Manic Street Preachers score first No 1 album in 23 years

In a dramatic revival of a 90s chart rivalry, the Welsh trio prevail over Steps with their album The Ultra Vivid Lament

Manic Street Preachers have scored their first No 1 album in 23 years with The Ultra Vivid Lament.

In a throwback to a similar race in the 1990s, they prevailed in a close battle over pop group Steps, who reached No 2 with their album What the Future Holds – Pt 2, a sequel to their 2020 album which reached the same chart position.

The Ultra Vivid Lament is the Manics’ 14th studio album in a career that stretches back to 1992’s Generation Terrorists. Their only previous No 1 album is This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, which beat Steps’ album Step One to top the chart in September 1998. This Is My Truth also featured a No 1 single, If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next – the only UK No 1 about the Spanish civil war – which also held off Steps’ One For Sorrow to claim No 1 spot.

Manic Street Preachers’ popularity has endured, with all but one of their nine albums since reaching the UK Top Five. The band said of their latest No 1: “It was a titanic chart battle and we are absolutely over the moon.”

Powered by vinyl and CD sales from their dedicated fanbases, other heritage acts score their highest chart placings in many years this week. The Stranglers are at No 4 with Dark Matters, their ninth Top 10 album and their first since a 1990 greatest hits compilation. Saint Etienne reach No 14 with I’ve Been Trying to Tell You, their highest since 1994’s Tiger Bay.

Last week’s No 1 album, Certified Lover Boy by Drake, drops to No 3, and the Vaccines make it five Top Five albums out of five with Back in Love City.

In the singles chart, Ed Sheeran replaces himself at the top of the chart, with Shivers replacing Bad Habits. The latter had spent 11 weeks at No 1 – only six songs in history have spent longer at the top.

Sheeran’s songs sandwich Drake at No 2 with Girls Want Girls; Dua Lipa and Elton John’s mashup of Elton hits, Cold Heart, rises to No 4; and Central Cee, the drill rapper who won two Rated awards this week, enters at No 5 with Obsessed With You.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Manic Street Preachers announce free arena show for NHS workers
Welsh band will also stage fundraising gig for NHS Wales ‘to show our appreciation, love and respect’ after coronavirus fight

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

08, Apr, 2020 @6:00 PM

Article image
Manic Street Preachers – review
To a backing choir of 16,000 voices, the Manics perform all 38 singles and nearly take the 02 roof off, writes Caroline Sullivan

Caroline Sullivan

18, Dec, 2011 @1:03 PM

Article image
Manic Street Preachers to perform classic Holy Bible album in full
James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore will play a series of shows in December, celebrating 20 years since their third album was released

Guardian music

23, Sep, 2014 @7:44 AM

Manic Street Preachers: Rewind the Film – review

Manic Street Preachers embrace austerity with their best album in years, writes Paul Mardles

Paul Mardles

14, Sep, 2013 @11:05 PM

Article image
Manic Street Preachers, Wembley Arena

Wembley Arena

Alexis Petridis

11, Dec, 2004 @2:49 PM

4 stars Manic Street Preachers, Leeds University

, Leeds University

Dave Simpson

12, May, 2007 @10:52 PM

Article image
Manic Street Preachers create Euro 2016 anthem for Wales
The track, Together Stronger (C’mon Wales), will celebrate the Wales football team competing in its first major championships for 50 years

Guardian music

22, Mar, 2016 @2:51 PM

Article image
Manic Street Preachers: Futurology review – startlingly fresh and different

Alexis Petridis: The Manics' exhilarating, krautrock-tinged 11th album is unmistakably theirs, but unlike anything they've done before

Alexis Petridis

03, Jul, 2014 @1:59 PM

Manic Street Preachers, NEC, Birmingham

NEC, Birmingham

David Peschek

05, Dec, 2002 @1:12 PM

Manic Street Preachers, Manchester Apollo

Manchester Apollo

Helen Pidd

11, Dec, 2006 @10:04 AM