Stephen Gately: died last month

SALES?of Boyzone records have shot through the roof in the wake of Stephen Gately's death, with the band now entering a fourth consecutive week in the Irish top 10.

Since the singer's untimely demise at his Mallorca home last month, the band's greatest hits album Back Again – No Matter What has continued to fly off the shelves.

Chainstore HMV has had to order additional stock to keep up with demand.

In the week following Gately's death, the album appeared from nowhere, entering the charts at number eight and jumping to number four a week later. By last Thursday evening it had placed at seven.

While the exact level of record sales is un­known, the surge is thought to be a reflection of fans' grief.

And it's not an unusual phenomenon – sales mushroomed for other artists following their deaths, including Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

Neither the record company nor the band's management would comment on the increase but sources close to Boyzone have hinted at ongoing discussions relating to future charitable causes.

In response to the massive sales boost, HMV Grafton Street's manager Gary Roche said that Boyzone records are now very likely to feature as popular Christmas gifts.

"Whenever any major artist dies our stores tend to see a huge surge of interest from fans and the wider public," he said.

"While Boyzone may not have shaped popular culture in quite the same way [as major international artists], Ireland took the band to their hearts from the very first moment so the emotional response we have seen from Stephen's very sad and untimely death is entirely understandable.

"People have been coming in for the band's albums so we've had to order more copies to cater to demand."

HMV have predicted that the greatest hits album will remain in the top 20 in the run up to Christmas.