Chart Watch

Week Ending April 25, 2010: Faux Madonna Beats Real Madonna

Chart Watch

Glee: The Power Of Madonna enters The Billboard 200 at #1. The album from the recent prime-time salute to Her Madgesty is outselling Madonna's current CD/DVD combo, Sticky & Sweet Tour. The Glee album sold 98,000 copies this week. Sticky & Sweet Tour has sold 41,000 copies in its first three weeks. In fairness to Madonna, her hits have been repackaged on numerous compilations over the years. The Glee versions are new.

All seven selections from the EP are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Like A Prayer" bows at #10, followed by "Borderline"/"Open Your Heart" at #41, "Like A Virgin" at #51, "4 Minutes" at #55, "Express Yourself" at #90, "What It Feels Like For A Girl" at #117 and "Vogue" at #153. Two of Madonna's original recordings return to Hot Digital Songs. "4 Minutes" (featuring Justin Timberlake) bows at #127. "Like A Prayer" (which is starting to feel like her most classic recording) bows at #135.

Madonna's Celebration album returns to The Billboard 200 at #86. The two-disc greatest hits set has sold 226,000 copies since its release in September.

The success of the Glee album is akin to people buying original cast albums to Mamma Mia! and Jersey Boys rather than compilations by ABBA and the 4 Seasons, respectively. I would rather have the real thing in all three cases, but some fans are more connected to the theatrical show than they are to the artist involved.

Madonna was the perfect choice to be the first artist saluted with a Glee episode and album. Such other superstar divas as Barbra Streisand and Cher are prime candidates for future salutes, but it's always best to be first. This is far from the first indication of Madonna's pop-culture impact. There have been many such indicators through the years, from "Weird Al" Yankovic's 1985 parody, "Like A Surgeon," to Train's current "Hey, Soul Sister," with its Madonna name-check.

Some will be surprised by the album's #1 ranking. Madonna peaked as a chart and cultural force in the '80s and '90s. But she has more than held her own in the past decade. Madonna's last four studio albums, stretching from 2000's Music to 2008's Hard Candy, have all debuted at #1.

The first-week sales tally for Glee: The Power Of Madonna includes 74,000 digital copies. That's 75% of the total. Digital has accounted for that big a chunk of the weekly sales tally on only two previous #1 albums. Both were earlier this year. Ke$ha's Animal (76% digital) and Hope For Haiti Now (100%).

The title, Glee: The Power Of Madonna, is a nod to Madonna's 1998 hit "The Power Of Good-bye." Madonna has had 37 top 10 hits on the Hot 100, but that isn't one of them. The song peaked at #11.

Pop Quiz: Three of Madonna's 55 Hot 100 hits were cover versions of songs that first charted for other artists. Name them.

All three Glee albums to date have made the top 10. Volume 1 peaked at #4. Volume 2 hit #3. Glee is one of only six weekly series in television history to spawn three or more top 10 albums. Sing Along With Mitch, which ran from 1961 to 1964, generated five top 10 albums during the run of the show. The Monkees, whose eponymous show ran from 1966 to 1968, had five top 10 albums. American Idol, which debuted in 2002, has spawned five top 10 thematic albums (not counting albums by individual contestants). Hannah Montana, which debuted in 2006, has yielded five top 10 albums (not counting the movie soundtrack or strictly solo releases by Miley Cyrus). The Partridge Family, whose eponymous show ran from 1970 to 1974, had three top 10 albums.

Quiz Answer: The three Madonna chart hits that first charted for other artists were "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" (Rose Royce, 1979), "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" (Festival, 1980) and "American Pie" (Don McLean, 1971).

The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" this week becomes the best-selling song in digital history, surpassing "Low" by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain. "I Gotta Feeling" has sold 5,561,000 digital copies, to 5,536,000 for "Low." Both songs were smash hits, but "I Gotta Feeling" penetrated pop culture in a way that "Low" didn't. The jingle-like song became one of the most ubiquitous songs of the past year.

"I Gotta Feeling" also did better at the Grammys. It won this year for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. "Low" was nominated last year for Best Rap/Sung Performance, but lost to "American Boy" by Estelle featuring Kanye West.

Lady Antebellum's Need You Now rebounds to #2 in its 13th week on The Billboard 200. It also holds at #1 on Top Country Albums for the 13th straight week. It's the first album to spend its first 13 weeks at #1 on the country chart since Kenny Chesney's When The Sun Goes Down, which spent its first 14 weeks on top in 2004. Chesney's album went on to win the Country Music Assn. award for Album of the Year. Will Lady A's album follow suit this November? It will.

AC/DC's Iron Man 2 soundtrack enters The Billboard 200 at #4.The album consists of music recorded by the Aussie hard rock band between 1976 and 2008. This is AC/DC's second soundtrack release. The band's music was featured in the 1986 movie Maximum Overdrive. (It was marketed as an album under the title Who Made Who.) Iron Man 2 is the week's top movie soundtrack, replacing Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. (The charts make for strange bedfellows.) AC/DC first cracked the top 10 in October 1980 with Back In Black, giving the band a nearly 30 year span of top 10 albums.

Iron Man 2 sold 76,000 copies in its first week, less than one-tenth of the first-week tally (784,000) of the band's 2008 studio album, Black Ice. Bear in mind, though, that the movie, starring Robert Downey Jr., doesn't open until May 7. The soundtrack is off to a faster start in the U.K., where it debuts at #1. It's the band's third #1 album in the U.K., following Back In Black (which peaked at #4 in the U.S.) and Black Ice.

The Zac Brown Band's The Foundation jumps from #15 to #9. This is the highest ranking to date for the album that has been on the chart for 75 weeks. The album got a boost from the recent Academy of Country Music Awards telecast, on which the band was seen performing for troops in the Persian Gulf. The show also boosted Lady A and Miranda Lambert, whose Revolution rebounds from #36 to #13 in its 30th week.

"Nothin' On You" by B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars holds at #1 on Hot Digital Songs for the second straight week. The song sold 179,000 copies this week, bringing its 13-week total to 1,566,000. B.o.B has two of the week's top three digital hits. "Airplanes" (featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore) jumps from #5 to #3. (If "Airplanes" had sold 500 more copies, it would have been #2.)

Shameless Plug: Adam Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me" tops the 1 million mark in paid downloads this week. It's the 26th song by an American Idol contestant to cross this threshold. Which Idol contestant has the most million-sellers? What song is the best-seller by an Idol alum? All will be revealed in my latest Chart Watch Extra, a countdown of the biggest Idol hits. Check it out on Friday.

Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.

1. Various Artists, Glee: The Power Of Madonna, 98,000. This new entry is the first TV soundtrack to hit #1 since High School Musical 2 in 2007. All seven songs from the EP are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Like A Prayer," which enters at #10.

2. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, 83,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #3 to #2 in its 13th week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Need You Now" rebounds from #12 to #8. "American Honey" jumps from #37 to #25.

3. Justin Bieber, My World 2.0, 81,000. The album drops from #1 to #3 in its fifth week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Baby" (featuring Ludacris), which drops from #10 to #14.

4. AC/DC, Iron Man 2 soundtrack, 76,000. This new entry is the band's eighth top 10 album. AC/DC has yet to enter the digital marketplace, so none of their songs are listed on Hot Digital Songs. I wonder how much longer they can hold out. (Guys, it's time.)

5. Usher, Raymond V Raymond, 52,000. The former #1 album dips from #4 to #5 in its fourth week. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "OMG" (featuring, which jumps from #6 to #2.

6. Various Artists, NOW 33, 37,000. The compilation holds at #6 in its fifth week. It has sold 393,000 copies.

7. Jimmy Buffett, Encores, 31,000. This new entry is Buffett's 10th top 10 album. He first cracked the top 10 in 1978 with Son Of A Son Of A Sailor. The new album is a Walmart exclusive.

8. Justin Bieber, My World, 31,000. The EP rebounds from #10 to #8 in its 23rd week. This is its 13th week in the top 10. Two songs from the EP are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "One Time" dips from #98 to #110. "One Less Lonely Girl" drops from #161 to #189.

9. Zac Brown Band, The Foundation, 29,000. The album zooms from #15 to #9 in its 75th week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Highway 20 Ride," which drops from #59 to #75.

10. Lady Gaga, The Fame, 28,000. The album drops from #7 to #10 in its 78th week. (It's even older than The Foundation.) This is its 44th week in the top 10. Six songs from the expanded version of the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Telephone" (featuring Beyonce), which dips from #13 to #16.

Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week. MGMT's Congratulations dives from #2 to #18, Coheed and Cambria's Year Of The Black Rainbow plummets from #5 to #42, Ke$ha's Animal drops from #8 to #14 and Monica's Still Standing drops from #9 to #15.

Circa Survive's Blue Sky Noise bows at #11. This is the rock band's highest-charting album to date. On Letting Go debuted (and peaked) at #24 in June 2007...Sevendust's Cold Day Memory bows at #12. This is the hard rock band's sixth album to crack the top 20...Cypress Hill's Rise Up bows at #19. It's the Latin rap trio's first album since 2004. Cypress Hill had three top 10 albums from 1993 to 2000.

Willie Nelson's Country Music debuts at #20. It's the country legend's highest-charting album since Always On My Mind reached #2 in 1982...Ratt's Infestation bows at #30. This is the band's first album with a rat-centric title to hit the chart since its 1984 debut, Out Of The Cellar.

The Broadway cast album from American Idiot bows at #43. The show is based on Green Day's 2004 album of the same name. The band is featured along with the cast of the show on 21 of the 22 cuts on the new album, including "21 Guns," which has sold 1,670,000 digital copies.

Tenth Avenue North's Over & Underneath is #1 on the Catalog Albums chart for the third straight week. The Contemporary Christian album dips from #48 to #49 on The Billboard 200.

Two legendary vocalists make posthumous returns to The Billboard 200. Peggy Lee's Come Rain Or Come Shine, the latest in Starbucks' "Opus Series," debuts at #51. Luciano Pavarotti's 75th Birthday Limited Edition, a digital-only release, bows at #76. Lee first hit what is now The Billboard 200 in 1948 (back when it was just a top five listing) with Rendezvous With Peggy Lee. Pavarotti first scored in 1979 with O Sole Mio-Favorite Neapolitan Songs. Lee died in 2002. Pavarotti died in 2007.

Rufus Wainwright's All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu bows at #75. This is Wainwright's fifth album to crack The Billboard 200. His dad, Loudon Wainwright III, has had three chart albums. But dad is ahead when it comes to the Hot 100. Loudon's novelty tune "Dead Skunk" was a top 20 hit in 1973. Rufus has yet to crack the Hot 100.

How To Train Your Dragon was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. The movie has grossed $178 million to date, according to the soundtrack has sold a paltry 8,000 copies. If they're going to train that dragon, I hope they train it to buy albums.

Song Scorecard: Chris Brown's 2008 smash "Forever" tops the 3 million mark in paid downloads this week. This is Brown's second song to top 3 million in digital sales, following "No Air," a duet with Jordin Sparks, which has sold 3,127,000 copies....Taylor Swift's "Today Was A Fairytale" from Valentine's Day tops the 1 million mark in paid downloads.

"Young Forever" by Jay-Z + Mr. Hudson jumps from #11 to #9 on Hot Digital Songs. The song incorporates Alphaville's 1988 near-hit "Forever Young." This isn't the first time an artist has simply reversed the title of an old song he reworked. Arrested Development's 1992 hit "People Everyday" featured the chorus of Sly & the Family Stone's 1969 classic "Everyday People."

Heads Up: B.o.B's B.o.B Presents The Adventures Of Bobby Ray and Bullet For My Valentine's Fever are expected to be next week's highest-debuting new albums. Melissa Etheridge's Fearless Love and Miranda Cosgrove's Sparks Fly are also expected to make strong entries. Cosgrove is the 16-year old star of iCarly. Also due: Hole's Nobody's Daughter, Daddy Yankee's Mundial and Drowning Pool's Drowning Pool.

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