Shall we get the "ah, but" stuff out of the way first? Seven different albums in the last 25 years have spent longer than Adele's 21 at the top of the charts, mostly notably But Seriously by Phil Collins and Spice from The Spice Girls which each have 15 weeks to their credit.
All of these however were non-consecutive runs and the big headline-grabbing chart story of the week is unequivocally the fact that 21 by Adele this week spends a tenth uninterrupted week at Number One, becoming in the process the first album since Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits to notch up double figures. By a strange coincidence the run of the Dire Straits album came to a close towards the end of March 1986, meaning that we have had a wait of almost exactly 25 years for anyone to repeat the stunt. Furthermore she surpasses Madonna's nine week Immaculate Collection run from 1990 to become the female soloist with the longest running Number One album ever.
Longevity records for albums are slightly skewed by the fact that the chart of best selling long players stretches back to the dawn of the format and at a time when very few pop acts actually released long playing records of note. Thus the early years of the chart are filled with quirks such as the soundtrack to South Pacific spending 70 consecutive weeks at Number One from 1958 onwards, a run that is guaranteed never to be beaten. It is best to take a more realistic modern starting point when compiling chart facts and feats and so taking just the last 30 years into account it is further worth noting that 21 is only the fourth album in this period to register a double figure run at the top. Indeed the only "modern era" album to have a longer run was the compilation Legend by Bob Marley and The Wailers which had an epic 12 week spell at the top in the summer of 1984. Even that however pales next to the 18 week Number One run for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack which may well be just outside our point of reference in 1978 but which surely stands as the modern day benchmark to beat.
Adele's record-shattering run was once again assisted by the comparative failure of anything else in the market to come close to matching her weekly sales - and indeed it is her own 19 which yet again occupies the runners up position. In anticipation one suspects of Mothers' Day, 21 actually clocked up its highest weekly sale so far and it is now officially the first album in chart history to sell over 100,000 copies for ten weeks in a row. The much-trailed big new releases of the week simply failed to live up to expectations with Radiohead's The King Of Limbs sitting at Number 7 just ahead of Britney Spears' Femme Fatale at Number 8, both releases unexpectedly outsold by former X Factor star Mary Byrne with her debut release Mine & Yours which has the highest new entry at Number 6.
For the second time in its chart life, Adele's single Someone Like You is toppled from the Number One position, perhaps this time for good. Its replacement is the brand new single from a superstar who hasn't released a record in over three years but who clearly is still able to command instant attention the moment she steps inside a recording studio. She is none other than Jennifer Lopez who has the biggest selling single of the week with the enormously entertaining On The Floor, a single which duly becomes her third chart-topping single in the UK. Intriguingly the promotion of On The Floor has been to eschew the OAOS trend and the single arrived in stores after four weeks of radio airplay - hence the rather top down nature of its sales curve.
All Lopez' Number One hits so far have been very evenly spaced. Love Don't Cost A Thing topping the table in January 2001 followed by Get Right in February 2005. By a strange coincidence Lopez is the second female star in the last three weeks to return to Number One after an absence of over five years, hard on the heels of Nicole Scherzinger whose previous chart-topper was also in 2005.
On The Floor also features a guest rap from Pitbull who can finally lay claim to a Number One single in the UK after appearing on no less than three different Number 4 hits - most recently Enrique Iglesias' I Like It which charted in July last year.
After making suitable waves last week, the LMFAO single Party Rock Anthem makes another strong chart move, rising 22-3 to ensure the duo have reached the Top 10 on every single chart record they have performed on to date. Sealing the dominance of American R&B/rap crossover hits at the moment, Party Rock Anthem is just one of 3 Top 5 hits this week to all appear on Interscope records, the track joined by Just Can't Get Enough at Number 4 and Don't Hold Your Breath at Number 5. Indeed with Dr Dre's I Need A Doctor at Number 10 also on the label, they control fully half of the Top 10 and with the Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna singles issued on A&M plus Jessie J releasing her tracks though sister label Island Records, it means the Universal Music Group are responsible for seven of the ten biggest selling singles in Britain this week.
Thank goodness then for the good old independent British label, with Adele's records appearing on XL recordings and tiny London label Rinse Recordings responsible for the highest new entry of the week at Number 8. Said label is home to Katy B who lands herself a third Top 10 hit with new single Broken Record her own follow-up to Number 4 single Lights On which charted back in the new year. Both these singles plus her debut Katy On A Mission appear on her first ever album 'On A Mission' which wouldn't you just know it, hits the shops this week.
Down in the Top 20 the only other activity of note is a handful of singles all making what we might call satisfactory progress up the rankings. Mann featuring 50 Cent bumps onto the glass ceiling with a 15-11 climb for Buzzin but there is a strong leap for Katy Perry and Kanye West with ET, the single inevitably boosted by the release of its video this week. Also on the climb is Cee Lo Green with Bright Lights Bigger City climbing 31-19 and thus beating by a place the peak of his last single 'It's OK' which stalled at Number 20 in the new year, still overshadowed by the continuing chart run of 'Forget You' which now appears to have burned itself out, dropping out of the Top 40 on the sixth month anniversary of its release and leaving the way clear for his other material to be appreciated.
Other than that there is close to nothing happening in the rest of the Top 40, so in search of a good record to leave you with this week, let's set a watch going on the progress of the Nicki Minaj single Girls Fall Like Dominoes which arrives at Number 54 this week on its way to hopefully becoming a sizeable hit. As the title suggests, the single is based heavily around the criminally underrated Big Pink anthem Dominoes which made a mere Number 27 back at the end of October 2009. There is a part of me that would love to see this all but overlooked single reappear once again, propelled there by a rap hit which samples it almost in its entirety.