Chart Watch (NEW)

Week Ending Aug. 19, 2012. Albums: Marley In Top 20

Chart Watch

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More than 28 years after it was first released, Bob Marley & the Wailers' Legend finally cracks the top 20 on The Billboard 200. Legend, the one reggae album that everybody owns, leaps from #38 to #18 in its 236th week on the chart. The uptick is due to several factors: being discounted at Best Buy, being carried by Starbucks and buzz from the documentary Marley which opened in April. (Far more people meant to see the film than actually saw it. It grossed $1.4 million.)

Legend originally peaked at #54 in October 1984. It remained on the chart for 113 weeks. After that, it was considered a catalog title and was no longer eligible to compete on The Billboard 200. That changed in 2009, when a much-needed rule change allowed catalog albums to compete alongside current albums on The Billboard 200. The album reached a new peak, #26 in June 2011, and this week climbs to another new peak.

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Legend is the 10th best-selling album of the Nielsen SoundScan era, with sales of 11,103,000 copies since 1991. Among greatest hits albums, it's second only to the Beatles' 1, which has sold 12,083,000 copies. Could Legend one day surpass 1 as the best-selling greatest hits album in Nielsen SoundScan history? Let's take a look. In the past five years, Legend has sold 1,892,000 copies, compared to 1,111,000 for 1. So Legend is closing the gap with the hit-studded Beatles collection. It may well surpass it, but it will probably take several years. (Let me remind you that the figure for Marley's album doesn't in any way count its first seven years of sales.)

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Legend returns to #1 on the Top Catalog Albums chart for the first time since May 2010. This is the album's 112th week at #1 since 1991. That's more weeks on top than any other album. In fact, it's more than the two runners-up combined. They are Creed's My Own Prison, with 54 weeks at #1 on the catalog chart, and the Grease soundtrack, with 52 weeks on top.

Shameless Plug: Later today, we'll post a Chart Watch Extra in which I look at the 25 albums that have topped the catalog chart for 12 or more weeks since 1991. The list includes 11 greatest hits albums, three Christmas albums, two various-artists compilations and one movie soundtrack (the aforementioned Grease). Just one act appears twice on the list. You could guess and then find out for sure when we post this later today.

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2 Chainz' first studio album, Based On A T.R.U. Story, enters The Billboard 200 at #1. It's the second debut album to reach #1 in 2012, following One Direction's Up All Night. It's the first debut album by a hip-hop artist to reach #1 since Mac Miller's Blue Slide Park scored in November. The album sold 61K digital copies, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums.

2 Chainz, a rapper from College Park, Ga., has had the last two #1 hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart: "Mercy," a co-equal collaboration with Kanye West, Big Sean and Pusha T, and his own "No Lie," featuring Drake. 2 Chainz was also featured on Nicki Minaj's "Beez in the Trap," which was a top 10 R&B hit.

2 Chainz (real name: Tauheed Epps) first gained notice in 2007 as one-half of the hip-hop duo Playaz Circle. Supply & Demand debuted and peaked at #27 in November of that year.

The Fine Print: Jack White's first solo album, Blunderbuss, reached #1 in April. I didn't include him in the debut album discussion above because he was already well-known through his work in The White Stripes, the Raconteurs and The Dead Weather.

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Insane Clown Posse seems to have an attraction to the #4 spot. All three of the hip-hop duo's top 10 albums have opened in that position. The current Mighty Death Pop follows 1999's The Amazing Jeckel Brothers and 2009's Bang! Pow! Boom!.

The full title of the current album is The Mighty Death Pop!; Smothered, Covered & Chunked; Freaky Tales; Mike E. Clark's Extra Pop Emporium. That's almost as wordy as some of Fiona Apple's titles, such as 1999's When The Pawn… (I'd show the whole title, but it would eat up all my space.)

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Adele's 21 rebounds from #9 to #8. This is its 78th week in the top 10, which equals the mark set by Def Leppard's Hysteria and Michael Jackson's Thriller. Only two albums have logged more weeks in the top 10 since Billboard merged its separate mono and stereo charts in August 1963. The Sound Of Music soundtrack leads with 109 weeks, from May 1965 to January 1968. Bruce Springsteen's Born In The U.S.A. is second with 84 weeks, from June 1984 to January 1986.  Will Adele catch The Boss? Stay tuned. Will she catch Julie Andrews and cast? That seems like a long-shot, but we'll see.

Zac Brown Band's Uncaged drops from #6 to #9 in its sixth week. It returns to #1 on Top Country Albums after being dislodged last week by Colt Ford's Declaration Of Independence. This is the fifth week on top of the country chart for Uncaged, a total matched in 2012 by just two albums: Lady Antebellum's Own The Night (which had six weeks at #1 this year, on top of seven weeks at #1 in 2011) and Carrie Underwood's Swept Away (five weeks).

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First-week sales for Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" were as unambiguous as its title. The song sold 623K copies, which puts it behind only one song in digital history: Flo Rida's "Right Round," which sold 636K in its first week in February 2009. This enables Swift to set new records for the largest one-week digital sales by a female artist (eclipsing Ke$ha's "TiK ToK," which sold 610K in December 2009); by a country artist (eclipsing Swift's own "Love Story," which sold 360K in December 2008); and by any artist in 2012 (eclipsing "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra, which sold 542K in the week ending April 15). "We Are Never Ever…" debuts at #1 on Hot Digital Songs. The song vaults from #72 to #1 on the Hot 100. You can find the details in Chart Watch: Songs.

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

The Top Five: 2 Chainz' Based On A T.R.U. Story debuts at #1 (147K)…Now 43 dips from #1 to #2 in its second week (75K)…Rick Ross' God Forgives, I Don't dips from #2 to #3 in its third week (43K).… Insane Clown Posse's Mighty Death Pop debuts at #4 (41K). This is the duo's third top five album…Maroon 5's Overexposed rebounds from #11 to #5 in its eighth week (36K). This is its seventh week in the top 10.

The Second Five: Justin Bieber's Believe rebounds from #7 to #6 in its ninth week (35K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time…One Direction's Up All Night rebounds from #8 to #7 in its 23rd week (29K). This is its 22nd week in the top 10… Adele's 21 rebounds from #9 to #8 in its 78thweek (26K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time…Zac Brown Band's Uncaged drops from #6 to #9 in its sixth week (25K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time…Yellowcard's Southern Air debuts at #10 (23K). This is the second top 10 album for the pop-punk band from Jacksonville, Fla. It follows Lights And Sounds (#5 in 2006).

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Now that AmazonMP3 is no longer selling Frank Sinatra's Nothing But The Best for 99 cents, the album plummets from #3 completely off The Billboard 200. Sales dove from 40K to less than 2K. I guess people like a bargain.

Three other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Elle Varner's Perfectly Imperfect drops from #4 to #22. Colt Ford's Declaration Of Independence drops from #5 to #20. Kidz Bop Kids' Kidz Bop 22 dips from #10 to #11.

Three acts debut in the top 15 with their highest-charting albums to date. Slightly Stoopid's seventh studio album Top Of The World debuts at #13. The pop-ska outfit first charted in 2005...Tamela Mann's third album Best Days debuts at #14. Mann, who is best known for her work with Tyler Perry, first charted in 2009…In This Moment's fourth studio album Blood debuts at #15. The Los Angeles "metalcore" group first charted  in 2008.

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The Sparkle soundtrack rebounds from #42 to #21 (its highest ranking to date) in its third week. It's #1 on Top Soundtracks for the third week. The soundtrack from the original Sparkle was the top-ranking soundtrack for 20 weeks in 1976. The reboot ranked #5 in its first weekend at the box-office, with a gross of $11.6 million. Whitney Houston, who co-stars in the current movie, was 12 when the original movie was released in April 1976.

Etta James' Enduring Soul debuts at #54. The album has quietly sold 80K copies since its release in 2005. (Starbucks is also carrying this album.) James first charted in 1961 with At Last! She died in January at age 73.

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Linkin Park's 2000 album Hybrid Theory this week becomes the 20th album to top the 10 million mark in U.S. sales since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991. It's one of just seven albums that were released since Jan. 1, 2000 to have topped 10M. Eminem has two of them, which is more than anyone else: The Marshall Mathers LP (10,629,000) and The Eminem Show (10,098,000). The other four are The Beatles' 1 (12,083,000), *NSYNC's No Strings Attached (11,129,000), Norah Jones' Come Away With Me (10,859,000) and Usher's Confessions (10,017,000).

Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party this week becomes the first album by a male country solo artist to top the 500K mark in digital sales…Pink Floyd's 1973 album The Dark Side Of The Moon also tops the 500K mark in digital sales this week. It's the oldest album to reach that milestone, topping Bob Marley & the Wailers' 1984 release, Legend.

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One Direction's DVD Up All Night: The Live Tour is #1 for the 12th week on Top Music Videos. It sold 10K copies this week, bringing its 12-week total to 267K. This is the first music video by a boy band to top the chart for 12 weeks since Backstreet Boys' Homecoming—Live In Orlando stayed on top for 20 weeks in 1999. It's the first video by any group or duo to remain #1 this long since Creed's Greatest Hits wound up a 14-week reign in August 2007.

The Expendables 2 was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. The original Expendables movie was #1 for two weekends in August 2010.

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Coming Attractions: Trey Songz's Chapter V is expected to debut at #1 next week, with sales in the 125K range. Three other albums appear headed for top 10 debuts. Look for DJ Khaled's Kiss The Ring to open at #4, Tenth Avenue North's The Struggle at #8 and Owl City's The Midsummer Station at #9. Dustin Lynch's Dustin Lynch will probably debut around #12. Also due: Lynyrd Skynyrd's Last Of A Dyin Breed and The Darkness' Hot Cakes.

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