Boy band One Direction bows at No. 1

Brits' debut album 'Up All Night' takes top slot

Proving that manufactured Britpop did not expire with the Spice Girls, boy band One Direction’s “Up All Night” became the first British debut album to bow at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart last week.

The act’s Syco/Columbia set took the apex of the chart with a 176,000-unit bow, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ended March 18.

Assembled by “The X Factor” creator Simon Cowell from a quintet of aspiring solo contestants for the 2010 season of the talent show’s English skein, One Direction is riding high on the strength of its first U.S. single, “What Makes You Beautiful.”

Columbia Records has accounted for the No. 1 slot on the chart every week to date this year, as “Up All Night” succeeded a lengthy run by Adele’s “21” and last week’s chart-topping debut by Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball.”

Adele’s Grammy-winning multi-platinum collection sat tight at No. 2 for a second week with a 148,000-unit score, off 24%.

Guns N’ Roses became the latest beneficiary of blowout 25¢ album pricing by Google and Amazon, hitting No. 3 with its “Greatest Hits” (Geffen), which shifted 85,000 lowball units, gaining a whopping 618%.

Despite massive publicity behind Springsteen’s South by Southwest keynote speech and a high-profile, star-studded show in Austin, Texas, last week, “Wrecking Ball” slipped to No. 4, selling 57,000 and marking a 71% decline.

Christian music continued to make its mark in the U.S. top 10 as “Passion: White Flag” (Sixsteps/Sparrow) arrived at No. 5, selling 48,000 out of the box. Collaborative set features the David Crowder Band, whose “Give Us Rest” debuted at No. 2 in January, plus other top genre acts like Chris Tomlin and Watermark’s Christy Nockels.

Week’s other top 10 debut was Gotye’s “Making Mirrors” (Universal Republic), which rose seven rungs in its 11th week to No. 9 with a 24,000-unit frame. Belgian singer-songwriter Wouter De Backer’s third full-length release is surfing the success of the top-five hit “Somebody That I Used to Know.”

Top-10 holdovers included Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Hits” (No. 6, 45,000 sold, off 35%), Drake’s “Take Care” (No. 7, 36,000, down 38%) and the “Now 41” compilation (No. 8, 29,000, off 81%). “Some Nights” by fun. rebounded with a three-slot gain and claimed No. 10 with a 22,000-unit stanza (down 2%).

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