The anticipated positive effect of Live 8 on the album market evaporated in the wake of the terrorist bombs in London, which resulted in subdued trading for the rest of the week, writes Alan Jones.
Consequently, the album market dipped by 1.9% week-on-week to 2,868,121, while the singles market's previously substantial gains were capped at 3%, with sales in the week of 847,288. Physical singles sales were off 6.8% at 374,547 but downloads prospered by 12.3% to 471,601 - their highest level since OCC started logging them 13 weeks ago.
Album sales for Sunday to Wednesday were running 7.8% ahead of the previous week but following Thursday's events, trade fell by 25% on the previous Thursday. Friday and Saturday were a little better, with sales off 6.4% on Friday and 3% on Saturday.
Of the artists on the Live 8 bill, the show-stealing Pink Floyd saw their albums make most impact, with their 2001 compilation Echoes selling 17,710 copies (a 1769% increase week-on-week), Dark Side Of The Moon selling 9,898 (693%), Wish You Were Here selling 3,933 (773%) and The Wall selling 3,343 (184%) to re-enter the Top 75 at 19, 41, 65 and 74 respectively.
Also making impressive gains in the Top 40 in the wake of Live 8: Keane's Hopes & Fears (11-5 on a 45% increase), Razorlight's Up All Night (28-9, 154%), Killers' Hot Fuss (22-11, 52%), REM's In Time (33-18, 115%), Scissor Sisters (45-25, 127%) and Snow Patrol's Final Straw (30-27, 49%).
Coldplay's appearance couldn't prevent X&Y suffering an 18.2% fall to 84,715 sales, allowing James Blunt to take over at the top of the chart with his Back To Bedlam album. Blunt wasn't on the Live 8 bill, but his album suffered a minor 3.2% erosion in sales last week to 97,694 while claiming pole position for the first time. The album had increased its sales for 11 weeks in a row, prior to last week.
The second new UK artist to have a number one album this year, Blunt's trip to the top was considerably lengthier than Steve Brookstein, who debuted in pole position in May. Blunt's album was released exactly nine months before reaching pole position, and has moved 138-56-81-73-79-88-71-53-34-16-11-4-5-43-2-2-1 since first breaching the Top 200 in March. But Blunt's tortoise is a much hardier creature than Brookstein's hare, and has sales to date of 543,875, while Brookstein's album Heart & Soul set has stumbled to sales of 98,727 in nine weeks of continuous decline, with sales of 50,989 in its first week, and only 599 last week.
Despite being dethroned, X&Y is still performing very impressively, with a 34 day sales tally just short of a million, at 991,954. At the same stage, Coldplay's 2000 debut album Parachutes had sold 217,826 copies, while 2002's A Rush Of Blood To The Head had logged 532,863 sales.
Hard-Fi are drawing comparisons with a diverse selection of acts including The Clash, The Streets, The Specials and even Massive Attack, and are hard to pigeonhole but easy to like. After reaching number 15 with debut single Tied Up Too Tight and number nine with follow-up Hard To Beat, the Staines massive make their album chart debut this week with Stars Of CCTV, which outperforms proven hitmakers like R. Kelly, Royksopp and Offspring to become the only Top 10 debutant this week, entering the chart at number six on sales of 29,874.
Anthologising all but two - why? - of their 13 hit singles to date, Greatest Hits makes a fair job of summarising pop/punk band Offspring's first 20 years, and debuts at number 14 on sales of 22,125. The band's highest charting and biggest-selling album to date was 1998's Americana - home to the band's surprise number one single Pretty Fly For A White Guy - which has so far sold 423,709 copies. In addition to the hits, the new album includes new song Can't Repeat, and the Wise Guys remix of The Kids Aren't Alright.
Considering introductory single Only This Moment struggled to a number 33 peak last week, Norwegian duo Royksopp have done pretty well to debut at number 13 with their second album, The Understanding, which sold 22,466 copies last week - more than 10 times the 2,155 copies Royksopp's debut album Melody AM, sold the week it was released in 2001, to debut at number 101. That album - home to hits including Eple and Poor Leno - has sold 454,271 copies, and peaked at number nine some 45 weeks after its release.
Even as he captured the coveted number one album slot, James Blunt's current single You're Beautiful increased its sales for the fifth week in a row. Remaining at number three, it sold 33,706 copies last week, a 3.3% increase, and lifted its cume to 130,994.
Ahead of Blunt, there was a tight battle for singles chart honours, with Ghetto Gospel by 2 Pac featuring Elton John eventually emerging triumphant, with sales of 39,627 - the lowest for a number one for 21 weeks - winning it a very slender 0.9991% margin over Mariah Carey's We Belong Together.
Sales of Ghetto Gospel were down 27.7% week-on-week but, after 20 days on release, it's already one of the year's biggest hits, with sales of 150,476. The first number one by an Anglo-American duo since Melanie B and Missy Elliott topped with I Want You Back in 1998, Ghetto Gospel and stretches to 23 weeks Elton John's tenure at number one, achieved by a combination of seven singles.
After looking likely to provide Mariah Carey with her third UK number one, We Belong Together finally fell 392 sales short of Ghetto Gospel, and has to settle for a number two debut on sales of 39,235. Carey's 32nd hit continues to help her Emancipation Of Mimi album, which increased sales by 7.8% last week to 26,763 - its highest weekly sale to date - while boosting its overall sales to 186,312. In America, where We Belong Together is Carey's 16th number one(!), the album has sold 2,298,317 copies.
Aside from Carey, there are also Top 20 debuts for new singles from Kelly Clarkson, KanYe West, Rachel Stevens and Joss Stone.
The winner of the first series of American Idol in 2003, Kelly Clarkson registers her third and biggest UK hit with Since U Been Gone. The introductory single from her Breakaway album debuts at number five with sales of 19,307. Clarkson's first single Miss Independent reached number six nearly two years ago, after registering first week sales of 20,778 while follow-up Low/The Trouble With Love Is underperformed, peaking at number 35 with first week sales of just 3,502. In America, Since U Been Gone reached number two, and, although not the subject of a physical release, has attracted 673,145 legal downloads, one of the highest tallies yet recorded. The Breakaway album has sold 2,550,016 copies there, and is released here next Monday (18th).
KanYe West chalked up four Top 20 hits within six months of his April 2004 debut with Through The Wire but returns for the first time in 10 months with Diamonds From Sierra Leone, the first single from his upcoming Late Registration album. Sampling Shirley Bassey's Diamonds Are Forever - which, surprisingly, peaked at a lowly number 38 in 1972 - it debuts at number eight with sales of 13,608. West's only album hitherto, The College Dropout, was a major success here, selling 490,108 copies to date, despite peaking at number 12.
The second single from Rachel Stevens' yet to be named second solo album, So Good exactly emulates the first, debuting at number 10. Introductory single Negotiate With Love charted at number 10 in April, with first week sales of 12,465; So Good makes the same position with sales 5.5% lower at 11,775.
Sampling Soulful Strut - a number three US hit for Young Holt Unlimited in 1969 - Don't Cha Wanna Ride is the fourth hit from Joss Stone's second album, Mind, Body & Soul. Don't Cha Wanna Ride debuts at number 20 with first week sales of 5,292. Previous singles You Had Me, Right To Be Wrong, and Spoiled peaked at nine, 29 and 32, respectively. They've helped the album - which has dashed 87-39-16 in the last fortnight - to sell an impressive 770,862 copies, including 18,819 last week.
Finally...the Spice Girls. After a disastrous first week, which saw it sell 670 copies, making it the 453rd best-selling artist album, Melanie Brown's LA State Of Mind suffered a further massive 77.3% decline last week. Dipping to 1,581st place (!!) on the artist album chart, it sold 152 copies last week. Brown - the former Mel B - is the third former Spice Girl to release an album this year. The others didn't exactly distinguish themselves but they did at least make the Top 75. Melanie C's Beautiful Intentions reached number 24 and has sold 19,957 copies in 13 weeks. Geri Halliwell's Passion clearly wasn't many other people's and, after debuting at number 41, it has slipped well out of the chart with five week sales of 8,749.