Entertainment & Arts

Robbie Williams scores UK's 1,000th number one album

Robbie Williams at the London Palladium
Image caption Williams launched his album with a star-studded concert at the London Palladium

Pop star Robbie Williams' new big band album Swings Both Ways has become the 1,000th record to top the UK charts.

He achieves the milestone 57 years after Frank Sinatra had the first number one, with Songs For Swingin' Lovers, in 1956.

Since then, more than 3,000 album charts have been published - with the Beatles the most frequent visitors to the top.

Williams has now had 11 number ones as a solo artist, equalling Elvis Presley.

If you include his four number ones as a member of Take That, he has been in pole position 15 times - the same as The Beatles.

However, measured by duration at the top, Williams still has a long way to go. The Beatles have spent 174 weeks - over three years - at number one, while Williams languishes behind on 31.

The 39-year-old said he was still competitive against his old bandmates, and Gary Barlow in particular.

"I've always said I want to sell a million-and-one records, and I want Gaz to sell a million," he said.

"Gaz is a very good friend of mine, and I want him to knock it out of the park next week when his album comes out, but a few yards shorter than I knock it out of the park. It's honest. I love him to bits, but I want to sell more."

He said the fact that both the first and 1,000th number one was a swing album showed the genre's "enduring appeal".

"I think in these days, with people taking their clothes off and doing drugs and being cynical in whatever way possible to get attention - and good luck to them - I think there is a market for middle-of-the-road entertainment.

"It harks back to a simpler time."

After establishing an early lead, Williams easily outsold the rest of his competition this week.

He shifted 67,000 copies more than the number two album, Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP 2.

Teenage songwriter Jake Bugg was a new entry at three with Shangri La, while boyband JLS saw their greatest hits collection enter the chart at six.

Lady Gaga, who scored last week's number one with her concept pop opus Artpop, plummeted to number nine.

In the singles chart, Lily Allen claimed the top spot with Somewhere Only We Know - the soundtrack to the John Lewis Christmas advert.

She also scored a new entry at nine with Hard Out Here, in which she skewers the sexism of the music industry.

Image caption Lily Allen's chart comeback follows a four-year break, during which she had two children

Indie-pop outfit Bastille entered the chart at number two with their latest single, Of The Night - which combines 90s dance anthems Rhythm Is A Dancer by Snap! and This Is The Rhythm Of The Night by Corona.

The band said they were overwhelmed by the success.

"For a track that we made for a bit of fun over a year ago to be competing with such big names is completely mental," frontman Dan Smith told Digital Spy.

Bastille beat Gary Barlow, who had a new entry at number three with the banjo-bashing Let Me Go.

Fourth place went to Ellie Goulding's Children In Need song How Long Will I Love You, while Eminem's former number one The Monster was at five.

Elvis Presley scored the UK's 1000th Official Number 1 single in January 2005 with the double A-side One Night/I Got Stung.

The single was part of a series of re-releases to celebrate what would have been his 70th birthday year, and was the singer's 20th number one.

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