UK boy band One Direction breaks Billboard record with debut album

Posted at 03/22/12 7:26 AM

LONDON/LOS ANGELES - British boy band One Direction has become the first UK group to debut at No. 1 in the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart, adding another victory in their whirlwind success story.

The band sold more than 176,000 copies of their debut album "Up All Night", making chart history in the United States, with the record soaring straight to the top of the digital charts within minutes of its official release on March 13th, a statement from the band's label Syco said on Wednesday.

One Direction's debut album knocked last week's chart topper, Bruce Springsteen's "Wrecking Ball," from No. 1 and came in ahead of Adele's Grammy-winning album "21," which remained at No. 2 with 148,000 copies sold last week.

The boy band came together on Britain's "The X Factor" television talent contest after judge Simon Cowell suggested they sing together as a band rather than on their own.

Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, all aged between 18 and 21, joined forces and became hot competition during the 2010 edition of "The X Factor," finishing in third place.

"When we got put together as a group, we couldn't imagine ourselves coming to America, let alone releasing our album here, so for us to be sitting at the top of the U.S. album charts is unbelievable," Horan said in a statement.

Over 10,000 fans turned up for the band's first live TV performance on the NBC's Today Show in New York.

The band have also racked up more than 204 million views on video website YouTube, have 12 million followers on Twitter and 3.6 million fans on Facebook.

"I couldn't be happier for One Direction, it is an incredible achievement," Cowell said.

One Direction's debut single "What Makes You Beautiful" won a BRIT Award in February and sold more than 131,000 copies in its first week. Their entry at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart also marked the highest singles debut from a British band since the Spice Girls' "Wannabe" in 1997.

"It's beyond a dream come true for us," fellow band member Styles said.

One Direction were signed to Cowell's Syco label in 2011 in partnership with Columbia Records in the United States.

Syco Entertainment is a music television, film and digital joint venture between Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment whose assets include The X Factor and Got Talent, as well as artists such as Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle, Il Divo, Cher Lloyd, One Direction & Labrinth.

One Direction's 2013 UK/Ireland Arena Tour sold out immediately with more dates needing to be added. An estimated 300,000 tickets were sold in the first day. One Direction's tour of Australia & New Zealand sold out in just three minutes.