Entertainment & Arts

Sam Smith denies Madonna her 12th number one album

Sam Smith and Madonna Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sam Smith's album has now reached number one on six separate occasions

Sam Smith has stopped Madonna from topping the UK album chart, denying her the 12th number one of her career.

Madonna's latest album, Rebel Heart, had been in pole position throughout the week, but Smith's In The Lonely Hour sneaked ahead at the last minute.

His record undoubtedly received a boost after he performed his new single, Lay Me Down, with John Legend on Friday night's Comic Relief show.

In the end, he beat Madonna by 12,000 sales, the Official Chart Company said.

In The Lonely Hour has now spent six separate spells at number one - a record for a male solo artist.

Only three other albums have done better - Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water, which topped the charts on eight occasions; followed by Adele's 21 and Emeli Sande's Our Version Of Events, both of which managed seven.

Top five albums
Week ending 15 March, 2015
1) Sam Smith - In The Lonely Hour
2) Madonna - Rebel Heart
3) Ed Sheeran - x
4) Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Chasing Yesterday
5) George Ezra - Wanted on Voyage

Smith also topped the UK singles chart with Lay Me Down - the official Red Nose Day single - which achieved sales of 105,000.

The album version of the song, which does not feature John Legend, also charted at number 18.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionSam Smith and John Legend speak to Lizo Mzimba about singing the official Comic Relief single

Rebel Heart is Madonna's thirteenth studio album, and features collaborations with Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys and Avicii.

Well-received by critics, it explores the star's divorce from British film-maker Guy Ritchie, alongside her regular pet topics of sex, dance and religion.

Image copyright Record label
Image caption Rebel Heart was released in three editions - with many fans picking up every version of the album

The last time one of Madonna's studio albums failed to reach number one in the UK was 1994, when Bedtime Stories also made its debut at number two.

Elsewhere in the album chart, Rebecca Ferguson scored a new entry at number seven with Lady Sings The Blues, a collection of Billie Holiday covers.

Boyband Blue notched up their sixth top 20 album with Colours, which landed at 13; while Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits notched up its 386th week in the top 100.

Another Comic Relief performer, Ella Henderson, saw her album Chapter One leap 10 places, from 22 to 12.

Madonna's greatest hits collection, Celebration, jumped from 38 to 27, but the highest climber was George Benson's The Ultimate Collection, which rose 17 places to 37.

Top five singles
Week ending 15 March, 2015
1)Sam Smith - Lay Me Down (ft John Legend)
2)Years & Years - King
3)Flo Rida - GDFR (ft Sage the Gemini)
4)Ellie Goulding - Love Me Like You Do
5)Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney - FourFiveSeconds

In the singles chart, rapper Flo Rida was a new entry at number three. His latest record, GDFR, samples War's 1975 hit Low Rider and is his 13th UK top 10 hit.

Usher's I Don't Mind debuted at number eight, while Mumford and Sons reached number 20 with Believe, the first release from their new album Wilder Mind.

Twelve tracks were streamed more than a million times last week, the Official Chart Company said, with Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney's FourFiveSeconds racking up 2.12 million listens over the last seven days.

Image copyright Other

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