Springsteen loses No. 1 to Military Wives Choir

Military Wives Choir single
A video still from the Military Wives Choir single, "Wherever You Are."

(CBS News) In the title track to his new album, "Wrecking Ball," Bruce Springsteen asks his would-be challenger to "take your best shot."

But nearly 40 years into his storied career, it's hard to imagine The Boss ever envisioned an amateur women's choir from the U.K., would deliver the knockout blow.

Pictures: Bruce Springsteen

This week, "In My Dreams," the debut album from the Military Wives Choir went to No. 1 on the British album charts, sending the veteran American rock star from the top spot after only one week.

Hardly a household name in the U.S., the group, formed by a U.K. TV show, is more than familiar to British music fans. "Wherever You Are" was the country's best-selling holiday season single last year. They performed for the royal family, and a TV audience of millions, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity along the way.

That an act like Springsteen can fall prey to what might seem like the latest in a long line of charity songs, is, according to journalist and author Andrew Mueller, a sign of a wider trend.

Mueller said, "They are the current of pop music, that's what it's like. It's based in television programs, it's based in the creation of a back story that people can buy into, rather than the actual music."

According to Mueller, Springsteen and his 21 Grammys should rest easy.

"The Springsteen album is part of a great artist's canon," Mueller said. "It's going to be listened to and talked about for years. The Military Wives record, like all charity records, is a record to be bought, rather than listened to."

But for the makeshift choir, success is measured by more than just record sales. Making music provides a welcome distraction for those with loved ones in harm's way.

Sam Stevenson, a member of the choir, said, "I think, you know, when he first left for Afghanistan, because you -- you just don't know that - that could literally be the last time I see my husband, the children see their dad, and you can't even contemplate the worst-case scenario, but saying goodbye, that has to be the worst thing I've ever been through."

That sense of sacrifice, and family ties, should resonate with Springsteen's own "man of the people" persona.

"It's very easy to imagine him thinking, 'Well, if I'm going to be knocked off the charts after a week, fine, if it's by this, fine. This is a worthy project and clearly well-intentioned, put together by good people, OK, fine.'"

With talk of a return to the U.K. for a series of summer concerts, this week's fall should be a distant memory, as The Boss is back on top of the bill.