Taylor Swift equals Madonna’s record of 12 UK No 1 albums

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Taylor Swift has tied with Madonna to become the female artist with the most UK No 1 albums, earning her twelfth chart-topper with the global phenomenon that is The Tortured Poets Department.

Swift also dominates this week’s singles chart, with three songs in the Top Five including a No 1 for Fortnight, featuring Post Malone. It’s her fourth No 1 single, and her third chart double.

With 207,000 chart sales, a figure combined from streams and purchases, The Tortured Poets Department outsold the rest of the Top 10 combined and has the UK’s biggest opening week of sales in seven years, since Ed Sheeran’s ÷ in 2017.

Bruce Springsteen also has 12 No 1s, while the only artists with more are the Beatles (16), the Rolling Stones (14), Robbie Williams (14) and Elvis Presley (13).

No artist has got to 12 No 1s as swiftly as Swift, though – she did it in 11 years and six months, considerably quicker than the Beatles, who needed to wait until 1977’s The Beatles at Hollywood Bowl to get their 12th. Eight of those No 1s have been since 2020, partly thanks to her project to re-record her albums from an ill-fated deal with former label Big Machine.

The Tortured Poets Department, a 31-track, two-hour double album which includes songs that pick apart her recent relationships with actor Joe Alwyn and singer Matty Healy with unflinching candour, has further established Swift as the century’s biggest music star.

It became the most streamed album in a single day on Spotify, then the fastest album to reach a billion streams on the platform. Twenty-two of the 50 most streamed songs globally on Thursday were by Swift.

After three days on sale, Swift had sold 700,000 vinyl copies of The Tortured Poets Department in the US, breaking the weekly record (since records began in 1991). That number is particularly remarkable considering that around a million vinyl albums were sold in total in the US in 2023, with nearly 10% of those sold by Swift (chiefly her album Midnights).

The rest of the UK chart is put rather in the shade, but last week’s singles chart-topper Hozier manages to outsell a couple of Swift’s songs and sit at No 2. Swift’s recent tour support artist Sabrina Carpenter rises to No 5 with her peppy Espresso, now the second-most streamed track globally on Spotify.

In the album chart, Pearl Jam reach No 2 with Dark Matter to earn their tenth UK Top 10 album and joint-highest placing. UB40 reach No 5 with their album UB45, their highest placing since 1994. Thanks to a special Record Store Day release, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours – spending its 1,042nd week in the UK charts – jumps up to No 9.

With TTPD out in the world, Swift now looks to the next leg of her Eras tour. After concluding the Asia and Australia leg with six nights at Singapore’s National Stadium in March, she will begin the European leg on 9 May with four nights in Paris. Eras reaches the UK on 7 June at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium, and later includes eight dates at Wembley Stadium, equalling a record set by Take That.

According to data by US live music analysts Pollstar, Eras had already made over $1bn in revenue by the end of 2023, and estimates that by the end of the tour in December it will gross over $2bn – comprehensively beating the previous record of $939m set by Elton John’s farewell tour.

She will probably score her 13th No 1 album as early as 2024, with fans looking forward to her re-recorded version of 2017 album Reputation – a release date has not yet been announced.

Source: theguardian.com

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