Chart Watch

Week Ending Feb. 21, 2010: A Top Three With A Twist

Chart Watch

For the first time in chart history, the top three albums on The Billboard 200 are all by mixed-gender groups. Sade's Soldier Of Love holds at #1 for the second week, Lady Antebellum's Need You Now holds at #2 for the second week and the Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D. rebounds from #8 to #3. Helen Adu fronts Sade, Hillary Scott is the female member of Lady Antebellum and Fergie is a key Pea.

By holding at #1 for a second week, Soldier Of Love equals the mark set in February 1986 by Sade's sophomore album, Promise.

Need You Now got a boost from the trio's Friday appearance on Oprah. The Lady Antebellum smash, which was #1 for two weeks before its two-week run at #2, is the first album to spend its first four weeks in the top two spots since Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream in November and December. It's the first country album to do this since Dixie Chicks' Taking The Long Way in May and June 2006.

Need You Now also makes news by becoming the first album to sell 1 million copies in 2010. (Its total stands at 1,041,000.) This is the earliest in the year that an album has topped the million sales mark since 2005, when The Game's The Documentary rang the bell in the week ending Feb. 6.

This is the second year in a row that the first album to sell 1 million copies in the calendar year was a country album. Taylor Swift's Fearless was the first album to sell 1 million copies in 2009. But it took Fearless until April 26 to achieve the feat.

Pop Quiz: What was the most successful album ever by a mixed-gender group? Answer below.

Lady Gaga's The Fame logs its 35th week in the top 10 on The Billboard 200. That's the longest run in the top 10 for a debut album by a female artist since Norah Jones' Grammy-winning Come Away With Me spent 36 weeks in the top 10 in 2003. These two artists could hardly be more different. As a pop/dance star, Gaga has more in common with Britney Spears, whose 1999 debut album ...Baby One More Time logged 50 weeks in the top 10, and Paula Abdul, whose 1988 debut, Forever Your Girl, logged 64 weeks in the top 10.

Of course, Gaga has the most in common with Madonna, whose eponymous 1983 debut album spent just five weeks in the top 10. The Fame has now spent more weeks in the top 10 than any Madonna album. Madonna's top album was her sophomore set, Like A Virgin, which logged 33 weeks in the top 10 from December 1984 to July 1985.

Quiz Answer: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours is the most successful album ever by a mixed-gender group. The blockbuster logged 31 weeks at #1 in 1977-1978. In second place: Prince & the Revolution's Purple Rain, which spent 24 weeks at #1 in 1984-1985. In third: No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom, which had nine weeks on top in 1996-1997.

Shameless Plug: On Friday, I'll have a Chart Watch Extra in which I list all 22 mixed-gender groups and duos that have landed #1 albums. Where else will you ever find Sly & the Family Stone and Ace Of Base on the same list? Check back on Friday.

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 The Black Eyed Peas' "Imma Be" jumps to #1 on the Hot 100, bumping Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" to #2 after nine weeks on top. That made "TiK ToK" one of the five longest-running #1 debut hits; that is, a single by an artist making his/her/its first Hot 100 appearance. Among debut hits by female artists, it's one of the top three. Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" (1977) and Ashanti's "Foolish" (2002) both logged 10 weeks at #1.

Los Del Rio's "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" is the debut hit with the most weeks at #1 on the Hot 100. The novelty smash held the top spot for 14 weeks in 1996. "Low" by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain rounds out the top five. It was #1 for 10 weeks in 2008.

("Endless Love," the smash duet by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie which topped the Hot 100 for nine weeks in 1981, was Richie's first hit under his own name, but he had already amassed 17 Hot 100 hits fronting Commodores.)

Artists for Haiti's "We Are The World: 25 For Haiti" drops from #2 to #6 in its second week on the Hot 100. Airplay has lagged behind sales (and sales have been good, but not extraordinary). The song sold 208,000 digital copies this week, down from 267,000 copies last week. You might have expected an increase, because this was the song's first full week on the market. Last week's tally reflected just three days of sales. The remake has already sold more digital copies than the 1985 original by USA for Africa. That iconic hit has sold 316,000 digital copies. Of course, digital downloading didn't exist when the original "We Are The World" was a smash. And the original was a phenomenal seller as a vinyl single. In April 1985, it was certified for U.S. sales of 4 million copies.

I mentioned last week that "We Are The World: 25 For Haiti" features everyone from Justin Bieber, 15, to Tony Bennett, 83. Many of you probably think of Tony Bennett as "the old guy" who shows up at events like this or the Grammy Awards. You may be surprised to learn that Bennett was just 24 when he landed his first top 10 hit on Billboard's Best Sellers chart in July 1951 with "Because Of You." He was 25 when that smash and his version of Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart" were back-to-back #1 pop hits that fall. This just goes to show: If you're talented and distinctive enough (and lucky too), you can go from being "the young guy" to "the old guy." (Mr. Bieber, let it be an inspiration to you.)

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

1. Sade, Soldier Of Love, 191,000. The album holds at #1 for the second week. The album sold 26,000 digital copies, making it the #1 Digital Album for the second week. "Soldier Of Love" drops from #54 to #82 on Hot Digital Songs.

2. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, 144,000. The former #1 album holds at #2 for the second week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Need You Now," which rebounds from #5 to #4.

3. The Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D., 67,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #8 to #3 in its 37th week. This is its 24th week in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Imma Be," which holds at #2.

4. Lady Gaga, The Fame, 63,000. The album rebounds from #7 to #4 in its 69th week. This is its 35th week in the top 10. Six songs from the expanded version of the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Bad Romance," which hold at #7.

5. Lil Wayne, Rebirth, 59,000. The album slips from #4 to #5 in its third week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Knockout" (featuring Nicki Minaj), which drops from #32 to #45.

6. Susan Boyle, I Dreamed A Dream, 53,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #9 to #6 in its 13th week. It's the first album by a female artist to spend its first 13 weeks in the top 10 since Taylor Swift's Fearless, which spent its first 19 weeks in the top 10.

7. Alicia Keys, The Element Of Freedom, 40,000. The album rebounds from #12 to #7 in its 10th week. This is its seventh week in the top 10; its first since Jan. 24. "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart" dips from #87 to #93 on Hot Digital Songs.

8. Jaheim, Another Round, 35,000. The album slips from #3 to #8 in its second week. No songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs.

9. Josh Turner, Haywire, 34,000. The album slips from #5 to #9 in its second week. "Why Don't We Just Dance" drops from #46 to #61 on Hot Digital Songs.

10. Taylor Swift, Fearless, 32,000. The former #1 album holds at #10 for the second week. This is its 67th week on the chart; its 57th week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "You Belong With Me," which drops from #58 to #66.

Only one album drops out of the top 10 this week. tobyMac's Tonight slips from #6 to #16.

k.d. lang has one of the biggest hits of her 22-year career. Her version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," which she sang at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, jumps from #122 to #17 on Hot Digital Songs. It enters the Hot 100 at #61. lang's only previous Hot 100 hit is the Grammy-winning "Constant Craving," which reached #38 in 1992.

Incidentally, there are two other versions of "Hallelujah" on this week's Hot Digital Songs chart. Jeff Buckley's 1995 version (which has sold 1,086,000 digital copies) re-enters at #147. The Hope For Haiti Now version by Justin Timberlake & Matt Morris (featuring Charlie Sexton) drops from #100 to #159.

Gleemania has crossed the pond. Glee: Season One: The Music Volume 1 vaults to #1 in the U.K., three months after it debuted (and peaked) at #4 in the U.S. (Volume 2, which peaked at #3 in the U.S., is due for release in the U.K. on March 15.) The #1 single in the U.K. for the second week is Helping Haiti's cover of R.E.M.'s 1993 hit "Everybody Hurts."

Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel  dips from #18 to #19 on The Billboard 200. It's the #1 movie soundtrack for the sixth week...Michael Jackson's Number Ones dips from #47 to #50. It's the #1 Catalog Album for the 26th week.

A 10th anniversary reissue of Santana's Supernatural bows at #198, with sales of just 3,000 copies. It may have been too early to celebrate this album. Pearl Jam's Ten was 17 years old when the hit deluxe edition was released. Michael Jackson's Thriller was 25. Billy Joel's The Stranger was 30. And while Supernatural was a commercial blockbuster (and won a boat-load of Grammy Awards), it wasn't a widely-acknowledged classic like Thriller or The Stranger. Supernatural was by far Santana's biggest hit, but it was no match for the group's early albums Santana and Abraxas in terms of genre-bending, culture-enriching influence.

Shutter Island was #1 at the box-office over the weekend, replacing Valentine's Day. The Shutter Island soundtrack sold about 1,000 copies, not enough to make The Billboard 200. Robbie Robertson produced the album, which features Johnnie Ray's 1951 classic "Cry."

Song Scorecard: Taylor Swift this week becomes the first country artist (or, more precisely, country/pop crossover artist) with two songs that have sold 3 million or more digital copies. "You Belong With Me" tops the 3 million mark in paid downloads this week. "Love Story" has sold 4,396,000 digital copies...Zac Brown Band's zesty "Chicken Fried" tops the 2 million mark in paid downloads. The band was named Best New Artist at last month's Grammys.

Bon Jovi's 1987 smash "Livin' On A Prayer" this week becomes only the fourth song released prior to 1990 to top the 2 million mark in paid downloads. It follows Journey's 1981 hit "Don't Stop Believin'," which has sold 3,512,000 digital copies; Michael Jackson's 1984 smash "Thriller," which has sold 2,249,000; and Survivor's 1982 chart-topper "Eye Of The Tiger," which has sold 2,118,000.

Three more pre-1990 songs are closing in on the 2 million mark. These are Queen's 1976 smash "Bohemian Rhapsody," which has sold 1,991,000 copies; Lynyrd Skynyrd's 1974 hit "Sweet Home Alabama," which has sold 1,959,000; and Guns N Roses' 1988 chart-topper "Sweet Child O' Mine," which has sold 1,917,000.

Heads Up: Johnny Cash's American VI: Ain't No Grave is expected to be next week's top new entry, with sales in the range of 30,000 to 35,000. That would probably put it in the top 10. This is Cash's final album in the career-capping American series. The most recent installment, American V: A Hundred Highways, reached #1 in 2006. Also due: Alkaline Trio's This Addiction and Chayanne's No Hay Imposibles.

A Final Thought: Tony Bennett isn't the first music legend to go from being "the young guy" to "the old guy." Irving Berlin, who was probably the most successful songwriter of all time, was just 23 when he had his first smash hit, "Alexander's Ragtime Band." He lived to be 101.

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