Chart regulars since 1999, Westlife have had five number one albums and 13 number one singles but never topped both charts simultaneously - until this week, writes Alan Jones.
They do so by dint of the fact that their 17th single, You Raise Me Up, sold a further 58,175 copies last week - a 40.2% dip week-on-week but far in excess of the 22,986 copies the number two single by Arctic Monkeys sold - even as their seventh album Face To Face raced to first week sales of 216,879, to wrest the album title from Robbie Williams. They're the first Irish act ever to hold both chart titles at the same time.
It's not the only notable feat achieved by Westlife last week - on the sixth anniversary of their album chart debut, their total album sales soared past the 7m mark on Wednesday (November 2), and their cumulative singles sales were on target to break the 5m barrier yesterday (November 6).
Face To Face's first week sales beat those of all but one of the Irish group's six previous albums - Coast To Coast, which opened in 2001 with sales of 234,767. Westlife's last album, Allow Us To Be Frank, debuted at number three last year with sales of 91,523 while chart-toppers Turnaround sold 154,169 in 2003, Unbreakable sold 187,940 in 2002 and World Of Our Own sold 178,106 in 2000. Westlife's 1999 self-titled debut opened at number two with 83,053 sales.
Westlife's emphatic return to the album chart summit ends Robbie Williams' reign with Intensive Care after just one week. Williams' album suffered a 66.9% dip in sales last week, but managed a still robust 123,658 sales to bring its 13 day total to 497,543, making it the year's 17th biggest selling artist album. Intensive Care achieved the second highest sale for a number two album thus far in 2005, trailing only the Foo Fighters' In Your Honour, which sold 159,179 copies when debuting at number two in June.
Sales of 47,949 earn a number three debut for Rod Stewart's new album Thanks For The Memory - The Great American Songbook Volume IV. That's considerably more (40.5%) than the 34,117 sales its predecessor Stardust - The Great American Songbook Volume III sold when it debuted at number three a year ago. Thanks For The Memory only just managed to take third place in a competitive top five, with Katherine Jenkins' Living A Dream and The Prodigy's Singles 1990-2005 almost matching it. Jenkins' album sold 47,493 copies, and The Prodigy's 46,400.
The three previous albums released by Rod Stewart in the Great American Songbook series were all substantial hits, with It Had To Be You (from 2002) selling 586,304 copies, ahead of As Time Goes By (2003, 564,465) and Stardust (2004, 479,057).
Both the Westlife and Rod Stewart albums include duets with the legendary Diana Ross.
The diva joins Westlife for a reprise of When You Tell Me That You Love Me, a number two hit for her 14 years ago, and croons I've Got A Crush On You with Rod Stewart.
With Westlife making less of an impact last week than Robbie Williams did the previous week, artist album sales slip by 0.3% to 2,345,544 but an 8.1% increase in compilation album sales to 519,073 ensured that overall album sales increased, albeit only by 1.1% to 2,864,618 - 0.71% below their level in the same week last year.
The last of four new entries to the Top 10 of the album chart comes from Blink 182.
Although only one of their six previous albums made the Top 10, Blink 182's Greatest Hits does so this week, debuting at number six with 38,805 sales. Their 2001 release Take Off Your Pants And Jacket reached number four and yielded the hit singles Rock Show and First Date. It went on to sell 353,078 copies - but it's not their biggest seller. Just shading is Blink 182's eponymous 2003 album, which climbed no higher than number 22, but generated four hit singles and sold 355,613 copies.
Compared to Blink 182's Greatest Hits, Hilary Duff's latest album, Most Wanted, makes a much more muted arrival.
Introductory single Wake Up Call reached number seven last week but Most Wanted struggles to a number 31 debut on sales of 10,661. To its credit, it's done better than its predecessor Metamorphosis, which reached only number 69 in 2003, even though it housed two Top 20 hits.
Duff's fellow Texan teen star Ashlee Simpson's new collection I Am Me was also out last week and sold only 1,392 copies to debut at number 160. Both Duff and Simpson's albums were number ones in America, where Duff's has sold 674,763 copies in 11 weeks, and Simpson's 293,816 in a fortnight.
Meanwhile, with an unchanged top two and just three debuts in the Top 10, singles sales dipped by 8.4% last week to 939,645. Physical sales bore the brunt of the decline, falling by 19.9% to 320,772, while downloads were off just 1.0% at 618,873.
Pharrell Williams' latest hit, Can I Have It Like That, which also features Gwen Stefani, is the top new entry, at number three, with sales of 18,535. It's Pharrell's 13th hit as an artist, encompassing his efforts as part of Neptunes, NERD and collaborations with other artists, and his highest charting to date.
It's also the highest charting of six singles Stefani has released solo and in collaborations outside of her group No Doubt, with whom she had a number one hit with Don't Speak in 1997, and number two with Hey Baby in 2002. Next month sees the release of Stefani's latest single, Luxurious, the fourth from her hugely successful debut solo album Love Angel Music Baby, which has sold 899,342 copies since its release 11 months ago and is certain to become a million seller.
Marking his return to the singles chart after an absence of more than two years with a number three chart slot with All The Way in August, Craig David follows-up by snaring the number four position with new single Don't Love You No More, which sold 15,855 copies last week and is his 12th Top 10 hit. Both tracks are from David's current album The Story Goes, which debuted at five, suffered six weeks of decline, and has since climbed four weeks in a row. Its progress to date: 5-12-20-35-53-64-73-57-48-35-34.
No song called Number One has ever reached number one, and Goldfrapp can't lay the bogey to rest, having to settle for a number nine debut for their Number One, which sold 8,939 copies last week. It's the second straight Top 10 single from the duo's Supernature album, following Ooh La La, which debuted at number four in August with first week sales of 14,745. Although its sales perked up 10.5% last week to 11,094, the album slips 28-30, ending a four-week climb, which has seen it rebounding from a low position of number 51. Supernature has sold 163,553 copies in 11 weeks, and debuted at number two.
Still hanging around just outside the Top 10 is Bob Sinclar's Love Generation.
Five years after introductory hit I Feel For You provided Sinclar with his one and only Top 10 hit, the French dance DJ and producer would have upped his tally to two had his current single Love Generation - featuring Gary Nesta Pine on vocals - not been issued in an ineligible format last month. It debuted at number 15 but would have been number seven if the offending format had counted. Despite this setback, the release of a replacement has helped Love Generation to remain in the vicinity of the Top 10 ever since its release, moving 15-14-12-12 thus far.
Reunited and extending their hitmaking career as Eurythmics to more than 24 years, Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox have had more hits (27) than any other male/female duo in chart history, with I've Got A Life, debuting at number 14 on sales of 6,258. It's one of three new tracks on Eurythmics' new Ultimate Collection compilation.
Although Stewart (53) and Lennox (50) are not as young as most successful mixed gender duos, they're far from the oldest; Hylda Baker and Arthur Mullard, were 73 and 64, respectively, when they had their only hit in 1978 - and, of course, if the Rod Stewart and Diana Ross track mentioned above were to be issued as a single it would surely be a hit for the pair. Rod is 60, Diana is 61.
Finally, despite being heavily involved in the storyline of top soap Coronation Street this week, veteran rockers Status Quo have to settle for a number 29 debut for their latest single, All That Counts Is Love on sales of 3,425. It's the second single from the band's current album The Party Ain't Over Yet, following the title track, and provides Quo's with their 62nd Top 75 hit, and their 55th Top 40 hit - more than any other group. The album climbs 118-113 this week, though its sales dipped by 1% to 1,946, taking its seven week total to 31,902.