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Pussycats continue to lead on singles chart

Pussycat Dolls easily retain their singles chart title with Don't Cha, which experiences a 23.4% downturn in sales week-on-week to 65,122 but still outsells all other singles by a margin of greater than two to one, writes Alan Jones.

It remains strong despite the release of the first Pussycat Dolls album PCD, which registers the second highest new entry on the album chart this week, debuting at number eight with sales of exactly 23,900.

Although Don't Cha's sales dipped nearly 20,000 week-on-week, the overall singles market last week was almost identical to the week before, with sales off only marginally from 908,915 to 908,441, as new singles from Sean Paul, Bon Jovi, 50 Cent and H.I.M. debuted in the Top 10.

Sean Paul's first single in nearly two years continues his impressive run of form, becoming his seventh straight Top 10 hit. Paul's previous singles all peaked in different positions - one, two, three, four, five and six. We Be Burnin' - the first single from new album The Trinity - becomes his second number two, earning the position with first week sales of 28,367. Baby Boy, Paul's collaboration with Beyonce, was number two in 2003 with first week sales of 24,031 behind Black Eyed Peas' Where Is The Love. Paul's number one, Breathe,, a duet with Blu Cantrell, opened its account with sales of 47,312 in 2003.

Hitmakers since 1986, Bon Jovi return to the chart this week with Have A Nice Day - no relation to Stereophonics' chart-topper of the same name, or, indeed, Daniel Powter's Bad Day, which is immediately above it in the chart. Debuting at number six with first week sales of 16,709, Have A Nice Day is Bon Jovi's 32nd Top 40 entry, and the title track of their new album.

The band's last single, All About Lovin' You, reached number nine in May 2003, and Have A Nice Day's high debut means they have back-to-back Top 10 hits for the first time since a string of eight straight Top 10 hits came to an end after March 1996's These Days.

He only made his singles chart debut in March 2003 but 50 Cent registers his ninth straight Top 10 hit this week with Outta Control, which debuts at number seven on sales of 14,545. Fiddy also registers his 10th hit this week - and breaks his string of Top 10 hits - as he helps out G-Unit colleague Tony Yayo on So Seductive, which debuts at number 28 with 4,080 sales. Meanwhile, 50 Cent's latest album, The Massacre, continues to improve. Repackaged a fortnight ago with a bonus DVD, it has since moved 76-33-30, achieving its highest chart placing for three months.

Finnish rockers H.I.M. (His Infernal Majesty) register their second straight Top 10 single, debuting at number 10 with Wings Of A Butterfly, on sales of 10,911. The group's last single - a cover of Neil Diamond's Solitary Man - made number nine in May 2004, on sales of 12,470. Wings Of A Butterfly is the introductory single from the band's upcoming album Dark Light, which is released next Monday (26th). The band was previously signed to RCA but its new single marks its arrival at Warner Music.

Celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band, Status Quo register their highest charting single in more than 15 years with the title track of their new album, The Party Ain't Over Yet. The single sold 10,755 copies last week - just 156 fewer than H.I.M's single - and earns a number 11 debut, to become Quo's biggest hit since Anniversary Waltz - Part 1 reached number two in September 1990. The Party Ain't Over is Quo's 61st Top 75 hit, their 39th Top 20 entry and their first single for Sanctuary Records. The album is out today (19th).

Meanwhile, Daniel Powter's Bad Day remains at number five extending its stay in the top five to eight weeks. Its sales dipped by just 2.9% in the week to 17,257. Mylo's Doctor Pressure, which slips 3-4, also sold 17,257 copies.

It's very rare for two singles ranked so high in the chart to have identical sales. The tie-breaker used to be that the record making the biggest gain (or smallest fall) in sales week-on-week would be ranked higher, which, were it still in operation, would actually mean Powter being number four instead of Mylo. I have to admit I'm not sure what determines the ranking these days - probably fractional sales, which I'll explain next week if necessary - but it certainly worked against Powter.

The singles dead heat comes a week after the Rolling Stones and James Blunt almost tied at the top of the album chart, with Blunt's Back To Bedlam album selling a mere 11 copies more than the Stones' A Bigger Bang. Further investigation reveals that was the tightest margin at the top of the album chart since 18 April 1998, when Robbie Williams' Life Thru A Lens beat Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love album to pole position by 42,995 sales to 42,991.

Bizarrely, there's also a sales tie at the very top of the compilations chart this week. After seven weeks at number one, Now! 61 dips to number three on the chart, being overtaken by Dance Party and Massive R&B Volume 2 - two Sony/BMG/UMTV collaborations which, both turn in sales tallies of 20,249, with Dance Party getting the nod as number one.

Album sales were little changed, last week with artist albums enjoying 6.2% growth and compilations contracting 0.3% for a combined tally of 2,372,369 - a 4.9% increase week-on-week.

The major contribution to the increased albums market came from David Gray, who becomes the 10th artist to register three number one albums in the 21st century, claiming pole position with Life In Slow Motion on sales of 114,258. That's almost three times as many copies as the 40,322 copies the number two album - James Blunt's Back To Bedlam - sold in the week. Gray's tally is also the highest for a number one album for seven weeks, and the fifth highest for a number one album thus far in 2005.

Life In Slow Motion's first week sales were just 3% lower than the 117,692 opening frame of Gray's last album and second number one A New Day At Midnight, which topped the chart in 2002. Gray's 2000 breakthrough album White Ladder reached number one on its 66th week in the chart, two years and five months after its release, having debuted at number 69 on first week sales of 2,056.

Registering his 30th chart album outside the Beatles, 63 year old Paul McCartney returns to contention with Chaos And Creation In The Backyard. Comprising 13 new McCartney compositions, the album has enjoyed a favourable response from critics, and manages a creditable number 10 debut on sales of 22,732, easily beating McCartney's last studio collection Driving Rain, which turned in the one of the worst performances of his career, debuting and peaking at number 46 with first week sales of 10,755, which, even now, have increased to only 42,198.

Cult Icelandic art rockers Sigur Ros have garnered the best reviews of their career for their fourth album Takk, which provides them with their highest chart placing yet, debuting at number 16, with first week sales of 14,900. It leaves the number 49 debut and peak of their strangely-titled 2002 album - () - far behind. () sold 7,006 copies on its first week in the shops, and has since gone on to sell 52,954 copies. The band's biggest seller is 2000's Agaetis Byrjun, which reached number 52 but sold 56,394 copies.

Mylo's newly expanded Destroy Rock & Roll leaps a hundred places to a new chart peak at number 26, with sales up 534% to 9,898. The album was released in May 2004, and debuted at number 91 with sales of 2,291 . It reached its previous highest placing (number 31) in May, when In My Arms was a hit single. The album has a modest Top 75 career spanning just 13 weeks but has managed to spend 67 of its 69 week career in the Top 200, and has amassed sales to date of 173,395.

Finally, a major downturn in airplay for The Importance Of Being Idle, send Oasis' latest single plunging 1-11 on the radio airplay chart, allowing KT Tunstall to step up to the plate and collect her first number one with Suddenly I See.

Tunstall's third and biggest hit single dips 12-15 on the sales chart this week but its airplay success helps her debut album Eye To The Telescope to continue its impressive rise. The album jumps 5-3 this week on a 6.8% increase in sales, reaching a new peak some 40 weeks after it was released. The album has sold 446,136 copies to date, including 35,933 last week.

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