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Singles fare well against albums on combined charts

It's a case of contrasting fortunes for the singles and albums markets this week, with album sales sliding 8% to 2,253,429 while singles enjoy a 9% boost to 908,915, writes Alan Jones.

 

Physical singles improved by 7% to 380,258, while downloads - boosted by the new Musicnet (HMV and Virgin) services - climbed by 10% to 528,659.

Overall singles sales were at their highest level for 14 weeks but sales at the bottom end of the chart were more solid than they have been for significantly longer, with the number 75 single - Black Velvet's Once In A While - being the first single in the chart's anchor position to secure a sale of more than 1,000 for 123 weeks. It sold 1,034 copies, including just 18 downloads, to become the highest selling number 75 single since DJ Sammy's Boys Of Summer sold 1,066 copies in the week-ending 3 May 2003. Meanwhile, Funeral For A Friend's Monsters slides 36-76, falling short of the Top 75 despite sales of 1,017 which would have earned it 42nd place in January.

Meanwhile, at the sharp end of the chart, there are three new entries to the Top 10 , including a new number one for the fourth week in a row, namely Don't Cha, the debut single by Las Vegas burlesque troupe, The Pussycat Dolls who become the first all-American all-female group to top the chart since Destiny's Child did so with Survivor in 2001.

After climbing as high as number 44 on import, Don't Cha was officially released last Monday (5th), and rockets to number one, with nearly four times as many sales as Gorillaz' Dare, which slips 1-2 in its wake. Don't Cha sold 85,021 copies last week - the highest sale for a number one since Crazy Frog's second week tally of 120,246 14 weeks ago - while Dare falls 15.45 week-on-week to 22,556. Don't Cha wasn't able to find its way past Mariah Carey's We Belong Together in America, where it peaked at number two, but has recorded physical sales of 239,623 and 402,070 downloads there since its release 20 weeks ago.

Don't Cha is the first single on the A&M label to reach number one since Black Eyed Peas' Where Is The Love exactly two years ago. The label, once a proud independent but now an imprint of Universal, has been in the UK for 38 years, and had its first number one via The Police's Message In A Bottle 26 years ago next week

Doctor Pressure is the SIXTH single from Mylo's debut album Destroy Rock & Roll, and the first to reach the Top 10, debuting this week at number three on sales of 19,881. Mixing elements of Miami Sound Machine's Dr. Beat with previous Mylo hit Doctor Pressure, it's one of three bonus cuts on a new version of the album which is released today (12th). Previous singles Muscle Cars, Valley Of The Dolls, Drop The Pressure, Destroy Rock & Roll and In These Arms have followed an upward trajectory, peaking at 112, 92, 19, 15 and 13, respectively.

Registering back-to-back top five hits for the first time in their career, Coldplay follow number two hit Speed Of Sound with Fix You, which debuts this week at number four. Speed Of Sound sold 36,456 copies to earn its high-flying debut, while Fix You sold 18,919 copies last week. Fix You's main job, however, is to divert attention to Coldplay's X&Y album, and in that it has succeeded admirably - the album is number four again this week, and sold more than 40,000 copies (41,800) for the 14th week in a row .

Beyond the Top 10, there are also Top 40 debuts for Goldie Lookin' Chain's Your Missus Is A Nutter, Faithless' Insomnia 2005, Arcade Fire's Rebellion (Lies), Supafly Vs. Fishbowl's Let's Get Down, Foo Fighters' DOA and Gangsters & Thugs by The Transplants.

First single Best Of You got Foo Fighters' latest album In Your Honour off to a cracking start, debuting at number four with 23,857 sales. Despite its title, DOA hasn't quite flatlined but settles for a less lofty perch, debuting at number 25, with a distinctly more modest sale of 4,348 . Foo Fighters' 16th Top 40 hit, it helps In Your Honour to bounce 21-19 on its 13th week in the Top 30. The album sold a further 12,734 copies last week, to take its cume to 408,315.

Number 27 in 1995, number three in 1996, number 91 in 1997, Insomnia is Faithless' best-loved track, and to promote their double platinum 'best of' set Forever Faithless, which includes the original version of the song, a new mix - dubbed Insomnia 2005 - debuts at number 17 this week on sales of 6,840. As it does so, Forever Faithless dips out of the Top 10 for the first time, after a 16 week residency. The album has sold 667,954 copies to date, making it the year's eighth biggest seller.

Excluding new releases, the best performer on the album chart was Antony & The Johnsons' I Am A Bird Now, which flew from number 135 to a number 16 perch on the chart, after increasing its sales by 867.6% week-on-week, from 1,624 to 15,718.

The surprise winner of the Nationwide Mercury Music Prize last Tuesday (6th), the album was released in February, and sold just 236 copies on its first week in the shops, though critical acclaim for the group helped raise its profile even before its Mercury Music Prize nomination, and it reached its previous highest chart position - number 87 - 16 weeks ago. Its cumulative sales are now 57,264.

The win also provided a boost for the Antony & The Johnsons single Hope There's Someone, which re-enters the Top 200 at number 48, 16 weeks after debuting and peaking at number 44. Its sales last week of 2,118 beat the 1,856 it sold on its first week, but physical copies of the single are now extremely scarce, with just 14 CDs and 18 12" singles being retailed last week, compared to 2,086 downloads.

Last year's Mercury Music Prize winner - Franz Ferdinand's self-titled debut album - jumped 15-10 after winning the competition, with sales climbing 44.1% week-on-week - though its lesser gain is partly explained by the fact it was already a major success with sales of nearly 500,000 before taking the prize.

In a quiet week for new entries, only veteran sixty-somethings the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan managed to register Top 40 debuts.

Looking to register their 11th number one album, and extend their span of chart-toppers to more than 40 years, the Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang held a small but significant lead over James Blunt's Back To Bedlam on the midweek sales flashes but Blunt eventually prevailed, with his album winning the race for chart honors by a mere 11 sales. The Stones' album sold 43,466 copies, and Back To Bedlam 43,477. The Stones actually sold 825 copies more in Great Britain but Blunt trounce them 1,381 sales to 545 in Northern Ireland.

No Direction Home - The Bootleg Series Vol. 7 is the title of the 'new' Bob Dylan album, which ties in with Martin Scorcese's documentary of the same name. Debuting at number 21 on sales of 11,859. it's a double disc set, featuring 26 previously unreleased recordings, from the late fifties thru' the mid-sixties. It is Dylan's 47th Top 75 album, and the highest charting of the 'bootleg' series, from which it is actually the fifth release, as Volumes 1-3 were bundled together in 1991, and provided the series' previous highest chart placing, at number 32.

Finally, kudos to two developing artists who both reach new album chart peaks this week - Jack Johnson and KT Tunstall.

Good People, the first single from Johnson's In Between Dreams, peaked at number 50 and follow-up Breakdown debuts this week at number 74 with just 1,046 sales. But the former professional surfer needn't go searching for his surfboard yet - his singles attract lots of airplay, and generate excellent album sales. In Between Dreams reached number 31 on the airplay chart, and Breakdown rockets 80-38 this week, helping Johnson's album to make its Top 10 debut. Jumping 18-10, it sold 18,801 copies last week, to bring its cume to 226,658 in 28 weeks.

meanwhile, it's another excellent week for KT Tunstall, whose third and highest charting single Suddenly I See holds at number 12 with sales of 9,149, while her debut album Eye To The Telescope reaches a new peak, climbing 7-5. The album, which debuted at number 128 last December, sold 33,652 copies last week, to lift its cume to 410,206. Suddenly I See climbs 6-3 on the airplay chart, equalling the peak of last single The Other Side Of The World ; first single Black Horse & The Cherry Tree reached number seven.

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