Chart Watch

Week Ending July 18, 2010: Boomer Icons Invade Top 10

Chart Watch

Sting's Symphonicities enters The Billboard 200 at #6. It's the latest in a long line of albums by artists whose careers date back to the 1970s (or even earlier) to crack the top 10 this year. It follows Barry Manilow's Greatest Love Songs Of All Time (#5 in January), AC/DC's Iron Man 2 (#4 in April), Jimmy Buffett's Encores (#7 in April), Carole King/James Taylor's Live At The Troubadour (#4 in May), the Rolling Stones' Exile On Main St (#2 in May), Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' Mojo (#2 in June) and Ozzy Osbourne's Scream (#4 in July).

And I'm not even counting two albums by artists who have passed away (which takes some of the kick out of having a top 10 album). Johnny Cash's American VI: Ain't No Grave hit #3 in February. The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Valleys Of Neptune reached #4 in March.

Cash first cracked what is now The Billboard 200 in the 1950s. The Stones and Hendrix first made it in the '60s. All the rest of these acts first scored in the '70s.

Why are so many veteran artists landing top 10 albums? Their core fans are the consumers who are most loyal to the album format. They grew up on (and may even still have their worn vinyl copies of) Back In Black, Tapestry, Sweet Baby James, Are You Experienced?, Damn The Torpedoes and Master Of Reality.

Symphonicities features orchestral versions of Sting's biggest hits, with backing by London's Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. It's Sting's 10th top 10 album as a solo artist. He has amassed more than twice as many top 10 albums on his own as he did in The Police. He had four top 10 albums in that classic pop/rock trio.

The title of the new album is a play on Synchronicity, the title of the Police's most successful album. Synchronicity was #1 for 17 weeks in 1983, second only to Michael Jackson's Thriller, which logged 22 weeks at #1 that year (and 15 more weeks in 1984).

Symphonicities debuts at #1 on the Classical Crossover Albums chart. Sting topped that chart for five weeks with his 2009 holiday album If On A Winter's Night... Sting topped the Traditional Classical Albums chart for four weeks in 2006 with Songs From The Labyrinth. Sting has a long history of flirting with classical music. His 1986 hit "Russians" sampled a melody from a suite by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.

Eminem's Recovery sold 195,000 copies this week, bringing its four-week total to 1,482,000. It's already #2 for the year to date, trailing only Lady Antebellum's Need You Now (2,410,000). In just four weeks, Recovery has sold more copies than Justin Bieber's My World 2.0 has sold in 17 weeks (1,471,000).

Recovery  logs its fourth straight week at #1. It's the third album to spend four weeks on top so far this year, following Need You Now and My World 2.0. Recovery is the first rap album to log four weeks at #1 since 50 Cent's The Massacre had six weeks on top in 2005. It's Eminem's first album to spend four weeks at #1 since Encore in 2004.

Recovery is the first album to log four consecutive weeks at #1 since Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream (which had six weeks in a row on top in late 2009).

Recovery sold 49,000 digital copies this week, bringing its four-week total to 446,000. It's already the eighth best-selling digital album of all time. How high will it go on the all-time list? Stay tuned. The album also returns to #1 in the U.K., booting Kylie Minogue's Aphrodite out of the top spot.

"Love The Way You Lie" by Eminem featuring Rihanna this week becomes only the third song in digital history to top 300,000 in weekly sales three times. It follows Flo Rida's "Right Round" and "California Gurls" by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg, each of which topped 300K four times. "Love The Way You Lie" sold 352K this week (its heftiest sum to date), bringing its four-week total to 1,288,000.

"Love The Way You Lie" moves up to #1 on the Hot 100, displacing "California Gurls." It also tops Hot Digital Songs for the fourth straight week. This is Eminem's longest run at #1 on this chart, surpassing "Just Lose It," which had three weeks on top in 2004. (Em's biggest hit, 2002's "Lose Yourself," pre-dated the advent of digital charts.)

As of this week, the tracks on Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster album have sold a combined total of 25,054,000 digital copies. That's more than any other album in history. Tracks from the Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D. (Deluxe Edition) have sold a combined total of 18,112,000 copies. Tracks from Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded have sold a combined total of 17,081,000 copies.

Shameless Plug: In the next week, I'll have a list of the 20 albums whose songs have sold the most total digital copies. I just gave you the top three, but I have a lot more where those came from. This isn't a list of big album sellers, but of albums whose songs have dominated the digital marketplace. I have never seen such a list. So I dug into the Nielsen/SoundScan database and created one.

Shameless Plug II: I'll also have a Chart Watch Extra in the next few days which looks at the pop/rap collaborations that have dominated the chart this year. B.o.B, Ludacris, Jay-Z and Usher have all used the genre-bending formula to land multiple hits this year.

Korn doesn't have a fraction of the media profile of a Sting or an Eminem, but the California-based band sells a lot of albums. Korn III: Remember Who You Are debuts at #2, becoming the band's 10th top 10 album. (Were it not for an incidental release, 2006's Live & Rare, this would be its 10th consecutive top 10 album.) Korn has sold 18,669,000 albums. Yet the band has had only one top 40 single on the Hot 100: "Did My Time" from the 2003 movie Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life. (And that stalled at #38.)

Pop Quiz: Korn has won two Grammys, including one for Best Short Form Music Video. What Korn video did Grammy voters consider award worthy? Answer below.

Jerrod Niemann's first major-label album, Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury, debuts at #7. It enters Top Country Albums at #1, dethroning Lady Antebellum's Need You Now after 24 weeks on top. Niemann has written three songs for Garth Brooks. He's also written for such artists as Jamey Johnson and Neal McCoy.

Lady A's album was the first album to spend its first 24 weeks at #1 since Brooks' Ropin' The Wind spent its first 29 weeks at #1 in 1991-1992. Need You Now will doubtless return to #1 on the country chart, but it is no longer in the chase for this particular record (Garth pun intended).

M.I.A.'s MAYA debuts at #9. The singer's breakthrough smash "Paper Planes" returns to Hot Digital Songs. It has sold 3,371,000 copies to date. The song was featured in two hit movies, Slumdog Millionaire and Pineapple Express. It received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year for 2008.

Quiz Answer: Korn won a Grammy for its 1999 video for "Freak On A Leash."

I told you that "Love The Way You Lie" holds at #1 on Hot Digital Songs for the fourth week. Here's the rest of this week's top 10. Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" jumps from #3 to #2 (221K). "California Gurls" slips from #2 to #3 (196K). "Airplanes" holds at #4 for the third week (166K). "I Like It" by Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull holds at #5 for the second week (163K). Mike Posner's "Cooler Than Me" jumps from #7 to #6 (160K). "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars dips from #6 to #7 (146K). Jason Derulo's "Ridin' Solo" holds at #8 for the fifth week (138K). Eminem's "Not Afraid" holds at #9 for the third week (134K). "OMG" by Usher featuring holds at #10 for the second week (116K).

Two songs that echo 1970s adult contemporary-style hits continue to do well. Shontelle's "Impossible" jumps from #12 to #11. The piano opening is so similar to Richard Carpenter's arrangement for the Carpenters' 1970 smash "We've Only Just Begun" that Shontelle should send him a thank you note. Michael Buble's "Haven't Met You Yet" tops the 1.5 million mark in paid downloads in its 41st week. The song has the irrepressibly happy vibe of such 1970s hits as Barry Manilow's "Daybreak" and Sammy Davis Jr.'s "The Candy Man." So, if you like Buble's song, download those two earlier hits and go nuts.

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

1. Eminem, Recovery, 195,000. The album holds at #1 for the fourth straight week. Six songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Love The Way You Lie" (featuring Rihanna), which holds at #1.

2. Korn, Korn III: Remember Who You Are, 63,000. This new entry is the band's 10th top 10 album. The band first cracked the top 10 in October 1996, when Life Is Peachy debuted at #3.

3. Drake, Thank Me Later, 50,000. The former #1 album dips from #2 to #3 in its fifth week. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Find Your Love," which dips from #11 to #12.

4. Newsboys, Born Again, 45,000. This new entry is the veteran Christian rock band's highest-charting album to date. Its previous best mark was #28 for 2009's In The Hands Of God. The band first charted in March 1996. This is its first release to feature dc Talk's Michael Tait on lead vocals.

5. Justin Bieber, My World 2.0., 41,000. The former #1 album holds at #5 in its 17th week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Somebody To Love," which drops from #14 to #22.

6. Sting, Symphonicities, 36,000. This new entry is Sting's 14th top 10 album (counting four albums with the Police).

7. Jerrod Niemann, Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury, 34,000. This new entry is Niemann's first top 10 album. "Lover, Lover" holds at #32 on Hot Digital Songs.

8. Hellyeah, Stampede, 28,000. This new entry is the second top 10 album for the metal band, which consists of members of such bands as Mudvayne and Pantera. Hellyeah hit #9 in April 2007.

9. M.I.A., MAYA,  28,000. This new entry is M.I.A.'s first top 10 album. Kala hit #18 in August 2007. The artist, who was born in England and raised in India, first charted in 2005. "Space" enters Hot Digital Songs at #107.

10. Various Artists, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 28,000. The album drops from #4 to #10 in its sixth week. It's the #1 theatrical movie soundtrack for the sixth week.

Six albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Big Boi's Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty dives from #3 to #14, NOW 34 drops from #6 to #12, Jack Johnson's To The Sea drops from #7 to #15, Lady Gaga's The Fame drops from #8 to #13, Lady Antebellum's Need You Now drops from #9 to #11, and Enrique Iglesias' Euphoria drops from #10 to #18.

Two of the album titles in this week's top 10 are recycled. The Notorious B.I.G. had a posthumous #1 album titled Born Again in December 1999. The Doobie Brothers had a top five album titled Stampede in 1975.

Live At The Troubadour by Carole King/James Taylor dips from #16 to #21. The King/Taylor tour was the third highest grossing tour of the first six months of 2010, according to Pollstar, which is to concert touring statistics what Nielsen/SoundScan is to record sales. The King/Taylor tour grossed $41 million in the first half of 2010, behind only to the Bon Jovi tour, which grossed 52.8 million, and the Eagles' tour, which grossed $48.1 million.

Chris Tomlin's 2008 album Hello Love dips from #36 to #37. It's #1 on Catalog Albums for the fourth straight week...The soundtrack to Inception debuts at #53. The movie was #1 at the box-office over the weekend, displacing Despicable Me. Hans Zimmer composed the score for Inception. He was the "score producer" on Despicable Me, which was scored by Heitor Pereira.

"My First Kiss" by 3OH!3 featuring Ke$ha tops the 1 million mark in paid downloads this week. It's the second million-seller of the year for the "brat-pop" pairing, following "Blah Blah Blah," which rang the bell in March. Two other songs top the 1 million mark in paid downloads this week. "Love The Way You Lie" by Eminem featuring Rihanna rings the bell in just its fourth week (which ties "California Gurls" by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg as the fastest-breaking million-seller of 2010). Mike Posner's "Cooler Than Me" reaches the mark in its 13th week.

"Airplanes" by B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams jumps to #1 in the U.K. It's B.o.B's second #1 in a row there, following "Nothin' On You" (featuring Bruno Mars). "Airplanes" just missed hitting #1 in the U.S. It reached #2 on the Hot 100 in June.

Heads Up: Rick Ross' Teflon Don is expected to sell around 180,000 copies next week. The only problem: Eminem's Recovery is expected to sell virtually the same amount. Check back on Wednesday and see whether Ross lands his fourth consecutive #1 album or Em has a fifth straight week on top. Also due: Sheryl Crow's 100 Miles From Memphis, Kidz Bop 18, Jonas Brothers' Jonas L.A. TV soundtrack, Brian Culbertson's XII and David Garrett's Rock Symphonies.

To My Readers: I normally respond to a dozen or so reader questions on Wednesday, but I wasn't able to do it until Thursday last week. So if you had a question for me, check last week's comments section. Green Day and Celine Dion were both represented, as usual, so all is right with the (chart) world.

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