Robbie Williams returns to number one spot

Robbie Williams The singer recently became father to a baby daughter

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Robbie Williams is celebrating his first solo UK number one for eight years, after Candy topped the official singles chart.

Some 137,000 copies of Candy were sold this week, according to the Official Charts Company - the fastest-selling single by a male artist this year.

It marks the 14th number one for Williams, including his years with Take That, and his seventh solo number one.

It draws him level with bandmate Gary Barlow, who co-wrote the current hit.

Williams, 38, said he was "chuffed" to have reached "the top spot".

"Good work Team Williams and thanks to everyone who got it there," he told the OfficialCharts.com.

"I'm so excited about this album and this is a great start."

The new album, Take The Crown, is released on Monday.

Lukewarm response

Following his departure from Take That in the mid-1990s, Williams went on to sell 60 million solo albums and win 12 Brit Awards.

But his two most recent solo albums received a lukewarm critical response and failed to match up to the extraordinary commercial success of his earlier work.

The star re-joined Take That in 2010, as the group released their first new music together for 15 years, touring with them on their record-breaking Progress UK stadium tour last year.

Emeli Sande, who picked up three Mobos at the weekend, slipped back into second place in the singles chart with Beneath Your Beautiful, while Adele's James Bond theme tune Skyfall made the top five.

Williams' contemporary, Kylie Minogue, failed to take the number one spot in the album chart, with her album The Abbey Road Sessions settling for second place behind DJ and songwriter Calvin Harris, with 18 Months.

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