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Clean Bandit race to top of Britain’s music charts Springsteen pays tribute to Mandela at 1st African show

LONDON, Jan 27, (Agencies): British four-piece act Clean Bandit claimed their first ever singles chart number one on Sunday as their song “Rather Be” became the fastest selling track of the year so far, the Official Charts Company said. The group, who formed in 2009 while studying at Cambridge University, knocked US artist Pharrell Williams off the top spot, selling 163,000 copies in the last seven days. Pharrell’s “Happy” charted in second place while new entries from Vamps and Neon Jungle ranked in third and fourth place respectively. Former chart-topper “Timber” by Pitbull and Ke$ha completed the top five. Veteran American rocker Bruce Springsteen’s run at the top of the album charts lasted only one week as Ellie Goulding, the British singer-songwriter, reclaimed the number one berth with her album “Halcyon”. Fellow Briton Sophie Ellis Bextor was the only new entry to make the top five with her new record “Wanderlust”, which charted at number four.

Rocker Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band wowed fans on Sunday night opening their first concert in South Africa with a rousing tribute to the late Nelson Mandela. He kicked off the show in Cape Town with “Free Nelson Mandela”, a song written by British musician Jerry Dammers and made famous in the 1980s by The Specials later renamed The Special AKA. The track was released to protest against the imprisonment of Mandela by the apartheid regime. But it soon became the unofficial anthem for the international anti-apartheid movement that piled pressure on the then white minority regime in South Africa. Mandela died aged 95 on Dec 5 last year at his Johannesburg home. It was Springsteen and the E Street Band’s first performance in South Africa, nearly three decades after they took part in the famous Artists United Against Apartheid in 1985.

The Mandela song was a “nice surprise because it was a personal song for the audience. People were on their feet,” said one fan at the concert, who asked to remain anonymous. Earlier Springsteen told reporters that the country’s transformation to democracy “was a miracle” and that it was “very special to be here”. He and the E Street Band have three concerts slated for Cape Town and one billed for Johannesburg as they kick off a world tour that will take them to Australia and New Zealand next month.
“Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band performed to a sold out audience,” in the 10,000-seater Bellville Velodrome, said organiser Big Concerts’ spokeswoman Gwen Ironsi.

Rising income inequality in the United States and South Africa threatens to tear their societies apart, Springsteen said on Sunday. Riding high on the global charts with his latest album “High Hopes”, the musician stayed true to his New Jersey working class roots and socially conscious lyrics when answering media questions.

“There is a tremendous problem with income inequality in the States right now and it’s been increasing and increasing,” Springsteen said a few hours before his opening night performance in South Africa’s tourist capital Cape Town. “Initially it tears society apart and I don’t think society can make good when economic differences and economic inequalities are so widespread. It is a real problem in the United States and a big problem here too,” he said. A journalist had asked him whether things had got worse since 1988 when Springsteen famously compared “the systematic apartheid of South Africa” to “the economic apartheid of my own country,” during an appearance in ++neighbouring Zimbabwe.

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