Stormzy has beaten Sir Cliff Richard to land a third number one album after a nail-biting race to the top spot.
After Sir Cliff closed the gap midweek, Stormzy delivered a last-minute surge to reach the summit of the Official Albums Chart with his third studio record, This Is What I Mean, it was revealed on Friday evening.
The rapper, 29, previously reached the top spit with his 2017 debut Gang Signs and Prayer and 2019 LP Heavy is the Head.
Hitmaker: Stormzy, 29, has beaten Sir Cliff Richard, 82, to land a third number one album after a nail-biting race to the top spot
Martin Talbot, chief executive of the Official Charts Company said: ‘Everyone loves a tight No 1 race, and this week’s battle between Sir Cliff Richard and Stormzy has been an absolute classic, pitching two of our musical icons head-to-head.
‘We at Official Charts are of course delighted to congratulate Stormzy on his big win, but it is also only right to doff our chart cap to Sir Cliff too.
‘It takes two to make a classic chart race and that has certainly been the case this week. Great work, both!’
Competition: After Sir Cliff closed the gap midweek, Stormzy delivered a last-minute surge to reach the summit of the Official Albums Chart with his third studio record (Sir Cliff seen posing with Stormzy’s album This Is What I Mean)
Sir Cliff enjoyed a No 2 position with his latest record Christmas with Cliff.
His first dedicated Christmas release in 19 years since 2003’s Cliff at Christmas, the record secured the crooner a 47th Top 10 solo album.
It comes after Sir Cliff posed for a snap with Stormzy’s latest album on Wednesday amid their chart battle for the number one spot.
Chart success: The rapper previously reached the top spit with his 2017 debut Gang Signs and Prayer and 2019 LP Heavy is the Head (Stormzy pictured last month)
Born to perform: Stormzy is seen praying with his crew backstage at a gig for Hilton Honors members and individuals from The Down Syndrome Association and Make-A-Wish Foundation
The singer beamed while holding a copy of the rapper’s LP This Is What I Mean during a visit to Royal Berkshire Hotel, Ascot, with Cliff seeming unfazed by the competition.
The Mistletoe and Wine hitmaker previously admitted that he ‘didn’t know who Stormzy was’, before declaring ‘may the best man win’ amid their race to the top spot.
Sir Cliff looked as dashing as ever in the snap, sporting a patterned blazer over a navy shirt, which he wore with cream trousers.
Stormzy has already been on the promotional trail, signing copies of his album for eager fans.
On Tuesday, Sir Cliff discussed his competition during an interview on This Morning on Tuesday, saying: ‘I don’t know Stormzy.’
Chart battle: The Mistletoe and Wine hitmaker previously admitted that he ‘didn’t know who Stormzy was’, before declaring ‘may the best man win’ amid their race to the top
Putting the work in: Stormzy has already been on the promotional trail, signing copies of his album for eager fans
‘I’m going up against the most popular artist today, and I’m still able to compete. I’m really happy about it. I don’t know Stormzy. I should say “may the best man win but I won’t in case he does”.
When asked why he wanted to do a Christmas album, called Christmas With Cliff, now, he said: ‘This is the time to sell records. This is the right time. It felt right again. Christmas comes every year and you could become a bore.’
Christmas With Cliff will be issued in chart eligible ‘magazine format’, for the first time in his eight decade career.
Featuring the full 13 track CD and a 20-page magazine dedicated to the album and Sir Cliff’s love of Christmas, this unique chart eligible format brings albums back to supermarket shelves for the first time since they phased out CD’s from July 2021.
Released on East West Records the album features 13 Christmas classics and brand-new Christmas tracks from this British music legend synonymous for his love of Christmas.
As the only artist in the world to achieve top 5 albums in eight consecutive decades, Christmas With Cliff continues to see Sir Cliff as an industry trailblazer and his first ever magazine format features 20-pages of thoughts on the album from Cliff, lyrics, photos and a special dedication to fans.
Now celebrating his 82nd year, his passion has brought together an album of classics such as It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Sleigh Ride, Joy to the World, When a Child is Born, and many more in his own distinct style.
Popular man: Christmas With Cliff marks his first Christmas album in 19 years and will be been issued in chart eligible ‘magazine format’, for the first time in his eight decade career
Sir Cliff has said his faith has made saying Christmas songs easier, saying: ‘It’s made it easier to sing about my faith.
‘Most people don’t necessarily believe in Jesus or god but I read books. I don’t believe it, but I love it. So if you can allow yourself to love Christmas, great.
‘There is something about Christmas that can touch any heart – it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t believe.’
More to come: Released on East West Records the album features 13 Christmas classics and brand-new Christmas tracks
Sir Cliff is planning to go on an eight date tour next year.
He said: ‘I think the days of me going on tour for six months are over for me. It’s terrifying you’ll wake up and [have lost your voice]. Eight days is doable for me.
‘Every day I hear of someone doing a comeback and I think “they’ve run out of money”.’
Sir Cliff famously went shirtless for his last calendar and said: ‘Last year the calendar was shot on my iPhone by my friend’s niece in New York.
‘People said I wasn’t gonna take my top off. I did, I was in the flippin’ swimming pool.’
And reflecting on his career, Cliff said: ‘Nothing ever seemed to be possible in the early days.
‘We were written off as a one hit wonder. My feet haven’t touched the ground since. It’s been the most fantastic career.’
Special: Sir Cliff will appear on BBC Two and iPlayer over the festive season for Cliff at Christmas – a one-off show where he’ll perform some of his Christmas classics