Winehouse's back catalogue takes over the top 40


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The Independent Culture

Amy Winehouse looks set to join the ranks of the musical greats who have achieved posthumous chart success as fans rushed to buy her music following her death last weekend.

The demand for her back catalogue echoes the spike in sales seen after the deaths of Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and John Lennon.

The singer, who passed away aged 27 last Saturday, could have as many as seven singles in the top 40 this weekend, and her Grammy Award-winning 2006 album Back to Black is currently behind only Adele's best-selling 21 in the album chart.

A spokesperson for the Official Charts Company said yesterday that the battle for this week's number one spot was "close".

Back to Black has sold 37,000 copies in the United States in the past week and will re-enter the Billboard album chart in the top 10.

Figures released by the Official Charts Company show her song "Back to Black" is at number 5, with "Rehab", "Tears Dry On Their Own" and "Love Is A Losing Game" at 22, 24 and 26, respectively.

Two other songs, "You Know I'm No Good" and "Valerie", are at numbers 33 and 35, while a second version of "Valerie" recorded with Mark Ronson is set to chart at number 39.

Gennaro Castaldo, at the high street music retailer HMV, said: "We saw such a surge in demand for Amy's albums at the weekend that we pretty much sold out and had to reorder more copies, which have now just come in."

He said: "It repeats a pattern seen when other artists have died. Time and again, when someone passes away, you see a huge surge of interest in their current album, and also in other items in their catalogue."

Royalties from the surge in sales will be distributed among Winehouse's immediate family: her mother Janis, father Mitch and brother Alex, who were named as beneficiaries in the singer's will.

At the funeral for the 27-year-old, who battled with drink and drugs throughout her career, Mitch Winehouse announced plans to set up a foundation in her name to help people struggling with addiction.

"If you cannot afford a private rehabilitation clinic, there is a two-year waiting list for help," he said.

It is not yet clear whether money raised from record sales will go towards the foundation, but the proposal has already won the support of Keith Vaz MP, who has offered to help the foundation.

In his eulogy at Edgwarebury Cemetery in north London, Mr Winehouse said his daughter had "just completed three weeks of abstinence", adding that she told him: "Dad, I've had enough of drinking. I can't stand the look on your and the family's faces any more."

Posthumous Chart Toppers

*Michael Jackson's greatest hits album Number Ones rocketed to the top of the album charts shortly after his death in 2009. Four of his other hit albums also reappeared in the top 20, with Thriller, still the biggest-selling album of all time, racing from 179 to number 7.

*Elvis Presley still holds the record for having the most simultaneous top 40 albums, following a surge in sales after his sudden death. In a week in September 1977 Elvis had 12 albums in the Top 40.

*American singer Janis Joplin's album Pearl was released just months after her death, reaching number one in the US charts and becoming her most successful album. Like Amy Winehouse, Joplin was 27 when she died.

*John Lennon did not achieve any solo number one singles during his lifetime, but after his death in 1980 there was a frenzy of buying his singles, leading to a quick succession of chart-toppers, including '(Just Like) Starting Over' and 'Imagine'.

*After dying from asphyxiation in 1970, Jimi Hendrix scored his only chart-topping single with 'Voodoo Chile' two months later.