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> Second time very lucky: artists who beat the sophomore slump, Stars who turned the curse of the "difficult second album" on
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JCM20
post Jul 9 2017, 10:57 PM
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Second time very lucky: artists who beat the sophomore slump
Stars who turned the curse of the "difficult second album" on its head.

By Justin Myers

They don't call it "that difficult second album" for nothing many artists find following up a debut doesn't quite work out as they'd hoped. A few stars have bucked the trend however, either cementing the success of their first album with an even bigger follow-up, or even banishing the ghost of an underperforming debut with a sophomore smash.

We look a few acts who made it look like a breeze.

Adele
Tottenham's brightest star won over critics and fans with her first effort, 19, and sold respectably and spent one week at the top, but it was its successor that went stellar. 21, released three years later in 2011, is one of the biggest sellers of all time, spending 23 weeks at Number 1 and shifting 4.95 million copies.

MORE: Track the chart progress of all Adele's UK hit singles and albums



Ed Sheeran
Ed's debut + didn't exactly do too badly, spending 32 straight weeks in the Top 10 following its release in 2011, including three at the top, but it was x aka Multiply that certainly lived up to its name and transformed Ed's success. 74 consecutive weeks in the Top 10, 13 at the top, and a whopping 2.75 million copies sold.

MORE: Remind yourself of all Ed Sheeran's chart runs in his archive



Amy Winehouse
The late great Amy Winehouse attracted a fair bit of attention with her bluesy, raw debut Frank, but it was her second album Back to Black that made the rest of the world sit up and realise a superstar was born, in 2006. Finally scoring her first Top 10 single, Rehab, it became one of the most successful albums of all time 3.78 million sold. Back to Black's success is even more poignant when you consider it was also Amy's last studio album before her sad passing in 2011.

MORE: Amy Winehouse's full Official Chart archive



Rihanna
While she had a strong start with debut single Pon Da Replay in 2005, not that many people remember (or bought) her first album Music of the Sun, which stalled at Number 35. Thankfully she very quickly followed it up with the much more memorable, and successful A Girl Like Me, which went Top 5 and spawned two huge singles, SOS and Unfaithful.

MORE: See all Rihanna's UK hit singles and albums in her archive



Eminem
The peroxide-bonced rapper certainly made an impression with his debut single and album, but it was record number 2, The Marshall Mathers LP that cemented him with superstar status. Debut The Slim Shady LP sold brilliantly, over a million, and peaked at Number 10 over a year after release, but its follow-up was a chart-topper. Spawning two Number 1 singles, The Real Slim Shady and Stan, The Marshall Mathers LP shifted 2.45 million copies.

MORE: See all Eminem's UK hit singles and albums in his Official Chart archive




Christina Aguilera
Has there ever been a makeover quite so impactful, and successful, as this one? A total transformation from her sugary, self-titled debut, Christina Aguilera's sophomore stomper Stripped was a phenomenon, with a string of Top 10s, including two Number 1s Dirrty and Beautiful, shifting 1.98 million copies.



MORE: The UK's Official Top 40 biggest albums of 2017 so far

Sugababes
As we all know by now, Sugababes didn't have the best of starts, and their ending was pretty gruesome too, but in between, they did rather brilliantly. The trio's debut One Touch suffered disappointing sales and a low chart peak of 26, followed by the departure of founder member Siobhan Donaghy. With new girl Heidi Range on board, second album Angels With Dirty Faces had the good fortune to launch with two Number 1 singles Freak Like Me and Round Round, catapulting all the way to; well, Number 2, but it was a huge seller over 918,000 copies!

MORE: Sugababes' UK hit singles and albums and full chart runs in the archive



Oasis
There are records that ignore the "difficult second album" curse, and there are those that smash it to pieces. Oasis's Definitely Maybe was always going to be a rough act to follow, with two million copies sold, but (What's The Story) Morning Glory barely even broke a sweat. Four Top 3 singles, including Wonderwall and Number 1 Don't Look Back In Anger, and 10 weeks at the top of the Official Albums Chart, with 4.24 million copies sold. It is, as you can imagine, one of the biggest selling albums of all time.



Madonna
She's one of the most successful female artists of all time, but back in 1984, following the release of her debut album, Madonna still had plenty to prove. Despite two hit singles, Madonna's self-titled first album had, shall we say, a lacklustre performance, hanging around the lower reaches of the Top 100 and breaking the Top 40 once. Its follow-up, Like A Virgin, released at the end of that year took its time too, but went onto become a Number 1 album, spending 83 weeks in the Top 40. It also boosted that debut it finally went Top 10 in mid-1985.

MORE: Look back on all Madonna's UK hit singles, albums and chart runs in her archive



Katy Perry
Incredible as it may seem, Katy's debut album, while a strong seller never actually made the Top 10, despite spawning huge Number 1 single I Kissed A Girl. One of the Boys, which has sold 701,000 across all formats, stalled at 11, but follow-up Teenage Dream soon swept away any bad karma. It went straight in at the top in 2010 and a reissue, known as The Complete Confection, brought it storming back to the Top 10 18 months later. It's sold 1.31 million across physical, download and streaming equivalent sales.

MORE: All Katy Perry's hits are in her Official Charts archive



Ellie Goulding
Once the world woke up to Ellie's talent, thanks in part to early hit Starry Eyed and her cover of Elton John's Your Song, her debut album Lights was a huge hit, shifting over 807,000 copies. Second album nerves didn't seem to be in sight, and with good reason while Halcyon was a bit of a slow-burner, it ended up outselling its predecessor, scoring 1.18 million sales across all formats. And it gave her her first Number 1 single with Burn.



Pink
While it may have missed the Top 10, Pink's 2000 debut Can't Take Me Home sold pretty well, so you'd expect maybe more of the same for album number two. Pink really switched things up, however, nudging out the R&B of her first record for a tougher, poppier and rocky sound. And the formula certainly worked. 2002's Missundaztood try getting that one past auto correct on your phone somehow missed the Number 1 spot (!) but was a huge seller. 1.82 million copies were sold and it spent over seven months in the Official Albums Chart Top 10.



MORE: Look back at Pink's UK hit singles and albums since 2000
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JCM20
post Jul 10 2017, 06:09 PM
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Last year Music Week announced the 10 best selling albums of all time. They said their sales data was from the OCC. WTSMG was on 4.7m. Now it's 4.24m!
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liamk97
post Jul 10 2017, 06:13 PM
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QUOTE(JCM20 @ Jul 10 2017, 07:09 PM) *
Last year Music Week announced the 10 best selling albums of all time. They said their sales data was from the OCC. WTSMG was on 4.7m. Now it's 4.24m!

That's due to the 1994-1996 period where lots of sales were revised. The higher total is based on the sales reported at the time and the lower total is based on the revised sales.

Same thing happened with Definitely Maybe - its sales stand at 1.9m or 2.2m depending on which figure you believe.

Also worth pointing out that, unless specified like in the case of Katy Perry, that the sales in the article do not include streams.
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Jonjo
post Jul 10 2017, 06:31 PM
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'Halcyon' being a million seller though... since WHEN!? I thought it "underperformed" and was expecting it to be on about 600k in total laugh.gif
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cqmerqn
post Jul 10 2017, 06:34 PM
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Yassss Halcyon almost 4x platinum!!
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Bjork
post Jul 10 2017, 07:13 PM
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not sure why they have Rihanna in the list, her debut did zero, and the second barely nothing... don't think she fits
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Jay ☆
post Jul 11 2017, 03:45 AM
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Her second album was a double platinum seller in the UK! #5 compared to the previous album going to #35. So quite a rise in success, she definitely "beat the sophomore slump".
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Bjork
post Jul 11 2017, 06:49 AM
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I see it differently but alas...

for me it means that your debut has been crazy successful but that's difficult to flow it up and you fail (Mika, Duffy,...)
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JCM20
post Jul 11 2017, 07:19 AM
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If it was THIRD albums, Good Girl Gone Bad would head the list, no problem.
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Tawdry Hepburn
post Jul 11 2017, 08:26 AM
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QUOTE(Jonjo @ Jul 10 2017, 07:31 PM) *
'Halcyon' being a million seller though... since WHEN!? I thought it "underperformed" and was expecting it to be on about 600k in total laugh.gif


I think they combine the sales with Halcyon Days? That went to #1 over a year after its initial release. Kind of like they combine both Lights and Bright Lights (and The Fame/The Fame Monster etc).
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timjimlee
post Jul 11 2017, 08:33 AM
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A few from The Eighties:

Tears For Fears - Songs From The Big Chair
Duran Duran - Rio
Culture Club - Colour By Numbers
Adam And The Ants - Kings Of The Wild Frontier

Along with Madonna seems like the Eighties was a time when the second Album was a chance to build on a successful Debut Album and push for global success with the second.
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Rob
post Jul 11 2017, 03:00 PM
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Surely Kelly Clarkson is one of the best examples? Her debut peaked outside the Top 40 but Breakaway was a massively successful era and she basically spearheaded the pop-rock trend.
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Lenny
post Jul 11 2017, 03:03 PM
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Two that maintained their popularity with album number 2 are Lily Allen and Dido although both their 2nd albums have sold slightly less. Lily's first 2 albums have cleared 1m sales as well.
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No Sleeep
post Jul 11 2017, 03:04 PM
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TLC. Ooooooohhh on the TLC Tip didn't make the top 100 here, CrazySexyCool obviously did much better...
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soundseekerz
post Jul 12 2017, 04:35 AM
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Paolo Nutini with Sunny Side Up
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The Hit Parade
post Jul 12 2017, 10:44 AM
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The Bends by Radiohead is another one, even if it's a bit overshadowed by OK Computer now.
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post Jul 12 2017, 11:18 AM
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I think you could maybe add Robbie Williams to this list. His debut was eventually a huge success and shifted 2.4 Million whilst his follow up just out edged it on around 2.5/6. Not a big increase but he didn't suffer the slump, that came with his third album and even that wasn't by much.

Quite surprised Coldplay were overlooked actually. Parachutes was a huge success after Yellow and sold around the 2 million mark, but Rush Of Blood ended up selling almost three million units.

Can kind of see what is meant by Rhianna though, she would have had to have had an abysmal 2nd album not to out peak the first. I don't think you really can say someones beat the slump if they already have very low sales to begin with.
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Colm
post Jul 12 2017, 02:37 PM
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Oasis
There are records that ignore the "difficult second album" curse, and there are those that smash it to pieces. Oasis's Definitely Maybe was always going to be a rough act to follow, with two million copies sold, but (What's The Story) Morning Glory barely even broke a sweat. Four Top 3 singles, including Wonderwall and Number 1 Don't Look Back In Anger, and 10 weeks at the top of the Official Albums Chart, with 4.24 million copies sold. It is, as you can imagine, one of the biggest selling albums of all time.

DM had not sold 2 million by the time WTSMG was released.
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post Jul 12 2017, 07:18 PM
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Girls Aloud's second album sold more than their first (despite the lower peak!).
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Atonement
post Jul 12 2017, 07:22 PM
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QUOTE(Bjork @ Jul 11 2017, 08:49 AM) *
I see it differently but alas...

for me it means that your debut has been crazy successful but that's difficult to flow it up and you fail (Mika, Duffy,...)


Yeah, I thought that's what it meant as well.
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