highest position this week since it debuted at number four last March. Sales of 12,933 raise its career tally to 226,558.
Radio and TV exposure of current single Stuck also precipitate a big rebound for Dutch jazz singer Caro Emerald's Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor, which leaps 69-25 (7,406 sales).
Quietly doing the business, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds rallies 18-15 on its 12th straight week in the Top 20. The album sold 13,255 copies last week to push its cumulative tally past the half a million mark. With 505,675 copies sold to date, the album - Noel Gallagher's first solo set - has sold three times as many copies as Different Gear, Still Speeding, the first album by his brother Liam and the rest of his former Oasis bandmates. Different Gear...spent only three weeks in the Top 20, and has sold just 166,609 copies in 45 weeks.
Two weeks ago, Michael Buble's Christmas was number one - now it's not even in the Top 75. Its seasonal sell-by date clearly exceeded, the album slumped 1-15 last week, and now dives to number 94. The question is not so much why it fell so far but why 2,578 people chose to buy it last week, saving it from an even bigger decline. Perhaps surprisingly, it is not the hastiest retreat from the chart this century - that distinction belongs to The Sound Of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits, which was number 10 in week 43 of 2009 but not in the Top 200 the following week. It wasn't due to a sudden slump in the popularity of Cheryl Cole and her cohorts however - the album's price was temporarily reduced to budget status, thus disqualifying it until a higher price point was restored, and it re-entered the chart at number 40 six weeks later.
Overall album sales - at 1,971,060 - are down 27.92% week-on-week and are 15.68% below same week 2011 sales of 2,337, 706.