Rihanna fever is officially sweeping the United Kingdom, as the Barbadian superstar lands a simultaneous No. 1 single and album for the second time this year, and several new U.K. chart records in the process.
Meanwhile, “Now! That’s What I Call Music 80″ creates a record of its own, debuting atop the compilation chart with first-week sales of 296,000, the biggest opening sale for any album in the U.K. market this year, either a compilation or by an individual artist. But that’s still well down on the initial 333,000 achieved by “Now 77,” its counterpart in last year’s festive market.
Official Charts Company sales data published Sunday (Nov. 27) showed her “Talk That Talk” album going straight to No. 1 with first-week sales of 163,000. The single “We Found Love”, featuring Calvin Harris, started another week at No. 1, its sixth non-consecutive frame at the top.
Rihanna becomes the first female artist to achieve the coveted feat of simultaneous album and single chart-toppers twice in a calendar year, after the “Loud” album and “What’s My Name” track, featuring Drake, were both No. 1 in January. It’s the first time any artist has secured that honor for close to 40 years: T. Rex did it in May 1972 with the album “Bolan Boogie” and single “Metal Guru,” six months after leading the way with both “Electric Warrior” and “Telegram Sam.”
Rihanna is also the first solo female to score two different No. 1 albums in a calendar year. She extends her lead in total weeks atop the U.K. singles chart this year, now standing at seven (also including one for “What’s My Name”), and “We Found Love” is her sixth No. 1 single in the territory in consecutive five years, another record for a female artist.
Among other details of Rihanna’s stellar chart week, “Loud” maintains a top 30 place in its 54th appearance, dipping 23-27. Drake’s “Take Care” single on which Rihanna features, climbed 12-9 (his album of the same name dropping 5-20). Three “Talk That Talk” album tracks sold well enough as individual tracks to make the new top 75: the title song, featuring Jay-Z, at No. 25, “You Da One” at No. 39 and “Where Have You Been” No. 61.
The artist album chart also saw a No. 2 debut for pop band One Direction’s “Up All Night” with 138,000 sales. As Michael Bublé’s “Christmas” fell from the top to No. 3, retiring Irish chart regulars Westlife came in at No. 4 with new “Greatest Hits” set. The quartet, whose worldwide sales are estimated by Sony at 44 million, will go their separate ways after a farewell tour next May.
“50 Words For Snow” , Kate Bush’s second new album of the year following May’s “Director’s Cut,” debuted at No. 5, three places behind the previous release. Nickelback’s “Here and Now” became their fifth consecutive U.K. top ten album at No. 10.
Below Rihanna on the singles chart, 2009 “X Factor” finalist Olly Murs debuted at No. 2 with “Dance With Me Tonight”.
The track had led the way in midweek sales data but ultimately lost out to “We Found Love,” finishing with 74,000 units to Rihanna’s 79,000. Swedish DJ-producer Avicii, aka Tim Bergling, debuted at No. 4 with “Levels”.
Also new inside the singles top ten were “Down For Whatever” by Kelly Rowland featuring the Wavs, at No. 6, and 2010 “X Factor” contestant Rebecca Ferguson’s “Nothing’s Real But Love” at No. 10. En Vogue’s early 1997 U.K. top five hit “Don’t Let Go (Love)” reappeared at No. 23 after the song was performed by “X Factor” contestant Little Mix.
The surest sign of the impending holiday season came in the reappearance of the two most durable festive perennials, re-entering the top 75 and certain to chart prominently again in the coming weeks: “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl at No. 47 and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” at No. 64.