Viola Beach’s album claims Number 1: “That fateful night in Sweden will not now define their lives”

The band's posthumous record debuts at Number 1 as fans pay tribute.

Viola Beach's debut album has entered at Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart, as fans pay tribute to the band this week.

In February this year, the four members of the Warrington band and their manager were tragically killed when their car fell from a highway bridge into a canal in Stockholm.

In memory of vocalist Kris Leonard, guitarist River Reeves, bassist Tomas Lowe, drummer Jack Dakin and their manager Craig Tarry, the families and friends of the group have released the band’s self-titled collection – and today it officially claims the top spot.

The families of the band and their manager said in a statement:

“The tragedy that ended Craig, Jack, Kris, River & Tom's lives in Sweden and the pain and sense of loss will never leave us. By sending the Viola Beach album to Number 1 the public have sent out an important message to the world.

“The tragic circumstance that met Viola Beach and their manager Craig that fateful night in Sweden will not now define their lives. What will now define their lives and what they will be remembered for, forever, is the music they were so passionate about making together.

“For that, we will be eternally humbled and ever thankful to every single person who by buying this glorious album has invested in their lasting musical legacy. The pain will never leave us but neither will the affection shown by every fan. Maybe one day that affection will live longer in the memory than the pain.

So from us all, a simple but heartfelt 'thank you’.”

Five specially commissioned bespoke printed Official Number 1 Album Awards, recognising the Number 1 achievement of each band member of Viola Beach and manager Craig, from left to right: Jack Dakin, Kris Leonard, Tomas Lowe, River Reeves, Craig Tarry.

Martin Talbot, Chief Executive, Official Charts Company, said: “It is hard to think of an album which more people were rooting for than the Viola Beach release – nor a success which has felt so bitter-sweet. We (and the wider music community) are delighted that it has taken the number 1 spot – but it is an awful tragedy that Jack, Kris, River, Tomas and Craig are not here to see themselves take a place in the annals of British music.”

Viola Beach’s album features nine songs, including the track Swings and Waterslides, which entered the Official Singles Chart at Number 11 following the news of their untimely deaths.

Since then, a number of acts have paid tribute to the band, including Coldplay’s performance of their track Boys That Sing during their headline slot at Glastonbury in June.  

Meanwhile, rounding out the Top 5 are last week’s Number 1 from ELO, All Over The World (2), Christine and The Queens' Chaleur Humaine at 3, Drake's Views at 4 and Adele’s 25 at 5.

MORE: See this week's Top 100 Official Albums Chart in full

New entries and high climbers

Elsewhere in this week’s Top 10, it’s ninth time lucky for DJ Khaled as the producer’s ninth studio album Major Key becomes his first UK Top 40 album, landing at Number 7, and Beyonce’s Lemonade rebounds four places to 10.   

Funk singer Nao's debut album For All We Know is brand new at Number 17, and Canadian band Billy Talent debut at 23 with their fifth record Afraid Of Heights.

Finally, legendary electronic producer Chicane earns his fifth Top 40 album today with his new compilation Twenty, bowing at Number 40.  

See this week's Top 100 Official Albums Chart in full

Remind yourself of every Official Number 1 album of 2016 below:

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The main tragedy will always be that they died in a shocking accident at such young ages, but it is a shame that we'll never know how well their career could have gone. 'Swings And Waterslides', 'Boys That Sing' and 'Cherry Vimto' are great songs! At least they have been released in some form though, and I think they will have wanted to leave their music as their legacy. I think its a very nice gesture for the make those awards, as it was for Coldplay to perform 'Boys That Sing' at Glastonbury.


Brian Quinn


The pop charts have now become too political for my liking. The Viola Beach episode was a tragedy but why do record companies have to make money out of this. Further, I am of the opinion that when a famous artist dies their back catalogue should not be included in the current pop charts. This skews the charts and makes it unfair, particularly on newer artists who are about to release their records.




So an album of brand-new material shouldn't be considered "current"? Which chart would you list it on?
And how do you define a "famous artist"? I am not sure I would have counted Viola Beach as a "famous artist".

But why should their music remain unreleased because of an awful and unnecessary tragedy? Should their fans be denied the opportunity to hear the album, or their family not have the small comfort of seeing their sons'/brothers'/cousins' memory so honoured and music cherished?

In the old physical-product days, there were multiple chart exclusion rules in force, predominantly for the singles chart, though. This had the effect of "skewing" the chart; the chart was then not an accurate reflection of what the general public was buying.

I can accept the argument that compilation albums be excluded from the main album listing - as was eventually done in the early 1980s - but it is not as if there is a weekly influx of albums from "dead stars" that are "skewing the charts" and "making it unfair" for newer artists.

(The irony is that Viola Beach themselves were "newer artists who were about to release their (first) record).