Chart Watch (NEW)

Week Ending Dec. 30, 2012. Albums: “Les Miz” Zooms To #2

Chart Watch

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The Les Miserables soundtrack vaults from #33 to #2 in its second week on The Billboard 200. It’s already the highest-charting soundtrack to the movie version of a Broadway musical since Mamma Mia! hit #1 in August 2008. The movie, which stars Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, was #3 at the box-office in its opening weekend.

Les Miz first opened on Broadway on May 12, 1987, which means it took 25 years and eight months for the show to spawn a top 10 movie soundtrack. That’s the longest wait since Chicago took 27 years and eight months. Chicago opened on Broadway on June 3, 1975 and finally yielded a top 10 movie soundtrack in February 2003.

Les Miz won a Tony as Best Musical. The Broadway cast album received a Grammy as Best Musical Cast Show Album. That album re-enters the chart this week at #171. It has climbed as high as #117, and has sold 1,591,000 copies. (Cast albums sell steadily over time and often sell far better than their chart peak numbers might indicate.) The London cast album, which has climbed as high as #106 (and has sold 884K copies to date), just missed making this week’s chart.

Les Miz is #1 on Top Soundtracks for the second week.

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Les Miz is unique among screen musicals in that there is very little spoken dialogue in the movie. The story is told through the songs. In this regard, it is similar to 1975’s movie version of The Who’s 1969 album Tommy and 1996’s movie version of Evita, which starred Madonna. Both of those soundtracks peaked at #2.

“I Dreamed A Dream,” the most famous song from the show, was the title track of Susan Boyle’s debut album, which spent six weeks at #1 in 2009-2010.

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Taylor Swift’s Red logs its seventh week at #1. In addition, the album tops the 3 million mark in U.S. sales in its 10th week. That’s the fastest that any album has reached 3 million since Susan Boyle’s aforementioned I Dreamed A Dream topped the 3 million mark in its sixth week in January 2010.

Each of Swift’s four studio albums has reached the 3 million mark faster than the one before it. Taylor Swift took 85 weeks. Fearless took 22 weeks. Speak Now took 11 weeks.

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Red is also #1 on Top Digital Albums for the fourth week. It sold 131K digital copies this week. As of this week, Swift has three of the 10 best-selling albums in digital history. Red is in ninth place, with digital sales of 863K. Fearless is #7 (875K). Speak Now is #10 (795K). No other artist has three of the all-time top 10 digital albums. Lady Gaga and Coldplay each have two of the all-time top 10. Adele, Mumford & Sons and Eminem each have one.

Red is #1 on Top Country Albums for the 10th week. It’s Swift’s fourth album to log 10 or more weeks at #1 on this chart. It follows Taylor Swift (24 weeks on top), Fearless (35 weeks at #1) and Speak Now (13 weeks on top). Swift is the first female artist to log 10 or more weeks at #1 with four different albums in the chart’s 49-year history. Shania Twain is in second place, with three.

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One Direction’s Take Me Home rebounds from #4 to #3 in its seventh week. In addition, Up All Night—The Live Tour logs its 28thweek at #1 on Top Music Videos. One more week at #1 and this will tie Ray Stevens’ Comedy Video Classics for the longest run at #1 on this chart since it originated (as Top Music Videocassettes) in March 1985. (Stevens is old enough to be the lads’ grandfather. He was 55 in February 1994 when Harry Styles, the youngest member of One Direction, was born.)

Two albums return to the top 10 this week. Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions rebounds from #46 to #6 in its 17th week. The album debuted and peaked at #2 in September. Rihanna’s Unapologetic rebounds from #19 to #7 in its sixth week. The album debuted and peaked at #1 in November.

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Two albums that have been in release for months finally break into the top 10 for the first time. The Lumineers’ The Lumineers jumps from #24 to #9 in its 39th week. The album had previously peaked at #11. The Pitch Perfect soundtrack jumps from #45 to #10 in its 10th week on the chart. The album had previously peaked at #12.

Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.” returns to #1 on Hot Digital Songs, dethroning Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven.” But Mars will probably hold on to the #1 spot on the Hot 100. You’ll find out for sure later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

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

The Top Five: Taylor Swift’s Red holds at #1 for the seventh week in its 10th week (241K). It has ranked in the top two the entire time...The Les Miserables soundtrack vaults from #33 to #2 in its second week (136K)… One Direction’s Take Me Home jumps from #4 to #3 in its seventh week (120K). This is its sixth week in the top five… Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox dips from #3 to #4 in its third week (110K). It has been in the top five the entire time…T.I.’s Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head drops from #2 to #5 in its second week (74K).

The Second Five: Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions rebounds from #46 to #6 in its 17th week (70K). This is its third week in the top 10….Rihanna’s Unapologetic rebounds from #19 to #7 in its sixth week (68K). This is its third week in the top 10… Mumford & Sons’ Babel holds at #8 for the second week in its 14th week (68K). This is its ninth week in the top 10… The Lumineers’ The Lumineers jumps from #24 to #9 in its 39th week (61K). This is the group’s first top 10 album…The Pitch Perfect soundtrack rebounds from #45 to #10 in its 10th chart week (58K).

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12-12-12: The Concert For Sandy Relief plummets from #9 to #70. The album will probably reverse course when the CD is released. If not, the over-familiarity of the benefit concert format may be taking a toll. Four other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Michael Buble’s Christmas drops from #5 to #21…Rod Stewart’s Merry Christmas, Baby drops from #6 to #26…Phillip Phillips’ The World From The Side Of The Moon drops from #7 to #11…Now 44 drops from #10 to #13.

Buble’s album is #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the ninth straight week. That will most assuredly change next week.

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Numerous catalog albums re-enter the chart this week, the result of a holiday sale at Amazon MP3. These include greatest hits albums by three of the best-selling duos in pop music history. Simon & Garfunkel’s The Best Of Simon & Garfunkel re-enters at #43, Carpenters’ The Singles 1969-1981 debuts at #45 and Daryl Hall & John Oates’ The Very Best Of Daryl Hall & John Oates re-enters at #61. These compilations were first released in 1999, 2000 and 2001, respectively.

I wrote the liner notes to the Carpenters collection, which is an expanded edition of their chart-topping The Singles 1969-1973. Incidentally, this week’s chart placement is the highest for a Carpenters album since A Kind Of Hush hit #33 in 1976.

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The soundtrack to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey drops from #47 to #55 in its third week. The movie was #1 at the box-office for the third straight weekend….The soundtrack to Django Unchained debuts at #99. The movie was #2 in its first weekend at the box-office.

Happy new year, everybody.

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