Pop icon Sir Elton John has scored his eighth UK number one album with his Covid-enforced surprise album The Lockdown Sessions.
Recorded when his farewell tour was postponed by the pandemic, the record features collaborations with Dua Lipa, Stevie Nicks, Gorillaz and Lil Nas X.
Many duets took place over Zoom, while others took place in the studio under stringent safety regulations.
Sir Elton said he ended up singing with artists “separated by glass screens”.
The album cover even sees the star wearing a bejewelled Elton John face-mask.
Sir Elton, 74, said he enjoyed the experience of being forced “out of his comfort zone” and working with unexpected collaborators.
“I realised there was something weirdly familiar about working like this,” he said in a statement announcing the album.
“At the start of my career, in the late ’60s, I worked as a session musician. Working with different artists during lockdown reminded me of that.
“I’d come full circle: I was a session musician again. And it was still a blast.”
The album was preceded by the Dua Lipa track Cold Heart (Pnau Remix), a mash-up of Sir Elton’s hits Rocket Man, Sacrifice, Kiss the Bride and the 1976 album track Where’s the Shoorah?
The single hit number one two weeks ago, making Sir Elton the first artist to top the UK singles chart in six separate decades.
It also propelled the album to success, beating new records by Lana Del Rey, Duran Duran and Biffy Clyro to claim the top spot with 31,000 sales.
Del Rey took second place with Blue Banisters, her second album of the year. With better reviews than its companion piece Chemtrails Over the Country Club, the record was the week’s top-seller on vinyl.
Duran Duran’s Future Past entered the chart at three, making it the band’s highest-charting album since 2004’s Astronaut, while Biffy Clyro’s The Myth of Happily Ever After debuted at four.
Last week’s number one, Music of the Spheres by Coldplay, dropped to number five.
In the singles chart, Adele reigned supreme for a second week with her post-divorce anthem Easy On Me racking up an impressive 103,000 sales.
That’s roughly half of its first week tally, when the song broke streaming records by being played 24 million times in just seven days.
Elton John and Dua Lipa were at number two with Cold Heart, followed by Ed Sheeran’s Shivers at three and TikTok smash Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah), by Nigerian artist Ckay, at four.
Glass Animals’ sleeper hit Heat Waves rose back up to number five, equalling its previous highest position on the charts exactly a year after it was released.
Next week’s chart is likely to see another shake-up, as Ed Sheeran’s fourth album = aims for the top. Streams of the album are likely to propel old singles and new favourites into the Top 40 next Friday.
The singer has set his sights on another Christmas number one, with a festive duet featuring Sir Elton John.