Chart Watch (NEW)

Week Ending Feb. 12, 2012. Albums: Adele Ties Whitney

Chart Watch

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[Photo:Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

Adele's 21 tops The Billboard 200 for the 20th week. This enables it to tie Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard soundtrack as the longest-running #1 album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991. That is a remarkable coincidence, since Houston died on Saturday, just one day before the end of this tracking week.

This is the seventh consecutive week at #1 for 21. It's the first album to log seven straight weeks at #1 since Taylor Swift's Fearless three years ago.

The album sold 88K digital copies this week, which pushes its digital total over the 2 million mark. It's the first album to sell 2 million digital copies. (The first album to sell 1 million was Eminem's Recovery, just last July.)

Even with just one day to rack up sales, six Houston albums re-enter the chart this week, led by The Greatest Hits, which bows at #6. The two-disk set originally debuted and peaked at #5 in May 2000.

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The Greatest Hits is #1 on Top Catalog Albums. This is the seventh time in the Nielsen SoundScan era that an album has zoomed to #1 on the catalog chart in the week after (or, in two cases, the first full week after) the artist's death. The others, working backwards, were Amy Winehouse's Back To Black in July 2011, Michael Jackson's Number Ones in June 2009, Johnny Cash's 16 Biggest Hits in September 2003, the Bee Gees' One Night Only in January 2003 (following the death of Maurice Gibb), Aaliyah's One In A Million in August 2001 and the Grateful Dead's Skeletons From The Closet in August 1995 (following the death of Jerry Garcia).

This morning, I posted a separate blog on Houston's songs and albums that have resurfaced in the wake of her death. If you missed it, here's a link.

Houston first cracked the top 10 on The Billboard 200 (with Whitney Houston) in August 1985, giving her a top 10 span of nearly 27 years. But two artists in this week's top 10 easily outdo that. Van Halen first cracked the top 10 (with Van Halen II) in May 1979. Paul McCartney first cracked the top 10 (with the Beatles' Meet The Beatles!) in February 1964.

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Van Halen's A Different Kind Of Truth debuts at #2. This is Van Halen's first studio album with original lead singer David Lee Roth since 1984, which logged five weeks at #2 in 1984 (it got stuck behind Michael Jackson's Thriller and later the Footloose soundtrack.) Oddly, the band has yet to land a #1 studio album with Roth on board.

Roth left the band in 1985. With new lead singer Sammy Hagar, the band reached #1 with four consecutive studio albums: 5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Balance. (Roth was featured on two cuts on Best Of Volume 1, which was hit #1 in 1996.)

This is Van Halen's 14th consecutive top 10 album. The band has had at least one top 10 album in each of the last five decades. (Not to make them feel old.)

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Paul McCartney's Kisses On The Bottom debuts at #5. This is McCartney's 18th top 10 album apart from the Beatles.  He has had at least one top five album in each of the last five decades. And that doesn't even count the Beatles. Add them in and we can take this back to the 1960s, giving McCartney six straight decades with a top five album.

McCartney is the second former Beatle to have hit with a collection of songs that pre-date the rock era. Ringo Starr reached #22 in 1970 with Sentimental Journey. (The two albums have one song in common: Gene Austin's 1926 classic "Bye Bye, Blackbird."). The irony, of course, is that the Beatles, more than any other single act, swept Tin Pan Alley aside; made it seem musty and old-fashioned. (Now, there's widespread acknowledgement that much of that music was stellar.)

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Kisses On The Bottom includes such standards as "It's Only A Paper Moon," "The Glory Of Love," "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive" and "Always." (The album's cheeky title is drawn from the 1935 Fats Waller song, "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter," which is included on the set).

McCartney is the instant front-runner to win next year's Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. If he does, McCartney will become the first artist to win Grammys in both the Traditional Pop and Rock fields. (He has won two Grammys in the rock field:  "Rockestra Theme" as Best Rock Instrumental Performance of 1979 and a cover of the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" as Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance of 2010.)

Adele's 2008 album 19 leaps from #19 to #9, which is its highest ranking to date. The album previously peaked at #10 in the week after the 2009 Grammys, when Adele won her first two trophies. This is the first time that Adele has had two albums in the top 10 simultaneously.

This week marks the first time that two catalog albums (this album and Houston's compilation) have appeared in the top 10 simultaneously since September 2009, when the Beatles' Abbey Road and Michael Jackson's Number Ones were both listed in the top 10.

There are three (count 'em) franchise albums in the top 15 this week: Now 41, Grammy Nominees 2012 and Kidz Bop Kidz 21.

"We Are Young" by fun. featuring Janelle Monae surges from #22 to#1 on Hot Digital Songs. It was #41 on last week's Hot 100. How high will it climb this week? You'll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

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

1. Adele, 21, 237,000. The album logs its 20th week at #1. This is its 51st week in the top 10. The album is #1 on Top Digital Albums for the 13th week. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Set Fire To The Rain," which drops from #2 to #4.

2. Van Halen, A Different Kind Of Truth, 187,000. This new entry is the band's 14th consecutive top 10 album.

3.  Various Artists, Now 41, 142,000. This new entry is the 46th Now volume to crack the top 10, extending its lead as the most successful franchise in chart history.

4. The Fray, Scars & Stories, 87,000. This new entry is the band's second top 10 album. The Fray debuted at #1 in February 2009. "Heartbeat" jumps from #56 to #39 on Hot Digital Songs.

5. Paul McCartney, Kisses On The Bottom, 74,000. This new entry is McCartney's 18th top 10 album apart from the Beatles.

6. Whitney Houston, The Greatest Hits, 64,000. This re-entry originally debuted and peaked at #5 in May 2000. This is the album's third week in the top 10. Twenty-two Houston songs are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "I Will Always Love You" at #3.

7. Dierks Bentley, Home, 55,000. This new entry is Bentley's sixth top 10 album. It's his fourth #1 on Top Country Albums. "Home" jumps from #97 to #61 on Hot Digital Songs.

8. Various Artists, Grammy Nominees 2012, 51,000. The album drops from #4 to #8 in its third week.

9. Adele, 19, 36,000. The album jumps from #19 to #9 in its 121st week on the chart. This is its highest ranking to date. This is its second week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Make You Feel My Love" re-enters at #145. "Chasing Pavements" re-enters at #180.

10. Drake, Take Care, 32,000. The former #1 album drops from #6 to #10 in its 12th week.  It has been in the top 10 the entire time. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by the excellent "Take Care" (featuring Rihanna), which drops from #20 to #26.

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Lana Del Rey's Born To Die drops from #2 to #13. It fares better in the U.K., where it holds at #1 for the second week. Six other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas drops from #3 to #33, Kidz Bop 21 drops from #5 to #15, Tim McGraw's Emotional Traffic drops from #7 to #20, Fred Hammond's God, Love And Romance plummets from #8 to #54, LMFAO's Sorry For Party Rocking drops from #9 to #11 and Rihanna's Talk That Talk drops from #10 to #18.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1 surges from #70 to #22 in the wake of the release of the DVD. The album has climbed as high as #4. The album is #1 on Top Soundtracks for the fourth week. It has been the top soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie for 10 weeks.

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Frank Sinatra's Sinatra: Best Of The Best surges from #127 to #36 in the wake of Valentine's Day gift-giving. (If an album this romantic doesn't make it happen, it ain't going to happen.) The album has climbed as high as #23…The Civil Wars' Barton Hollow surges from #121 to #41 in the wake of the duo's double Grammy victory on Sunday. The album has climbed as high as #12…The Beatles' 2000 compilation 1 surges from #199 to #97. The album topped the 12 million mark in U.S. sales a few weeks ago.

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Adele's Live At The Royal Albert Hall is #1 on Top Music Videos for the 11th straight week. The DVD sold 27K copies this week, bringing its total to 574K.

The Vow was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. The album sold fewer than 1K copies, too few to make The Billboard 200.

Coming Attractions: Shane Harper's Shane Harper is expected to be among next week's top new entries. The 19-year old stars on the Disney Channel sitcom Good Luck Charlie.

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