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Monday, 13 November, 2000, 08:23 GMT
Westlife triumph in album battle
Westlife
The boys beat the girls in the race for number one
Record-breaking Irish pop stars Westlife have triumphed in the head-to-head battle with the Spice Girls for the number one album spot.

The five lads notched up an impressive 234,000 sales of their album Coast To Coast, compared to 71,000 sales of the Spice Girl's third album Forever.

The group, who last week became the first act to achieve number ones with their first seven singles, celebrated their album success with their families in Sligo and Dublin.

Spice Girls group shot
The Spice Girls album will be a consistent seller
Band member Kian Egan said: "We would like to give a huge thanks to all our fans for being so supportive and helping us to achieve this very personal goal."

Their reign at the top is likely to be short-lived due to the release of The Beatles Greatest Hits Album 1 on Monday.

The Spice Girls kept a relatively low profile after the release of their album last Monday, with little in the way of promotion.

But Westlife embarked on a exhausting 36-hour album signing tour that took them from Glasgow through Manchester, Birmingham and onto London.

Critics

The boy's clean cut image was even tarnished slightly during the campaign when band-member Bryan McFadden accused the girls of being past it.

"Their first two albums, people loved them but now they're just trying to be Destiny's Child, or TLC or something. They just don't have it any more," he said.

Westlife at an album signing
All the hard work pays off for Westlife
Although Spice Girls sales were still strong, critics will use their inability to make it to the top as evidence they are not the force they once were.

But the Spice Girls are not likely to lose out in the long run, with record shops predicting their album will be a consistent seller over time.

They have failed to make it to number one with only one previous release, their seventh single Stop in 1998, which stalled at number two.

Their first single Wannabe went to number two in its first week on the chart in 1996, but jumped a position the following week.

Westlife's self-titled first album also entered the charts at number two when it was released in December 1999, but failed to reach the top slot.

It has sold more than five million copies worldwide.

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See also:

07 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Westlife ahead in album battle
06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Westlife gun for Spice Girls
07 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Spice Girls toast third album
24 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Westlife break own record
06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Westlife: Pretenders to Beatles' throne?
29 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Spice Girls make pop history
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