Harry Styles (yes, him again) also does the chart double this week, pulling off that (usually) rare trick of topping both singles and albums charts simultaneously.
Official Charts keep a handy list
of everyone who has achieved this, so you can see at a glance that Styles is the first man this year to have done the double, making it something of a shock that we have had to wait this long. In 2020 Stormzy, Drake, Eminem and Ariana Grande were all double winners, while last year it was the turn of Olivia Rodrigo, Ed Sheeran and Adele to manage it.
What is more notable is that Harry Styles has now enjoyed a chart double both as a solo artist and as a member of a group, this thanks to One Direction’s Take Me Home album hitting the summit at the same time as their Little Things single in November 2012. That’s something that is far more rare, and indeed just like his Top 3 clean sweep something that only two other artists have ever done before.
Both of the previous occasions are however subject to technicalities. First there is Gary Barlow, No.1 on both charts exactly ten years ago this week as it happens as the leader of the Commonwealth Band with Jubilee tie-in record Sing. He’s not technically solo here, but does get the lead credit. And this matches his chart double as a member of Take That in December 2006 with the single Patience and the Beautiful World album.
The other man isn’t Robbie Williams. He’s done the chart double himself twice over, first in December 2001 with Somethin’ Stupid and Swing When You’re Winning and again in November 2012 with Candy and the album Take The Crown. But as any fan knows, he wasn’t a member of Take That at the time of their 2006 chart triumph. So he doesn’t count.
The other man to do the double double is therefore Gary Numan who did so twice in 1979 - first as a member of Tubeway Army and then again solo. Pedants will note that this was really just a change of branding, the same musicians who performed Are Friends Electric those who also played on Cars. But chart credits are what matter. And Numan did indeed do the chart double with records credited to both his old group and himself in person.