I would rather buy the album first and then get my results. It's a matter of getting the good news before the bad

GCSE day of joy and tears, but for others there's a more important thing called Oasis
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It was a question of getting your priorities right. Exam results could wait, but the Brothers Gallagher, apparently, could not.

Outside HMV in Guildford, Surrey, 16-year-old Sophie Harding, was among the crowd of yawning youngsters which had opted to queue for the new Oasis album yesterday morning, rather than rushing off to collect GCSE results. "The launch of the new Oasis album is more important to me than my GCSEs - Oasis come first in everything," she said.

Another teenager, who had joined the line at 7.30am, summed up the feelings of many, saying: "I'd rather buy the album first and then get my results. The good news before the bad."

One step ahead, Brendan Carey, 16, got up at 6.30am to get to Virgin in Wimbledon in time to be amongst the first to buy the album. "I love Oasis. I can play all their songs on my guitar. I revised to Oasis, so they are obviously more important than my results."

Jonathan Duffy observed wryly: "I've waited 22 months for the new album, and only 2 months for the results." Paul Murrell, 16, said: "It means more to me than anything. I don't care about my results - this is more important, I'm really excited and I'm going home to play it right now."

Luke, 16, admitted his reasons for being first in line were of a more practical nature. "I need cheering up in case my results are bad." And Nim Ilakavon said: "I'm here to escape pressure from my parents over exam results. It doesn't mean it's more important - it's just something you've got to do."

Tom Ellis, another GCSE student, said: `It's more important than anything. I mean, I wouldn't get up this early in the morning for anything else."

In the City, lawyers and bankers proved to be similarly committed, although the demands of work meant that many offices selected one unlucky person to queue for the album and buy in bulk.

Steve Brett, the manager of Virgin Bishopsgate, in the heart of the Square Mile, said: "Both Bishopsgate and Poultry stores sold 500 albums in the first hour - unheard of by City standards."

A spokesman for HMV predicted that it would have sold 50,000 copies by the end of the first day. Estimates for the weekend are as high as 500,000 copies nationwide, making it the fastest-selling UK album ever.

Kate Waterfall, of Virgin, said: "If we had closed our doors at 9am, the album would still have been the biggest seller this week. Stores across the UK and Ireland sold on average 9,000 copies an hour all day. A few stores have even sold out on the first day, which has never happened before."

The biggest-seller in its first week in the UK was Thriller, by Michael Jackson, at 375,000, while Oasis' last album, (What's The Story) Morning Glory sold 370,000 in its first week.

"Be Here Now will definitely beat that," said Ms Waterfall.