Ed Sheeran Leads Take That in Race for U.K. Albums Chart Title

AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
Ed Sheeran performs during the Italian State RAI TV program “Che Tempo che Fa,” in Milan, Italy on March 12, 2017.

Drake couldn’t usurp Ed Sheeran, and early indications suggest Take That won’t have enough to snatch the U.K. albums chart title.

On the midweek chart, Sheeran’s Divide (Asylum) holds at No. 1, though Take That’s Wonderland (Polydor) has done typically brisk business, shifting 96,000 units since its release March 24, some 27,500 sales adrift.

Take That, now a three-piece comprised of Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen, is a U.K. sales juggernaut with seven No. 1 albums and 12 No. 1 singles to its name. The veteran pop act’s albums are typically fast starters; they’re the only act to land two albums in the market’s all-time fastest-selling top 10, with 2010’s Progress at No. 4 (518,601 first week sales) and 2008’s The Circus at No. 6 (432,490 units). Drake’s More Life (Cash Money/Republic) tumbles to No. 6 on the midweek chart after bowing at No. 2 on the main chart last week, just one place behind Sheeran’s Divide.

Two-time Brit Award winner Rag ‘N’ Bone Man’s debut Human (Best Laid Plans/Columbia) is at No. 3 on the Official Albums Chart Update, while James Blunt’s new set The Afterlove (Atlantic) starts at No. 4 and Dame Vera Lynn’s 100 (Decca) is at No. 5.

Sheeran should grab the Official Chart double for a fourth week when the U.K. charts are published this Friday (March 31), as “Shape Of You” leads the way for what could be its 12 week at the summit.

There’s a real chance Sheeran could replace himself at the top with “Galway Girl,” which is just 1,200 equivalent units behind at No. 2 on the Official Singles Chart Update while Clean Bandit and Zara Larsson’s “Symphony” (Atlantic) is at No. 3, Drake’s “Passionfruit” (Cash Money/Republic) starts at No. 4 and Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill” completes the top 5.

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