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X Factor acts dominate charts

X Factor acts dominate charts

Lewis' Spirit suffered a big dip along with the rest of the album market but still managed to secure a 60.63% victory margin over Westlife, her nearest challengers for the fourth week in a row, writes Alan Jones.

Topping the album chart for the seventh consecutive week, Spirit sold a further 116,561 copies last week to take its 48 day sales tally to 1,550,037.

The only album to open its career with more weeks at number one in the 21st century is The Beatles' One compilation, which topped the charts for nine weeks in 2000/1.

Robbie Williams' Swing When You're Winning also reeled off seven straight weeks at number one to start its career in 2001/2. One and Swing When You're Winning dipped below 100,000 sales in their seventh week, while Spirit has easily surpassed the total in every week thus far.

Westlife's latest album, Back Home, has made a great start, spending eight straight weeks in the top three, while selling 854,344 copies, including 72,565 last week, its fifth in total in the number two slot.

Their last set, 2006's The Love Album, debuted at number one but dipped out of the top three the following week. Back Home is Westlife's ninth album but surprisingly none of its predecessors have managed to open with as long a top three residency - previous best, Coast To Coast, was top three for seven weeks in 2001/2.

Take That's Beautiful World rises 8-3 on sales of 61,564. It is being helped both by the availability of the original version of the album for as little as £4.99, and the fact the band is currently enjoying a sell-out residency at the O2. Beautiful World is one of the few albums to sell upwards of a million copies in consecutive calendar years, with its 2007 tally of 1,080,332 being only 43,851 fewer than it sold in 2006, while raising its overall sales to a massive 2,204,515 copies.

The biggest selling album of 2007 is the original Back To Black by Amy Winehouse. The album climbs 10-5 this week, with sales of 50,638, taking its 2007 total to 1,586,194 - 36,157 more than runner-up Leona Lewis' Spirit - and its overall career tally to 1,883,897. The deluxe edition of Back To Black, which retreats 9-15 on sales of 38,792, has sold a further 265,327 copies. Meanwhile, Whitehouse and Mark Ronson's recording of The Zutons' Valerie spends its 12th week in the Top 10, climbing 8-6 on sales of 23,004.

The Spice Girls' Greatest Hits set failed to fulfil expectations that it would be one of 2007's biggest albums and has suffered six consecutive dips in chart position since its release in November, moving 2-7-12-13-22-27-29. The album has thus far sold 325,966 copies, beating their last studio album, 2000's Forever, which sold 263,953 copies but is way short of their 1996 debut Spice (2,927,382 sales) and 1997 follow-up Spiceworld (1,575,941).

A pre-Christmas screening of An Audience With Celine Dion helped the French-Canadian diva's Taking Chances to bounce 27-20 last week, and the improvement continues this week, with the album jumping to number 14.

Sales of 39,759 take its seven-week sales tally to 295,451, which is already more than any of her last three albums - the 2004 lullaby set Miracle (109,963 sales), concert recording A New Day: Live In Las Vegas (2004, 59,552 sales) and, more impressively, her last regular album, One Heart (2003, 204,075 sales).

After dashing to a first week sale of 275,742, Leon Jackson's debut single, When You Believe, sold a further 119,927 copies last week, to end up in fourth place in the top singles rankings for 2007.

Jackson turned 19 yesterday (Sunday) and is the first Scottish male soloist to spend two weeks at number one with his debut single since January 2003, when David Sneddon - who shot to fame by winning the first (2002) series of BBC's Fame Academy- spent a fortnight at the summit with Stop Living The Lie.

Getting plenty of radio plays on year-end recaps, Timbaland and One Republic's Apologize extends its Top 10 run to 11 weeks as it rebounds 10-4. Its sales improved by 57.4% last week to 27,149, taking its to date tally to 275,287 - enough to place it 16th in the final 2007 best-selling singles tabulations.

It's not enough for it to overhaul Timbaland's biggest 2007 hit The Way I Are. Featuring the vocals of Keri Hilson, it leaps 55-27 this week on sales of 8,282, to make its final 2007 sales tally 336,738 - enough for seventh place on the list.

Rihanna finishes the year in fine style, with four singles in the Top 75. Her latest, Don't Stop The Music, has moved 68-37-30-16 thus far, and sold 12,653 downloads last week, while Umbrella benefited massively from year-end recaps, and jumps 38-18 - its best placing for 17 weeks - on sales of 12,178.

Meanwhile, Hate That I Love You rebounds 37-22 (10,266 sales) and Shut Up And Drive re-enters at number 45 (6,084). Rihanna didn't make her 2007 singles chart debut until the end of May but the four singles have racked up an impressive 69 weeks on the Top 75 since.

Mika's debut album Life In Cartoon Motion has spawned six Top 75 singles, of which the latest is Relax, Take It Easy, which improves 75-49 on sales of 5,457 downloads, and is set to go higher following its physical release today. Mika's number one debut hit Grace Kelly rebounds 110-48, while Happy Ending, which peaked at number seven, recovers 57-32. Mika also reached number six with Love Today, number nine with Big Girl, You Are Beautiful, and number 59 with Lollipop, which has never been given a full single release but has sold an impressive 50,137 copies.

Britney Spears must be glad to see the back of 2007, when her personal life seemed to slide into meltdown, although she made a welcome return to the top three, with Gimme More, the first single from her Blackout album. The track rebounds 63-43 this week, while follow-up Piece Of Me darts 69-46 on download sales, a fortnight ahead of its physical release. Britney's double whammy helps Blackout to return to the chart at number 65 on sales of 7,771, taking its nine week sales tally to 114,557.

Albums and singles markets headed in opposite directions last week but for both there was some good news.

Although overall album sales declined 45% from a 2007 high of 8,324,707 to a fourth best 4,575,112, they were higher than week 52 sales in either 2006, when they were 4,360,717; or 2005, when they amounted to 4,026,048. It's the first time sales in 2007 have beaten same week sales in 2006 for 38 weeks, though, of course, it is partly due to the fact that week 52 in 2007 included both the 23rd December and Christmas Eve sales, whereas week 52 in 2006 included only Christmas Eve, and week 52 in 2005 included neither.

The start of the sales season usually results in major chart upheavals at this time of the year, with heavily discounted titles making a mass invasion of the chart. This year, you'd hardly know the sales are on, and the artist album chart is remarkably stable, with 14 re-entries from 2007 best-sellers but no deep catalogue arriving on the back of £3.99 price tags

All 13 albums in the Top 75 to enjoy increased sales last week were the subject of major price-cutting. The album to benefit most was The Dutchess by Fergie, which rebounds 103-50 on sales of 11,577 - a 105.7% increase on the prior week. The album is doing especially well for Woolworth's, where it is priced at £5.17. It last placed higher 12 weeks ago, and has lifted its overall sales to 226,956.

More impressively, sales of singles last week went through the roof. If OCC data is correct, they jumped 33.2% to 2,896,315. That's not just the highest of the year, it's also the highest of the 21st century and indeed the highest since Millward Brown started compiling sales data for the OCC in February 1994, easily beating the previous top tally of 2,675,772 in week 38 of 1997, when Elton John's Princess Diana tribute Candle In The Wind was in full flow, making a gargantuan 1,546,684 contribution to the overall tally.

Last week, Leon Jackson's sales were well below a tenth of that but the market as a whole was very buoyant, possibly because a very large number of people were bought iPods and similar mp3 players as gifts and took advantage of their spare vacation time to download their favourite tracks.

For whatever reason, it brings a healthy glow to the chart, with the top 22 singles all selling more than 10,000 copies. That doesn't match that 1997 week, when the top 32 singles achieved five figure sales but with downloads not running out of stock like physical product did back in the day, sales are much stronger further down the chart, with the number 200 single - Best Of You by Foo Fighters - selling 1,437 copies last week, compared to the 353 sales the 200th best-seller - The Sun Rising by Beloved, sold in that 1997 week. The latter track was not, by the way, the number 200 single - it was 'starred out' of the chart between number 130 and number 131.

A week ago, there were 22 seasonal songs in the Top 75, an all-time chart record. This week, all 22 suffer big reductions in sales and only nine remain in the Top 75. The Top 40, host to 10 of them a week ago, now contains only three - The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl's Fairytale Of New York (down 4-9 on sales of 17,794), All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey (6-20, 11,615) and Last Christmas by Wham! (16-40, 6,584).

The simultaneous decline of so many festive favourites, many of them hardy perennials, is offset by major resurgences for some of the year's biggest hits, which benefit hugely from the many and various round-ups, and best song lists to be found on TV, radio, internet and in print at this time of year.

Leona Lewis' Bleeding Love, already the year's number one single, is one of the main beneficiaries of this, and its sales were up 20.3% last week to 37,170, enough for it to rebound 3-2. All four of Rihanna's 2007 singles enjoy surges of more than 80%, and The Hoosiers debut hit Worried About Ray catapults 56-25 with sales up 161.9% at 9,307, while follow-up, Goodbye Mr A enjoys a similar 157.2% spike to surge 29-10.

Ruby by The Kaiser Chiefs, Rehab by Amy Winehouse, Shine by Take That and Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars are among 19 re-entries to the Top 75, where the only bona fide first timer is Homecoming by Kanye West, which debuts at number 69 on sales of 4,139 downloads.

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