It's not everyday that a 71-year old song appears on a top 20 album. It's even more remarkable when the same 71-year old song appears on two albums that crack the top 20 the same week. "Over The Rainbow" is featured on Jeff Beck's Emotion & Commotion, which enters The Billboard 200 at #11, and on the expanded version of the eponymous debut album by Jason Castro, which bows at #18.
Castro's rendition of the Oscar-winning classic is also listed on Hot Digital Songs this week, as is a 1993 recording of the song by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. That recording, which couples "Over The Rainbow" with another standard, Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World," has sold an impressive 2,288,000 digital copies.
Dozens of artists have recorded "Over The Rainbow" since Judy Garland introduced it in the 1939 classic The Wizard Of Oz. The list includes Ray Charles, Patti LaBelle, Willie Nelson, Barbra Streisand, Placido Domingo, Tony Bennett, Tori Amos and Eva Cassidy. And the song remains active. In just the past decade, it has been covered by such artists as Eric Clapton, Martina McBride, Il Divo, Katharine McPhee, Carly Simon, Melody Gardot and Rufus Wainwright.
Why has "Over The Rainbow" lived on to such a degree? First of all, the song, by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, is among the finest ever written. Also, the movie has made it a part of everyone's childhood memories. In our increasingly fragmented pop culture, there are fewer works that are utterly universal. This is one of them.
Atlanta rapper Bobby Ray Simmons, better known by his stage name B.o.B, has two songs in the top 15 on this week's Hot 100. "Nothin' On You" (featuring Bruno Mars) jumps to #1. "Airplanes" (featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore) debuts at #12. "Nothin' On You" also jumps to #1 on Hot Digital Songs. "Airplanes" bows at #5. "Nothin' On You" sold 184,000 digital copies this week, bringing its 12-week total to 1,387,000. "Airplanes" sold 138,000 digital copies in its first week. All of this bodes well for the 21-year-old's debut album, B.o.B Presents The Adventures Of Bobby Ray, which is set for release next week. The album was originally going to be released on May 25, but the date was pushed up because of the huge success of "Nothin' On You."
That song blends a gorgeous pop melody with a harder-edged rap element. The combination gives the record extremely broad demographic appeal. The smash is likely to receive a Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Sung Performance. (That will be a highly competitive category this year. The instant-anthem "Empire State Of Mind," by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, is also expected to be in the running.)
Justin Bieber's My World 2.0 tops The Billboard 200 for the third time. This ties Bobby Brown's Don't Be Cruel for the longest run at #1 by a male teen solo act in chart history. (Brown's album logged three additional weeks at #1 after the R&B star turned 20 on Feb. 5, 1989.)
This is the fourth straight week that My World 2.0 and Bieber's earlier My World EP have appeared in the top 10 together. The two titles have sold a combined total of exactly 2 million copies. On the down side, My World 2.0 holds the top spot with sales of just 92,000 this week. This marks the first time that the best-selling album in the country has sold this modestly since Chrisette Michele's Epiphany debuted at #1 in May with sales of 83,000.
MGMT's sophomore album, Congratulations, enters The Billboard 200 at #2. This represents a big improvement over MGMT's debut album, Oracular Spectacular, which peaked at #38. The new album sold 66,000 copies this week, nearly four times as many as Oracular Spectacular sold in its best week (17,000). That album, which yielded the hits "Kids" and "Time To Pretend," has sold 607,000 copies to date. It's #2 on this week's Catalog Albums chart.
MGMT received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in December, but lost to Zac Brown Band. The alternative act isn't the only Best New Artist "loser" in this week's top five. Lady Antebellum, which rebounds from #4 to #3 this week, was nominated for the award a year ago, but lost to Adele. (Losing, clearly, is not the end of the world.)
Lady Antebellum's Need You Now logs its 12th straight week in the top five. It's the first album from any genre to spend its first 12 weeks in the top five since Taylor Swift's Fearless, which spent its first 18 weeks in the top five in 2008-2009. Both of these albums also spent their first 12 weeks at #1 on Top Country Albums. But Fearless faltered in its 13th week, losing the #1 country slot to Dierks Bentley. Will Lady A top Swift's mark? Find out next week.
Coheed and Cambria's Year Of The Black Rainbow opens at #5. This is the hard rock band's third consecutive top 10 album, but its first to reach the top five. Incidentally, this is the fifth time that an album declaring this to be the year of this or that has cracked the top five. Al Stewart's Year Of The Cat hit #5 in 1977, Cold's Year Of The Spider hit #3 in 2003, DMX's Year Of The Dog...Again reached #2 in 2006 and Ne-Yo's Year Of The Gentleman hit #2 in 2008.
Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" slips to #2 on Hot Digital Songs after three weeks on top. The song tops the 3 million mark in paid downloads this week. It has sold more than 12 times as many copies as the group's album, Save Me San Francisco, which has sold 241,000 copies. That album has yet to equal the sales (278,000) of the group's 2006 album, For Me, It's You, which produced no Hot 100 hits. Train's first three studio albums all sold more than 1 million copies in the U.S. Its 2001 album Drops Of Jupiter, which featured the top five smash "Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)," has sold 2,610,000 copies.
Usher's "OMG" (featuring will.i.am) jumps from #7 to #6 on Hot Digital Songs. It also jumps to #1 in the U.K. this week. It's the fourth British #1 for Usher; the fifth for will.i.am. Usher previously topped the U.K. chart with "You Make Me Wanna...," "Burn" and "Yeah" (featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris).Will.i.am previously scored with four Black Eyed Peas hits, "Where Is The Love?" (featuring Justin Timberlake), "Boom Boom Pow," "I Gotta Feeling" and "Meet Me Halfway."
Christina Aguilera's "Not Myself Tonight" enters the Hot 100 at #23 and Hot Digital Songs at #15. It's the first single from Bionic, her fourth regular studio album, which is due on June 8. Aguilera's first three regular studio albums all reached #1 or #2 on The Billboard 200. Aguilera has amassed eight top 10 hits on the Hot 100, stretching from her first single, 1999's "Genie In A Bottle," to 2008's "Keeps Gettin' Better."
Six songs from Glee invade Hot Digital Songs this week, topped by the cast's versions of the All-American Rejects' "Gives You Hell" at #14 and Lionel Richie's "Hello" at #19. Both of these songs also debut in the top 40 on the Hot 100 (at #32 and #35, respectively).
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
1. Justin Bieber, My World 2.0, 92,000. The album logs its third week at #1. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Baby" (featuring Ludacris), which drops from #5 to #10.
2. MGMT, Congratulations, 66,000. This new entry is the group's first top 10 album. Nearly half of these copies (32,000) were sold digitally, making this the week's #1 Digital Album. "Congratulations" enters Hot Digital Songs at #105.
3. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, 65,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #4 to #3 in its 12th week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Need You Now" dips from #11 to #12. "American Honey" jumps from #39 to #37.
4. Usher, Raymond V Raymond, 64,000. The former #1 album drops from #2 to #4 in its third week. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "O.M.G." (featuring will.i.am), which inches up from #7 to #6.
5. Coheed and Cambria, Year Of The Black Rainbow, 51,000. This new entry is the hard rock band's third top 10 album. Its 2007 album No World For Tomorrow bowed at #6 but with a fatter opening sales tally (62,000).
7. Lady Gaga, The Fame, 32,000. The album holds at #7 in its 77th week. This is its 43rd week in the top 10. Five songs from the expanded version of the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Telephone" (featuring Beyonce), which drops from #8 to #13.
8. Ke$ha, Animal, 31,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #16 to #8 in its 15th week in the wake of Ke$ha's SNL performance. This is the album's fifth week in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Your Love Is My Drug," which jumps from #13 to #7.
9. Monica, Still Standing, 30,000. The album dips from #6 to #9 in its fourth week. This is Monica's first album to log four or more weeks in the top 10.
10. Justin Bieber, My World, 30,000. The EP drops from #8 to #10 in its 22nd week. This is its 12th week in the top 10. Two songs from the EP are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "One Time" drops from #80 to #98. "One Less Lonely Girl" drops from #123 to #161.
Three albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Slash's Slash drops from #3 to #16, Erykah Badu's NEW AMERYKAH: Part Two: Return Of The Ankh drops from #9 to #20, and Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour plummets from #10 to #58.
Jeff Beck's Emotion & Commotion debuts at #11. This is the rock guitarist's highest-charting album since Blow By Blow hit #4 in 1975. Beck amassed six top 20 albums between 1968 and 1976. That streak included three albums with Jeff Beck Group and one collabo with Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice. Beck first charted in December 1965 with the Yardbirds' album Having A Rave Up With The Yardbirds.
Natalie Merchant's Leave Your Sleep bows at #17. This is Merchant's third solo album to reach the top 20, following 1995's Tigerlily and 1998's Ophelia. Merchant has now had more top 20 albums on her own than she did with 10,000 Maniacs. That band crashed the top 20 with two albums, 1989's Blind Man's Zoo and 1993's MTV Unplugged.
Jason Castro's Jason Castro bows at #18. Castro finished fourth in Season 7 of American Idol. He's the third contestant from that season to crack the top 20. Winner David Cook hit #3. Runner-up David Archuleta reached #2. Syesha Mercado, who finished third that season, has yet to release an album. Brooke White, who finished fifth, reached #50 with High Hopes & Heartbreak.
DJ Holiday & Gucci Mane's Burrrprint (2) HD debuts at #19. This mixtape collection is Gucci Mane's third top 30 album in less than a year. Murder Was The Case reached #23 in May. The State vs. Radric Davis hit #10 in December.
Laura Bell Bundy's Achin' And Shakin' enters The Billboard 200 at #28 and Top Country Albums at #5. Bundy, who was nominated for a Tony in 2007 for her leading role in Legally Blonde-The Musical, is moving from Broadway stardom to country music. Country queen Reba McEntire made the reverse trip in 2001 when she starred in a hit revival of Annie Get Your Gun.
Glee: The Music, Vol. 1 is the week's #1 soundtrack. It jumps from #57 to #39 on The Billboard 200. Leaving aside TV soundtracks, Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is the #1 movie soundtrack for the 10th week. It slips from #28 to #42 on The Billboard 200...Kick-Ass was #1 at the box-office over the weekend, replacing two-time champ Clash Of The Titans. The soundtrack to Kick-Ass sold about 2,000 copies this week, not enough to make The Billboard 200.
Nickelback's Dark Horse dips from #42 to #45 in its 74th week on the chart. The current "This Afternoon" is the sixth Hot 100 single from the album. This matches the pace of the band's previous album, All The Right Reasons. The first Hot 100 single from Dark Horse, way back in October 2008, was "Gotta Be Somebody."
Pricing Matters: Tenth Avenue North's 2008 album Over And Underneath holds at #1 on the Catalog Albums chart for the second week. It dips from #39 to #48 on The Billboard 200. The album is a $5 special at Family Christian Stores. Three weeks ago, before this featured pricing took effect, the album wasn't listed on the top 200 Catalog chart. Want more proof that pricing matters? Chris Tomlin's See The Morning, which preceded Over And Underneath at #1 on the Catalog chart, was the chain's previous $5 special. Last week, when Tomlin's album went off special, it plummeted from #1 on the Catalog chart to #156. Weekly sales tanked from 9,000 to 1,000, an 86% drop. Record companies, take note.
Muddy Waters' Father Of Chicago Blues debuts at #124. The late blues legend first cracked The Billboard 200 in 1968 with Electric Mud. He first hit the R&B chart in 1948 (back when the chart was still called "Race Records") with "I Feel Like Going Home." Waters died in 1983.
Heads Up: Glee: The Power Of Madonna is expected to debut at #1 next week, with a sales total of 100,000 to 120,000. AC/DC's soundtrack for the upcoming movie Iron Man 2 will probably debut around #3. Circa Survive's Blue Sky Noise, Sevendust's Cold Day Memory and Jimmy Buffett's Encores, a Walmart exclusive, are vying for top 10 debuts, with sales in the 30,000 to 35,000 range. Also due: Kottonmouth Kings' Long Live The Kings, Cypress Hill's Rise Up, Willie Nelson's Country Music, Grateful Dead's Crimson, White & Indigo, Ratt's Infestation, Merle Haggard's I Am What I Am and Rufus Wainwright's All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu.