Chart Watch (NEW)

Week Ending Feb. 26, 2012. Albums: Half of the Top 10

Chart Watch

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Between them, Whitney Houston and Adele have half of the albums in the top 10 on the Billboard 200. Houston has three. The Greatest Hits holds at #2, The Bodyguard soundtrack vaults from #38 to #6 and Whitney Houston leaps from #37 to #9. This is the best showing by any artist since the Beatles had five of the 10 best-selling albums in the U.S. in September 2009, after their catalog was digitally remastered. Two months before that, Michael Jackson had six of the 10 best-selling albums in the U.S. (for two weeks running) in the wake of his death.

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Adele has two albums in the top 10. 21 holds at #1 for the 22nd week. 19 drops from #4 to #7. For 21, this is the longest run at #1 by any album since Prince & the Revolution's Purple Rain soundtrack logged 24 weeks on top in 1984-1985. 21 is #1 for the ninth week in a row. It's the first album to log nine consecutive weeks at #1 since the Titanic soundtrack was on top for 16 straight weeks in 1998.

As of this week, 21 is the best-selling album in the U.S. since Usher's 2004 blockbuster Confessions. 21 has sold 7,649,000 copies, which enables it to surpass Nickelback's 2005 hit All The Right Reasons (7,577,000) to become the best-seller since Confessions (9,962,000).

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21 returns to #1 in the U.K. for a 21st week in the wake of the album winning big at the Brit Awards (the U.K. equivalent of the Grammys). 21 is only the second album to log 20 or more weeks at #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. It follows 1958's South Pacific soundtrack, which was #1 in the U.K. for 115 weeks and in the U.S. for 31 weeks. (The Rodgers & Hammerstein musical featured "Some Enchanted Evening" and "There Is Nothin' Like A Dame.")

Houston's 2000 compilation The Greatest Hits has now appeared in the top 10 more weeks since she died (three) than it did while she was alive (two).

Whitney Houston first made the top 10 in August 1985, when Ronald Reagan was President, Back To The Future was #1 at the box-office and The Golden Girls was two weeks away from its TV debut.

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This is the fourth calendar year in which The Bodyguard has appeared in the top 10 on The Billboard 200. It was #1 in both 1992 and 1993, and rebounded to #6 in March 1994, after it won a Grammy for Album of the Year. The Bodyguard isn't the first soundtrack to have such staying power. The Sound Of Music appeared in the top 10 every year for four straight years, from 1965 through 1968.

Pop Quiz: Julie Andrews starred in that classic 1965 movie. Andrews and Houston have something else in common. What? Answer below.

Since 1963, when Billboard combined separate mono and stereo charts into one comprehensive listing, one other album has appeared in the top 10 in four calendar years. Shania Twain's Come On Over scored every year from 1997 through 2000. If catalog albums had been eligible for the big chart (as they are now), Michael Jackson's Thriller would have made it, too. It was #1 in both 1983 and 1984 and would have climbed to #2 in both 2008 (thanks to the Thriller 25 deluxe edition) and 2009.

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You may be surprised to learn that The Bodyguard didn't debut at #1 when it was released in November 1992. It opened at #2, behind Ice Cube's The Predator. The Predator was the first rap album ever to debut at #1. The fact that it outsold The Bodyguard, with that monster single (which was in its second week at #1 on the Hot 100), sent a powerful signal to the music industry that rap wasn't going away; indeed that it was big and getting bigger.

The Bodyguard is #1 on the Top Soundtracks chart for the 45th week. The album was the top-ranked soundtrack on The Billboard 200 for 44 weeks from 1992 into 1994.

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Quiz Answer: Julie Andrews and Whitney Houston both starred in TV productions of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Andrews played the title role in the landmark 1957 production. Houston played the fairy godmother in a 1997 remake. (I'll also accept as a correct answer that they each took a second movie soundtrack to #1. Andrews scored with Mary Poppins, Houston with Waiting To Exhale.)

Sudden Thought: Houston must surely be the first performer to appear in the "In Memoriam" segment on two major award shows (the Grammys and the Oscars) within 15 days of her death.

This week marks the first time that four or more catalog albums have ranked among the 10 best-selling albums in the U.S. since September 2009, when five Beatles albums crowded the top 10. Houston's The Greatest Hits is #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the third straight week.

Houston has three other albums in the top 40. Her 2009 album I Look To You vaults from #65 to #16, her 1998 album My Love Is Your Love vaults from #193 to #30 and her 1990 album I'm Your Baby Tonight re-enters at #39.

Tyga's sophomore album, Careless World: Rise Of The Last King, debuts at #4. The album sold 61,000 copies, all but 10K of them digital. The physical copies of the album were pulled because the label had failed to get clearance on a sample of a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But 10K physical copies got through to customers. Collectors' items!

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Taylor Swift's Speak Now topped the 4 million mark in U.S. sales last week.  This week it advances to 4,015,000. All three of Swift's regular studio albums have reached this plateau. Taylor Swift has sold 5,170,000 copies. Fearless has sold 6,507,000. Swift is the first female solo artist to top the 4 million mark with three studio albums in a row in a decade. Britney Spears did it with her first three albums, which were released from 1999 to 2001. Shania Twain did it with three albums in a row released between 1995 and 2002.

"We Are Young" by fun. featuring Janelle Monae is #1 on Hot Digital Songs for the second time in three weeks. Will it also reach #1 on the Hot 100? Three songs zoom into the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs. The Wanted's "Glad You Came" leaps from #19 to #3, B.o.B's "So Good" debuts at #6 and "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra leaps from #17 to #8. Which of these, if any, will crack the top 10 on the Hot 100? 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, 297,000. The album logs its 22nd week at #1. This is its 53rd week in the top 10. The album sold 65K digital copies this week, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums for the 15th week. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Set Fire To The Rain," which dips from #4 to #5.

2. Whitney Houston, The Greatest Hits, 174,000. The album holds at #2 in its 32nd week. This is the album's fifth week in the top 10. Eight Houston songs are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "I Will Always Love You," which drops from #2 to #13.

3. fun., Some Nights, 70,000. This new entry is the pop trio's second studio album; its first to make the top 10. Aim And Ignite reached #71 in 2009. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "We Are Young" (featuring Janelle Monae) is #1 for the second time in the past three weeks. "Some Nights" debuts at #36.

4. Tyga, Careless World: Rise Of The Last King, 61,000. This new entry is the rapper's second album; his first to make the top 10. His 2008 debut, No Introduction, peaked at #112. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Rack City," which drops from #14 to #16.

5.  Various Artists, Now 41, 54,000. The album drops from #3 to #5 in its third week. The album has sold 290K copies.

6. Whitney Houston, The Bodyguard soundtrack, 47,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #38 to #6 in its 144th week. This is its 41st week in the top 10. It's #1 on Top Soundtracks for the 45th week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "I Will Always Love You" drops from #2 to #13. "I Have Nothing" drops from #38 to #139.

7. Adele, 19, 39,000. The album drops from #4 to #7 in its 123rd week. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Make You Feel My Love" drops from #108 to #149. "Chasing Pavements" drops from #96 to #165.

8. Chiddy Bang, Breakfast, 31,000. This new entry is the first full-length album by the alternative hip-hop duo. A 2010 EP, Chiddy Bang: The Preview, reached #76. "Handclaps & Guitars" enters Hot Digital Songs at #122.

9. Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston, 30,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #37 to #9 in its 166th week. This is its 47th week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Greatest Love Of All" drops from #20 to #97. "How Will I Know" drops from #36 to #142.

10. Various Artists, Grammy Nominees 2012, 29,000. The album drops from #5 to #9 in its fifth week. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. The album has sold 251K copies.

Lady Antebellum's Own The Night drops from #9 to #19. It is, however, #1 on Top Country Albums for the 11th week. Four other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Van Halen's A Different Kind Of Truth drops from #6 to #11, Paul McCartney's Kisses On The Bottom drops from #7 to #20, Bruno Mars' Doo-Wops & Hooligans drops from #8 to #24, and The Civil Wars' Barton Hollow drops from #10 to #31.

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Sleigh Bells' Reign Of Terror debuts at #12…The Chieftains' Voice Of Ages debuts at #17, becoming the highest-charting album to date for the Irish folk group. The group's previous highest charting album was The Long Black Veil, which hit #22 in 1995. The group first charted in 1976 with The Chieftains 5.

Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV dips from #39 to #42 in its 26th week. The album topped the 2 million mark last week. The album still has a ways to go to catch Tha Carter III (3,715,000), but it has already surpassed Tha Carter (1,272,000) and Tha Carter II (1,748,000). Only one other rap series has achieved comparable success: Jay-Z's The Blueprint. Here's where the three installments in that series stand: The Blueprint (2,711,000), The Blueprint 2: The Gift And The Curse (2,117,000) and The Blueprint 3 (1,909,000).

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Act Of Valor was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. The soundtrack debuts at #47.

The Muppets soundtrack re-enters the chart at #113 in the wake of Bret McKenzie's "Man Or Muppet" winning an Oscar for Best Original Song. The soundtrack debuted and peaked at #38 in November. McKenzie won a Grammy four years ago as part of Flight of the Conchords. Their EP The Distant Future was voted Best Comedy Album of 2007. McKenzie has received six Emmy nominations (but no wins) for his work on the HBO series Flight Of The Conchords.

The Artist soundtrack sold a little more than 1,000 copies in the wake of the film winning five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Original Score for composer Ludovic Bource. The album has sold fewer than 8K copies to date. I wonder why.

Adele's Live At The Royal Albert Hall is #1 on Top Music Videos for the 13th straight week. The DVD sold 31K copies this week, bringing its total to 680K.

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Coming Attractions: An eponymous album by WZRD is expected to be next week's top new entry, with sales in the 70K range. (But you-know-who will still be #1.) WZRD is an alternative rock duo consisting of Kid Cudi and producer Dot da Genius. Also due: Estelle's All Of Me, Lyle Lovett's Release Me, the Cranberries' Roses, Maino's Day After Tomorrow and a reissue of Pink Floyd's The Wall.


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