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Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Smashes Records En Route to U.K. No. 1

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Nothing and no one could stop Taylor Swift’s irrepressible march to No. 1 in the U.K. as The Tortured Poets Department (via EMI) embarks on a record-setting romp.


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The clear leader at the halfway mark, Tortured Poets roars to No. 1 on the Official Chart, published Friday, April 26, for her 12th U.K. leader.

As previously reported, the new collection posts a career-best start for Swift, shifting 270,000 across the full chart week, outpacing her previous personal best of 204,000, when Midnights topped the chart in 2022.

That’s the biggest opening week for any album in seven years – since Ed Sheeran’s 2017 hit ÷ (Divide), which locked up 670,000 first-week U.K. chart units. And it’s a greater first-week volume than Adele’s 2021 album 30, which accumulated 261,000 in its opening run, the Official Charts Company reports.

With a dozen leaders, Swift draws level with Madonna as the female artist with the most No. 1 albums in Official Albums Chart history. Only four acts in chart history have racked up more: The Beatles (16), The Rolling Stones (14), Robbie Williams (14) and Elvis Presley (13). Bruce Springsteen also has 12.

Tortured Poets joins Red (2012), 1989 (2014), reputation (2017), Lover (2019), folklore (2020), evermore (2020), Fearless (Taylor’s Version) (2021), Red (Taylor’s Version) (2021), Midnights (2022), Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) (2023) and 1989 (Taylor’s Version) in her collection of consecutive chart-toppers.

No other artist has notched up 12 leaders in such a short space of time, doing so in just 11 years and 6 months. That beats the Beatles, which chalked up as many No. 1s in 14 years and 1 month, between Please Please Me (May 1963) and The Beatles At Hollywood Bowl in June 1977.

Also, Swift extends her record as the only artist to claim 12 No. 1 albums in the 21st century, all of which came consecutively.

In non-TayTay news, Pearl Jam snags a best U.K. chart performance in 11 years with Dark Matter (Monkeywrench Records/Republic Records), new at No. 2, while British reggae act UB40‘s 21st studio album UB45 (Sono Recording Group) bows at No. 5.

Lars Brandle
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