Although the EMI group has frequently registered back-to-back number ones in the 50-year history of the album chart - most recently in February of 2005, when Parlophone act Athlete's Tourist dethroned Virgin's The Chemical Brothers' Push The Button - the EMI label has never had back-to-back number ones until this week, writes Alan Jones
It achieves this historic first thanks to David Gilmour's third solo album On An Island replacing rising new star Corinne Bailey Rae's self-titled debut at the summit.
Gilmour turned 60 last Monday (6th), the same day he released his third solo album, On An Island. It earned him a belated birthday present on Sunday, when it debuted at number one with first week sales of 83,060. Gilmour's first, self-titled solo album peaked at number 17 in 1979, and his only subsequent solo effort, About Face, reached number 21 in 1984.
Gilmour's album was helped to its lofty perch by a blitz of media coverage, including a unique Gilmour BBC Radio 2 concert being added to BBC TV's interactive service (with pictures) for a week. As neither of his previous solo albums reached the Top 10, it's a major triumph for Gilmour, which undoubtedly owes something to Pink Floyd's much trumpeted reunion at last year's Live8 concert, which improved his profile considerably. For Gilmour, it's his first number one since Floyd's The Division Bell debuted at the summit in 1994.
Meanwhile, although she was dethroned by her labelmate, Corinne Bailey Rae's album continues to sell at a fair clip. It shifted a further 67,122 copies last week - 38% down on its debut week - to take second place in the chart. Bailey Rae's second single Put Your Records On dips 3-5 on its third week on the singles chart, attracting a further 16,147 buyers to lift its 20 day cume to 67,123 sales. It also takes over at the top of the airplay chart, and is being given enormous support by the BBC's two behemoths Radio One, where it was aired 26 times last week and was third most-played, and Radio Two, where its tally of 23 plays outshone all other singles.
Gilmour and Bailey Rae's albums helped artist album sales to remain above the two million mark for the second week in a row, down 0.5% week-on-week at 2,015,232. There are also Top 10 debuts for new albums from Andrea Bocelli and Van Morrison.
Bocelli has already had four Top 10 albums and Amore is another Top Tenner for the top tenor, debuting this week at number four on sales of 32,124. Given a boost by Bocelli's appearance on the first in a new series of Parkinson on ITV1, where he sang Somos Novis (It's Impossible) with Christina Aguilera, it achieves the third best first week of 11 charted Bocelli albums since his 1997 debut, being bettered only by 200 1's Ciel Di Toscana and the following year's Sentimento, which opened with sales of 46,334 and 36,077 respectively.
Esteemed veteran Van Morrison, now 61, registers the 32nd chart album of his career with Pay The Devil, which debuts at number eight on sales of 20,844. The follow-up to last May's Magic Time - which was his highest charting album ever, reaching number three - Pay The Devil comprises primarily of covers of songs made famous by the likes of Hank Williams, Emmylou Harris and Conway Twitty, and is Morrison's first country album. It debuts at number one on the country chart, replacing 60 year old Dolly Parton's Those Were The Days.
Becoming the 101st album to top the 1m sales mark in the 21st century, Madonna's Confessions On A Dancefloor sold 18,032 copies last week as it drifted 12-13, taking its 17 week cume to 1,014,440. It's Madonna's second album on the list, trailing 2000's Music, which has so far sold 1, 594,045 copies. 2001's hits set GHV2 will get there one day, and has so far sold 804,076 but don't hold your breath for Madonna's last studio album before Confessions - American Life has sold just 328,629 copies, including only 42 last week.
Singles sales eased a little last week, falling just 3% to 1,121,137.
The shortfall over the previous week was largely down to a big fall in sales of the number one.
It's still Chico time, as the Welsh-born Moroccan, who finished fifth in the latest season of X-Factor, continues atop the singles chart with his debut single, albeit with sales tumbling by 43% to 29,258.
Chico's biggest challenge came not from a new release but from Calfornian band Orson's debut single No Tomorrow, which takes advantage of a weak market to jump 5-2 , despite the fact its sales are off 5.9% to 21,030.. The first single from upcoming album Brig ht Idea, due for release in May, No Tomorrow is getting rapidly increasing support from broadcasters, and jumps 11-8 on the radio airplay chart, and 29-20 on the TV airplay chart.
The Sugababes survive their change in personnel - the departure of founder member Mutya and the arrival of Amelie - to register their 15th hit single, Red Dress, which debuts at number four on sales of 18,210.,
The highest of only two new entries to the Top 10 , it's the third straight top five hit from the Sugababes' current album Taller In More Ways, following the chart topping Push The Button, and Ugly, which peaked at number three. Taller In More Ways thus becomes the first of Sugababes' four albums to spawn three top five hits. Its sales to date are 736,687, and it's on target to beat their previous best seller, Angels With Dirty Faces (863,321 sales)
It's less than two years since KanYe West made the jump from producer to artist, and he has already had nine hits in the latter role, including Touch The Sky, which debuts this week at number six on sales of 14,420. Based around a sample from Curtis Mayfield's classic Move On Up, it is the fourth hit from West's Late Registration album, which has sold 548,044 copies to date, and will pass the 554,482 sales of his debut The College Dropout to become his biggest seller this week.
Just outside the Top 10, there are new entries at 11 and 12, from Michael Jackson and Shapeshifters.
After a poor start, the Michael Jackson dualdisc releases continue to pick up steam. First chart eligible single Don't Stop Till You Get Enough reached number 17 a fortnight ago, while Rock With You debuted at number 15 last week. Now, Billie Jean debuts at number 11, with first week sales of 7,856 - 8.4% more than the 7,244 start of Rock With You and 20.7% ahead of Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough's 6,509 opening. Next up , Beat It is out today (13th), followed by Bad next Monday (20th).
The Shapeshifters sold 6,973 copies of Incredible, their third hit, to debut at number 12. Shapeshifters topped the chart in 2004 with Lola's Theme, and reached number 10 last year with Back To Basics. Incredible is on their new album Sound Advice, which is released a week on Monday.
Finally, it's no secret and no surprise that airplay fuels sales. It's working for Orson, whose No Tomorrow shares most-played honours on Radio One, with 28 spins last week but appears not to be working for the other record with 28 plays, Joey Negro's Make A Move On Me, which debuts on the sales chart this week at number 47. But appearances, in this case, are deceptive. Although 8 12-inch copies of Negro's single escaped last week, the 12-inch and a CD single of Make A Move On Me aren't scheduled to hit retail until today (13th), and the rest the former number one club play h it's 1,913 sales last week were digital downloads which are now allowed to count towards the chart a week prior to physical formats being issued. Expect Negro's single to take a massive leap upwards a week hence.