If I asked you to name the only group or duo to amass four #1 albums in this decade, I bet most of you would think of a rock powerhouse such as the Dave Matthews Band or Linkin Park. Both would be good guesses, but the correct answer is Rascal Flatts, which this week racks up its fourth #1 album. The country trio first topped The Billboard 200 in 2004 with Feels Like Today and has returned to the top spot with Me And My Gang, Still Feels Good and now Unstoppable. Five rock groups are tied for second place with three #1 albums each since January 2000. The Dave Matthews Band and Linkin Park are among them, as are Staind, System Of A Down and Disturbed. This shows the tremendous growth that country music has made in the past 20 years. Alabama, the hottest country group of the '80s, never climbed above #10 on the weekly "pop" chart. The Statler Brothers, the top country group of the '60s, never even made the top 100. Rascal Flatts sets another record this week, becoming the first countryRead More »from Week Ending April 12, 2009: Breaking Records With Rascal Flatts
Blog Posts by Paul Grein
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Apr 15, 2009 9:39 AM EDT
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Apr 8, 2009 9:25 AM EDT
Who would you say has amassed more top 10 albums, Prince or his one-time arch-rival, Michael Jackson? As of this week, the answer is Prince, and that's true even when you give Michael credit for albums he recorded with his brothers. LotusFlow3r, which enters The Billboard 200 at #2, is Prince's 14th top 10 album. Jackson has notched 13--seven on his own and six with the Jackson 5, later known as the Jacksons. Though Prince and Jackson have been considered rivals since the early '80s, Prince owes a big debt to Jackson's trailblazing. 1999 was released five weeks before Thriller, but it hit the top 10 only after Thriller had clocked a few months at #1--and, significantly, only after Jackson's mega-hits "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" broke down MTV's resistance to playing videos by black artists. 1999 ultimately logged 11 weeks in the top 10, no match for Thriller's 78 weeks, but enough to establish Prince as a star. Prince's follow-up, Purple Rain did far better than it would have hadRead More »from Week Ending April 5, 2009: A Prince Beats A King (Of Pop)
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Fri, Apr 3, 2009 9:35 AM EDT
Pearl Jam's debut album, Ten, jumps to #1 on this week's Catalog Albums chart, thanks to the release of a 2-CD "Legacy Edition." Ten helped to set the course of rock in the '90s, with such tracks as "Jeremy" and "Alive." In addition, the album was a commercial powerhouse. It has sold 9,662,000 copies since its release in late 1991, which makes it the 19th best-selling album since Nielsen/SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard that same year. Yet, despite amassing an impressive 35 weeks in the top 10, Ten never reached #1. How can it be that such a classic, massive-selling album failed to top the chart? It logged four weeks at #2 in August-September 1992 behind Billy Ray Cyrus' Some Gave All, the album that gave us "Achy Breaky Heart." Ten is far from the only classic and/or hugely popular album that stalled at #2.
Shania Twain's Come On Over is the best-selling album of the Nielsen/SoundScan era, with sales of 15,478,000. The album logged 54 weeks in the top 10. Eight songs fromRead More »from Chart Watch Extra: You Won’t Believe These Albums Stalled At #2
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Tue, Mar 31, 2009 8:58 PM EDT
Miley Cyrus' Hannah: The Movie had first-week sales of 139,000 copies, which is less than half of what the two Hannah TV soundtracks rang up in their first weeks (281,000 and 326,000, respectively). The soundtrack to High School Musical 3: Senior Year, which debuted at #2 in October, also sold more than twice as many copies (297,000) in its first week as the Hannah: The Movie soundtrack. The not-so-hot start for the Hannah soundtrack is perplexing because Cyrus' ballad "The Climb" has been in the top five on Hot Digital Songs for its entire four-week run. So what's the hitch? The soundtrack was released two weeks in advance of the movie, which is due in theaters on April 10. (By contrast, the HSM3 soundtrack was released the same week as the movie.) The soundtrack to Cyrus' last theatrical movie, The Best Of Both Worlds Concert, debuted at #10 in March 2008 and peaked at #3 in its sixth week (after the movie had opened). So it's possible that Hannah: The Movie will move up to #1 inRead More »from Week Ending March 29, 2009: “The Climb” Is Harder Than Expected
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Mar 25, 2009 9:16 AM EDT
Though album sales are down in general, there are still success stories out there. This week, let's zero in on three of them to see what lessons they may hold. The Twilight rebounds from #14 to #3 on the Billboard 200, after the release of a new deluxe edition, which includes five bonus tracks and a DVD with interviews and music videos. (The sales tallies for the standard and deluxe editions are combined.) The release of the Twilight DVD, which reportedly sold 3 million copies on its first day of release, also revived interest in the soundtrack. This is the album's 13th week in the top 10. That's the longest run in the top 10 for a theatrical movie soundtrack since the Eminem--dominated 8 Mile had 14 weeks in the top 10 in 2002. Twilight has remained in the top 20 for its entire 20-week chart run. It's been the #1 movie soundtrack for 17 of those weeks. This week, its sales top 1.5 million copies. Why it's a hit: Stephenie Meyer's series of books have a strong, cult-like following. TheRead More »from Week Ending March 22, 2009: Winning Despite The Odds
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Fri, Mar 20, 2009 4:30 AM EDT
When Kelly Clarkson sold 255,000 copies of All I Ever Wanted in the week that ended Sunday night, she lengthened her lead as the American Idol alumnus who has sold the most albums. This brings her career total to 9,836,000 albums. Still, it's probably just a matter of time until Carrie Underwood overtakes her. Underwood, the Season 4 champ, has already sold 9,408,000 albums. These two women are the only Idol alums who rank among the top 200 album sellers of the Nielsen/SoundScan era (which began in 1991). Clarkson is #187 on the list. Underwood ranks #198. In all, eight Idol contestants have sold 1 million or more albums so far in their careers. Fifteen have sold 500,000 or more.
The best-selling individual album by an Idol alum is Underwood's Some Hearts, which has sold 6,720,000 copies since its release in November 2005. It edges out Clarkson's Breakaway, which has sold 6,056,000 copies. (Oddly, neither album made #1 on The Billboard 200. Some Hearts peaked at #2. Breakaway reachedRead More »from Chart Watch Extra: The American Idol Alumni Association
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Mar 18, 2009 9:05 AM EDT
Kelly Clarkson's All I Ever Wanted enters The Billboard 200 at #1 with first-week sales of 255,000. It's her second #1 album, following her 2003 debut, Thankful. Clarkson is the first American Idol alumnus to notch two #1 albums. Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Daughtry and Carrie Underwood have each had one. Six weeks ago, Clarkson became the first Idol alum to amass two #1 singles on the Hot 100. She topped the chart in 2002 with "A Moment Like This" and returned to the top spot with the fizzy "My Life Would Suck Without You." Aiken, Fantasia, Underwood and Taylor Hicks have each topped the Hot 100 once. If Clarkson were a candidate for office, you'd say that she has broad voter appeal. She has the support of pop radio and the record-buying public. Even music critics, who are often dismissive of mainstream pop artists, tend to be in Kelly's corner.
Clarkson has sold 9,836,000 albums, as of this week, more than any other contestant in Idol history. She ranks #187 on Nielsen/SoundScan'sRead More »from Week Ending March 15, 2009: The Idol With The Most
U2, it seemed, was everywhere last week hawking its new album, No Line On The Horizon. All that work pays off as the album enters the Billboard 200 at #1, with first-week sales of 484,000. This is the biggest weekly sales tally so far in 2009. It's more than twice that of the previous record-holder for the year, Bruce Springsteen's Working On A Dream, which opened with sales of 224,000 five weeks ago. In fact, U2 sold more copies in one week than Springsteen has sold in his entire six-week run (459,000). After just one week, No Line is #3 for the year-to-date, trailing a couple of 2008 holdovers, Taylor Swift's Fearless and Beyonce's I Am...Sasha Fierce. No Line registered the biggest weekly sales total in the first quarter, when sales are usually slow, since 2005, when 50 Cent's The Massacre sold 1,912,000 copies in its first two weeks. Here's my most amazing stat: The sales tally for No Line On The Horizon is greater than those of the next 17 albums on this week's chart, combined.Read More »from Week Ending March 8, 2009: U2′s Hustle Pays Off
Slumdog Millionaire this week joins a very exclusive club. It becomes only the 16th movie to both win an Academy Award for Best Picture and generate a top 10 soundtrack album. The Oscar, especially the coveted prize for Best Picture, is one of the most universally recognized marks of success in entertainment. So is the Billboard 200 album chart, especially the much-reprinted top 10. It's not easy to come out on top in either of these worlds. To triumph in both of them is so hard that it has happened just 16 times in the 64 years since Billboard introduced its album chart.
The list of films that have won the Oscar for Best Picture and spawned a top 10 soundtrack includes both "little movies" such as Rocky and Chariots Of Fire and big, screen-filling epics such as Titanic and Lawrence Of Arabia. It includes six musicals (most recently, Chicago) and one movie filled with iconic oldies (Forrest Gump). Four of the soundtracks (Titanic, Chariots Of Fire, Rocky and Going My Way) spun off #1Read More »from Chart Watch Extra: Slumdog Joins Exclusive Club
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Mar 4, 2009 9:02 AM EST
Jonas Brothers have this week's #2 movie and #3 album. There are worse fates for an act that was largely unknown two years ago, but the brothers' management team and the Disney empire can't be thrilled about the numbers behind the numbers. Music From The 3D Concert Experience enters the Billboard 200 at #3. It sold 50,000 copies in its first week, less than one-tenth of what the brothers' last album, A Little Bit Longer, sold (525,000) when it debuted at #1 in August. It didn't even match what Jonas Brothers sold (69,000) in its first week in August 2007, when the brothers were just stepping up to stardom. The movie grossed $12.5 million, less than half of what Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana's Best Of Both Worlds Concert movie grossed ($31.1 million) in its opening weekend a year ago. And JoBros' movie was in far more theaters (1,271) than Cyrus' (683). The math whizzes at Boxofficemojo.com crunched the numbers and found that the per-theater average was $9,843 for JoBros' movie and $45,561Read More »from Week Ending March 1, 2009: They’re Not Exactly “Burnin’ Up”
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