Chart Watch (NEW)

Week Ending Aug. 12, 2012. Albums: Sinatra Lives!

Chart Watch

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Frank Sinatra's Nothing But The Best re-enters The Billboard 200 at #3. The 2008 hits compilation is the latest beneficiary of a 99-cent sale at AmazonMP3.  This extends Sinatra's all-time record as the artist with the longest span of top five albums. Sinatra first cracked the top five the week of March 23, 1946 with The Voice Of Frank Sinatra. (The chart was a just a top-five ranking at that point.)

Nothing But The Best debuted and peaked at #2 in May 2008. It was released to mark the 10th anniversary of Sinatra's death. The album has sold 1,111,000 copies.

Nothing But The Best vaults from #161 to #1 on Top Catalog Albums. It's Sinatra's first album to top the catalog chart in the Nielsen SoundScan era. It's also #1 on Top Digital Albums. All but 1K of the album's 40K sales this week were digital. The album has sold 278K digital copies to date, which is a little more than one-quarter of its total. (The digital percentage is a little higher than I would have expected, but Sinatra has broad appeal to fans of all ages.)

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This is the third time in the past four weeks that a greatest hits album has rocketed to #1 on the catalog chart (and the top 10 on The Billboard 200) as a result of a 99-cent sale at AmazonMP3. It happened last week with Bee Gees' Number Ones and three weeks ago with Phil Collins' …Hits. (Alas, these 99-cent boosts tend to be short-lived sugar spikes. Once the album goes back to regular price, sales plummet. Bee Gees' Number Ones drops from #5 to #195 on this week's Billboard 200. Sales dropped from 32K to 2K.)

Sinatra's album includes the master's last three top 10 hits on the Hot 100: the sumptuous "Strangers In The Night," "That's Life" and "Somethin' Stupid," a history-making duet with daughter Nancy Sinatra. (In April 1967, it became the first collaboration of two individual stars to reach #1 on the Hot 100.)

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The album also includes "Theme From New York, New York," which in May 1980 became Sinatra's final top 40 hit. In 2009, Sinatra and the song were saluted in the chart-topping "Empire State Of Mind" by Jay-Z & Alicia Keys. "I'm the new Sinatra," Jay-Z boasted, "and since I made it here, I can make it anywhere." That unexpected homage is just one indication of Sinatra's eternal cool.

Sinatra's unmatched career peaked circa 1966, 25 years before Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard. Even so, he has sold 28,679,000 albums since 1991. Sinatra is the only artist whose career dates back to the 1940s to rank among the 200 best-selling artists in Nielsen SoundScan history.

Sinatra died in May 1998, but legendary artists never really die. It's sort of a perk of the profession.

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Now 43 debuts at #1 this week. This is the 16th installment in the long-running series to reach the top spot. These 16 albums have amassed a combined total of 29 weeks at #1. Since November 14, 1998, when the first Now volume entered the chart, only one artist, Eminem, has logged as many weeks at #1. (He likewise has spent 29 weeks on top.)

In addition, Now Party Anthems debuts at #34 this week.

Now 43 includes two songs that reached #1 on the Hot 100: Katy Perry's "Part Of Me," which debuted at #1 in February, and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe," which has reigned for the last nine weeks.

All 43 regular volumes in the series have made the top 10, as have five special Now albums: a collection of #1 hits, two volumes of country hits and two volumes of Christmas hits. This gives the Now franchise a total of 48 top 10 albums, which exceeds any other Various Artists franchise in history.

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Grammy Nominees is in second place, with 11 top 10 installments, followed in order by World Wrestling Federation/WWE, with six top 10 installments; 60 Years Of Music America Loves Best, a series on RCA Victor in 1960-61 which yielded four top 10 albums; and Totally Hits, which spawned three top 10 albums (counting a Totally Country offshoot).

Here's an oddity: While 16 Now volumes have reached #1, the best-selling installment in the series, Now 5, peaked at #2. (It was blocked from the top spot by the Beatles' 1.) The album has sold 4,789,000 copies.

Now That's What I Call Music! originated in the U.K. The first volume was released in November 1983, 15 years before the series launched here. There have been nearly twice as many regular volumes in the U.K. (82) as in the U.S.

Elle Varner's first studio album Perfectly Imperfect debuts at #4. Varner, 23, has had two top 20 hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart: "Refill" and "Only Wanna Give It To You" (featuring J. Cole).

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Colt Ford's fourth studio album Declaration Of Independence debuts at #5. It's the country artist's first top 10 album. His last two albums were Chicken & Biscuits (#28 in 2010) and Every Chance I Get (#26 in 2011). The album vaults from #67 to #1 on Top Country Albums, displacing Zac Brown Band's Uncaged. Ford has co-written a pair of #1 singles on the Hot Country Songs chart: Jason Aldean's "Dirt Road Anthem" and Brantley Gilbert's "Country Must Be Country Wide." (Aldean returned the favor: He is featured on Ford's "Drivin' Around Song," which enters Hot Digital Songs at #60 this week.) Incidentally, Ford is the second artist with that surname to land a top 10 album on The Billboard 200. "Tennessee" Ernie Ford amassed five top 10 albums from 1957 to 1960.

Justin Bieber's Believe drops from #3 to #7 in its eighth week, but it advances to #5 on the year-to-date list of top albums.

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Flo Rida's "Whistle" returns to #1 on Hot Digital Songs, displacing Phillip Phillips' "Home," which interrupted its run last week. "Whistle" sold 217K copies, bringing its total to date to 1,708,000. Will "Whistle" finally unseat Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" from the top spot on the Hot 100, or will that ubiquitious tune log a 10th week on top? You'll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

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

The Top Five: Now 43 debuts at #1 (111K)…Rick Ross' God Forgives, I Don't dips from #1 to #2 in its second week (60K).…Frank Sinatra's Nothing But The Best re-enters the chart at #3 (40K). This is its fourth week in the top 10… Elle Varner's Perfectly Imperfect debuts at #4 (33K). This is the R&B singer's first top 10 album…. Colt Ford's Declaration Of Independence debuts at #5 (31K). It's the country singer's first top 10 album

The Second Five: Zac Brown Band's Uncaged drops from #2 to #6 in its fifth week (31K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time…Justin Bieber's Believe drops from #3 to #7 in its eighth week (29K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time…One Direction's Up All Night drops from #4 to #8 in its 22nd week (29K). This is its 21st week in the top 10… Adele's 21 dips from #8 to #9 in its 77thweek (26K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time… Kidz Bop Kids' Kidz Bop 22 drops from #7 to #10 in its fourth week (23K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time.

Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week. As previously mentioned, Bee Gees' Number Ones plummets from #5 to #195. Nas' Life Is Good drops from #6 to #13. Joss Stone's The Soul Sessions, Vol. 2 dives from #10 to #54 and Maroon 5's Overexposed drops from #9 to #11.

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John Mayer's live acoustic EP The Complete 2012 Performance Collection debuts at #17. This is Mayer's third EP, following Inside Wants Out (#22 in 2002) and The Village Sessions (which didn't chart).

Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More rebounds from #41 to #20 in its 125th week. This is its highest ranking in nearly a year. The resurgence follows news reports that the group's sophomore album, Babel, is due Sept. 25. Sigh No More has sold an impressive 2,377,000 copies. It peaked at #2 on The Billboard 200. I hereby predict that Babel is going to debut at #1. (Another indication: the group's new single, "I Will Wait," enters Hot Digital Songs at #4 this week.)

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10 Years' sixth studio album Minus The Machine debuts at #26. This is the "alternative metal" band's third top 30 album. 10 Years is catching up to the like-named Ten Years After. That British blues-rock band amassed four top 30 albums from 1969 to 1971…David Archuleta's Begin, his third regular studio album in the U.S., bows at #28. It's the fourth top 30 album by the singer who came in second on American Idol in Season 7.

Pink Floyd's 1973 classic The Dark Side Of The Moon re-enters the chart at #35, its highest ranking since October…The Sparkle soundtrack drops from #26 to #42 in its second week. It's #1 on Top Soundtracks for the second week. The soundtrack from the original Sparkle was the top-ranking soundtrack for 20 weeks in 1976.

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Rihanna's Talk That Talk returns to #1 on The Official U.K. chart for a second week. It previously reached #1 in the U.K. in December. Alas, the album sold just 10K copies in the U.K. during the week, which set a new record for the lowest one-week sales tally for an album at #1. Two factors are cited: The Olympics in London took fans' time away from other pursuits. And album sales are down in general, there as here. In the U.S., the album drops from #82 to #93 in its 38th week. The album peaked at #3 here.

One Direction's DVD Up All Night: The Live Tour is #1 for the 11th week on Top Music Videos. It sold 11K copies this week, bringing its 11-week total to 257K.

The Bourne Legacy was #1 at the box-office over the weekend.

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Coming Attractions: 2 Chainz' debut album Based On A T.R.U. Story is expected to open at #1 next week, with first-week sales in the 130K range. Insane Clown Posse's The Mighty Death Pop will probably land in the top five, with first-week sales of 35K. Also due: In This Moment's Blood, Yellowcard's Southern Air, Slightly Stoopid's Top Of The World, Israel Hougton and the New Breed's Decade, Incubus' Incubus HQ Live and Kottonmouth Kings' Mile High.

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