In addition, Tuskegee enters Top Country Albums at #1. Richie is only the fourth African American artist to top that chart, following Charley Pride, who amassed 12 #1 country albums between 1968 and 1980; Ray Charles, who topped the country chart in 1985 with Friendship, which was also a collection of duets; and Darius Rucker, who has had two #1 country albums, in 2008 and 2010.
Incidentally, this isn't Richie's first appearance on Top Country Albums. Can't Slow Down reached #55 in 1984, when one of its key hits, "Stuck On You," reached #24 on Hot Country Songs.
Finally, Tuskegee is Richie's fifth top 10 album on The Billboard 200 as a solo artist, which equals the number he had as the lead singer of Commodores.
MDNA also becomes Madonna's 20th album to make the top 10. The only female artist with more is, you guessed it, Streisand with 31.
MDNA sold 359K copies this week, which is the biggest opening week for an album by female artist since Lady Gaga's Born This Way powered on with sales of more than 1 million in May. It's Madonna's best sales week since Music arrived with sales of 420K in 2000. Madonna's tally was inflated by a promotion involving her upcoming world tour. U.S. fans who bought a concert ticket were given a code which could be redeemed for either a physical or digital copy of MDNA. This same policy boosted the debut of Bon Jovi's Lost Highway, which opened at #1 in July 2007, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' Mojo, which bowed at #2 in June 2010.
Billboard's editorial director Bill Werde quotes "trusted sources" who say that about 185K of Madonna's total came from the concert ticket tie-in. If you take these sales out of Madonna's total, her tally drops to 174K and Richie wins the week. But, as Werde points out, it's not really fair to take them out. These concert-goers are avid Madonna fans. Many would have bought the album anyway. Even so, expect a larger-than-usual drop next week. The album will probably fall out of the top five.
MDNA also enters the U.K. chart at #1. It's Madonna's 12th album to reach #1 in that country, which enables her to surpass Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most #1 U.K. albums. It's Madonna's eighth album to reach #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. This puts her in a tie for second place with Bruce Springsteen, who notched his eighth "transatlantic #1" just three weeks ago. The Beatles are out front with 10 albums that hit #1 in both countries.
Greatest hits albums by Richie and Madonna re-enter this week's chart. Richie's The Definitive Collection (from 2003) re-enters at #100. Madonna's Celebration (from 2009) re-enters at #177.
Madonna and Richie both had #1 albums in 1986. So, remarkably, did two other artists who are listed in this week's top 15: Bruce Springsteen, who falls to #9, and Whitney Houston, who drops to #12.
Three weeks ago, Adele moved into some choice real estate: Nielsen SoundScan's running list of the 200 best-selling album artists in its history. To join the list, artists must have sold (as of this week) 10,241,000 albums since the company began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991. Adele has done that with just two studio albums and two iTunes releases.
The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 And Beyond soundtrack drops from #1 to #5 in its second week. It's #1 on Top Soundtracks for the second week. The movie was #1 at the box-office for the second weekend. An album featuring James Newton Howard's original score debuts at #43.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
1. Madonna, MDNA, 359,000. This new entry is Madonna's 20th top 10 album. The album sold 124K digital copies, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Give Me All Your Luvin" (featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) rebounds from #119 to #83. "Girl Gone Wild" re-enters at #120.
2. Lionel Richie, Tuskegee, 199,000. This new entry is Richie's 10th top 10 album (counting five albums with Commodores). "You Are," a duet with Blake Shelton, bows at #160.
3. Adele, 21, 121,000. The former #1 album dips from #2 to #3. This is its 58th week in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Set Fire To The Rain," which drops from #15 to #20.
4. Shinedown, Amaryllis, 106,000. This new entry is Shinedown's second top 10 album. The Sound Of Madness hit #8 in 2008. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Bully" drops from #94 to #149. "I'll Follow You" debuts at #174.
5. Various Artists, The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 And Beyond, soundtrack, 64,000. The former #1 album drops to #5 in its second week. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by Taylor Swift's "Eyes Open," which drops from #4 to #13.
6. One Direction, Up All Night, 46,000. The former #1 album drops from #4 to #6 its third week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "What Makes You Beautiful" jumps from #7 to #5. "One Thing" jumps from #83 to #77.
7. Katy Perry, Teenage Dream, 33,000. The former #1 album leaps from #31 to #7 in its 84th week. Five songs from the expanded version of the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Part Of Me," which rebounds from #11 to #10.
8. The Used, Vulnerable, 32,000. This new entry is the band's fourth top 10 album. No songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. As a result, next week it may be Vulnerable to dropping out of the top 10.
9. Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball, 28,000. The former #1 album drops from #6 to #9 in its fourth week. The album has sold 320K copies. No songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, yet it has spent a month in the top 10. Being a legend has its privileges.
10. Various Artists, Now 41, 25,000. The album drops from #8 to #10 in its eighth week. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. The album has sold 573K copies.
Five albums drop out of the top 10 this week. The Shins' Port Of Morrow drops from #3 to #14, Odd Future's The OF Tape Vol. 2 drops from #5 to #36, Melanie Fiona's The MF Life drops from #7 to #22. Whitney Houston's Whitney: The Greatest Hits drops from #6 to 12. Esperanza Spalding's Radio Music Society drops from #10 to #30. Houston's album is #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the seventh time in the past eight weeks.
Rapper E-40 enters the chart with three separate volumes of The Block Brochure: Welcome To The Soil. Vol. 1 opens at #59, Vol. 2 at #58 and Vol. 3 at #71. In addition, an edition which combines the three volumes bows at #44. E-40 first charted in October 1993. He reached the top 10 with 1996's The Hall Of Game and 2006's My Ghetto Report Card.
link. I also wrote a sidebar column on other pop music hit-makers from the 1940s and early '50s who are still alive and kicking. (I'm referring here to Day, not Streisand!) Tony Bennett's on the list, of course, and so are Patti Page and Pete Seeger. But who knew that Tony Martin, 98, was still living? Here's a link to that one.
------------------------------------------http://flickr.com/groups/MDNA. The contest runs through April 23 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Go here to upload your photo and enter to win VIP Madonna tickets now!
- Lionel Richie