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Michael Jackson tops British music charts

London — Michael Jackson shot to the top of the British album charts and saw five of his singles enter the top 40 on Sunday after fans rushed to buy the king of pop’s material following his death.

The album "Number Ones," featuring many of Jackson’s biggest hits, jumped from 121 in the charts last week to reach number one, the singer’s first since the same album was first released in 2003.

"Thriller", the biggest selling album of all time, surged from 179th place to number seven, while compilation album "King of Pop" reached 14, "Off the Wall" got to 17 and "The Essential Michael Jackson" got to number 20.

Demand for Jackson’s singles also shot up following his death Thursday, although retailers said the extent of his back catalogue meant no one song stood out.

"Man in the Mirror" re-entered the charts at number 11, "Billie Jean" got to 25, "Smooth Criminal" to 28, "Beat It" to 30 and "Earth Song" to 38.

"There’s been huge demand for Michael’s recordings over the past few days, so it’s really no surprise that ‘Number Ones’ has gone to the top of the official UK album charts, which pretty much has all his greatest hits on," said Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman for music retailer HMV.

He said HMV had experienced an 80-fold increase in demand for Jackson’s music "almost overnight" after the singer’s death — the biggest one-day rise in sales seen for any artists, including Elvis Presley and John Lennon.

Britain was to host Jackson’s comeback concerts starting next month.