Chart Watch

Week Ending June 27, 2010: Eminem Tops Garth

Chart Watch

Eminem's Recovery enters The Billboard 200 at #1 with first-week sales of 741,000. That's the biggest one-week sales tally since AC/DC's Black Ice stormed on to the chart with sales of 784,000 in October 2008. Recovery is Eminem's fourth album to achieve weekly sales north of 700K. It follows The Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show and Encore.

Eminem is the first artist in Nielsen/SoundScan history (which dates to 1991) to top the 700K plateau in weekly sales with four albums. Runner-up Garth Brooks topped that mark with three albums: The Hits, Sevens and Double Live.

Recovery sold substantially more copies in its first week than Eminem's last album, Relapse, which opened with sales of 608K in June 2009. In just one week, Recovery is already #8 for the year-to-date.

Recovery is Eminem's sixth #1 album. Among rappers, only Jay-Z has had as many or more #1 albums (11). What's more, Recovery is Eminem's sixth consecutive album to reach #1. That's the longest string of consecutive #1 albums (in which every charted album made #1) since the Beatles had eight in a row from Beatles VI in 1965 to the so-called White Album in 1968. (Eminem had seven of the 22 tracks on Eminem Presents: The Re-Up, which peaked at #2 in 2006, but that was marketed as a Various Artists album.)

This week's hefty total for Recovery pushes Eminem from #10 to #9 on Nielsen/SoundScan's running list of the best-selling album artists in its history. (He pushes ahead of Pink Floyd on this list, which reflects sales from 1991 to 2010.) Eminem has sold 36,519,000 albums, which makes him the top rapper on the list. He is way ahead of Jay-Z, who is #27 overall with sales of 27,888,000 albums.

Recovery sold 255,000 digital copies. Only one album has ever sold more digital copies in one week. That's Coldplay's Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends, which sold 288,000 digital copies in its first week in June 2008.

Eminem is also breaking records on the digital song front. "Love The Way You Lie," Eminem's collabo with Rihanna, sold 338,000 copies this week.  It's Eminem's third song to achieve one-week sales of 300K. "Crack A Bottle," his all-star collaboration with Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, opened with sales of 418,000 in February 2009. "Not Afraid" opened with sales of 379,000 in May. Eminem is the only artist who has topped 300K in weekly sales with three songs. Flo Rida, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift have each topped 300K with two songs.

"Love The Way You Lie" enters Hot Digital Songs at #1. It enters the Hot 100 at #2, behind "California Gurls" by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg, which logs its fourth week on top. "Love The Way You Lie" may yet reach the top spot. It would be Eminem's third #1 on the Hot 100 in 18 months, following "Crack A Bottle" and "Not Afraid." This is noteworthy because in his first 10 years of recording, Eminem notched just one #1, 2002's monster hit "Lose Yourself." This would be the second time that Rihanna is featured on a #1 hit by a rap star. She was featured on T.I.'s 2008 smash "Live Your Life."

Eminem's 741K debut comes on the heels of Drake's 447K bow last week. This marks the first time that albums have debuted with sales north of 400,000 in back-to-back weeks since November and December 2008, when Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Kanye West and Britney Spears all opened with sales of 400K or more in successive weeks.

T-Pain recently told, "Ain't nobody selling records unless you Susan Boyle." His one-liner was so provocative it was even picked up in TIME Magazine. While T-Pain was moaning about soft sales, Drake and Eminem were busy making themselves exceptions to the overall trend. Good for them.

Recovery also debuts at #1 in the U.K. this week. It sold nearly 140K in that market, which constitutes the best-one tally in the U.K. so far this year. It's Eminem's sixth straight album to hit #1 in the U.K. Eminem has sold more than 7.5 million albums in the U.K.

Pop Quiz: Eminem's only album to fall short of #1 was his 1999 debut, The Slim Shady LP, which logged three weeks at #2. Name the two albums that blocked it from the top spot. Answer below.

The back-to-back albums Relapse and Recovery mark the second time that Eminem has told a story in the titles of successive albums. He did the same thing with The Eminem Show, Encore and Curtain Call: The Hits. Kanye West picked up on this trick with the titles of his successive albums The College Dropout, Late Registration and Graduation.

If Recovery winds up in Nielsen/SoundScan's top 10 for 2010 (which it almost certainly will), this will be the fifth year that Eminem has had an album in research firm's year-end top 10. The Marshall Mathers LP was the #2 seller of 2000, The Eminem Show was the #1 seller of 2002, Encore was the #3 seller of 2004, and Relapse was the #8 seller of 2009.

Eminem has won the Grammy for Best Rap Album four times, more than any other artist. He'll probably be in the running again this year when the nominations are announced at the end of the year. But the competition this year is fierce. Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3 and Drake's Thank Me Later are also front-runners. Ludacris' Battle Of The Sexes and B.o.B's B.o.B Presents The Adventures Of Bobby Ray are also in the mix. Who will take home the trophy? Discuss amongst yourselves.

The Fine Print: Because acts sometimes release oddities that have no chance of hitting #1, let me add a few names to the discussion in the third paragraph. Elton John had seven consecutive #1 albums from 1972 to 1975 if you discount a reissue of his debut album. Jay-Z has hit #1 with his last seven albums if you discount the three-CD The Blueprint: Collector's Edition and reboots of two albums. And Michael Jackson had six straight #1 albums if you discount a few Motown repackages and a couple of HIStory knock-offs and give him credit for Number Ones being a #1 album.

Quiz Answer: The two albums that kept The Slim Shady LP from hitting the #1 spot were TLC's Fanmail and Britney Spears' ...Baby One More Time.

"California Gurls" by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg this week becomes only the second song in digital history to sell 300,000 digital copies four times. Flo Rida's "Right Round" was the first. "California Gurls" sold 302,000 copies this week, bringing its seven-week total to 2,110,000. The song took just seven weeks to top the 2 million mark, which is the second fastest pace in digital history. Again, only "Right Round" got there faster (five weeks).

"California Gurls" is a terrific single, but I have one complaint. The record makes California sound like the sexiest and most dynamic place on earth. It will probably entice even more people to come here. It's getting kind of crowded. Could somebody please write a song about our clogged freeways and jammed parking lots?

"California Gurls" dips to #2 on Hot Digital Songs, but it debuts at #1 in the U.K. This marks the first time the golden word "California" has appeared in the title of a U.K. #1, though I should note that Scott McKenzie's hippie classic "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair") hit #1 in the U.K. in the Summer of Love (1967). "California Gurls" is Perry's second British #1, following "I Kissed A Girl." It's Snoop's first.

 "Airplanes" by B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams dips from #2 to #3 on Hot Digital Songs with sales of 196,000. This is its 10th consecutive week in the top three. "OMG" by Usher featuring dips from #3 to #4 (175,000), while "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars dips from #4 to #5 (170,000).

Drake's Thank Me Later dips to #2 on The Billboard 200 in its second week. The album sold 157,000 copies this week, bringing its two-week total to 604,000. It's already #12 for the year-to-date.

Miley Cyrus' Can't Be Tamed debuts at #3, with first-week sales of 102,000. This is Cyrus' third strictly-solo album release. It follows Breakout, which debuted at #1 in July 2008 with first-week sales of 371,000, and The Times Of Our Life, which debuted at #3 in August 2009 with first-week sales of just 62,000. (That EP subsequently rose to #2 and sold more than 1 million).

Ozzy Osbourne's Scream debuts at #4. It's the eighth top 10 album of Osborne's career. He first made the grade in September 1971 with Black Sabbath's Master Of Reality. He has made the top 10 at least once in each subsequent decade.

The Roots' How I Got Over debuts at #6. It's the veteran hip-hop group's first album since they became the house band for NBC's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Neither Paul Shaffer or Max Weinberg, the previous band leaders for Late Night, has made The Billboard 200, but three band leaders for the show's legendary lead-in, The Tonight Show, have charted: Skitch Henderson, Doc Severinsen and Branford Marsalis.

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

1. Eminem, Recovery, 741,000. This new entry is Eminem's sixth consecutive album to reach #1. It will probably have three weeks on top, which would be his best showing since Encore, which had four. Twelve songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Love The Way You Lie" (featuring Rihanna), which debuts at #1.

2. Drake, Thank Me Later, 157,000. The former #1 album dips to #2 in its second week. Seven songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Find Your Love," which dips from #8 to #9.

3. Miley Cyrus, Can't Be Tamed, 102,000. This new entry is Cyrus' eighth album to make the top three in less than four years (counting Hannah Montana albums). Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Can't Be Tamed," which jumps from #16 to #12.

4. Ozzy Osbourne, Scream, 81,000. This new entry is Osbourne's seventh solo album to make the top 10. "Let Me Hear You Scream" enters Hot Digital Songs at #155.

5. Various Artists, NOW 34, 55,000. The compilation dips from #4 to #5 in its second week. This brings its sales to 143,000 after two weeks.

6. The Roots, How I Got Over, 51,000. This new entry is the hip-hop group's fifth top 10 album. It notched its first, Things Fall Apart, in 1999.

7. Jack Johnson, To The Sea, 44,000. The former #1 album dips from #5 to #6 in its fourth week. "You And Your Heart" dips from #147 to #151 on Hot Digital Songs.

8. Justin Bieber, My World 2.0, 43,000. The former #1 album dips from #7 to #8 in its 14th week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Somebody To Love," which jumps from #28 to #23.

9. Sarah McLachlan, Laws Of Illusion, 38,000. The album drops from #3 to #9 in its second week. This brings its sales to 132,000 after two weeks.

10. Various Artists, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 38,000. The album drops from #6 to #10 in its fourth week. It's the #1 movie or TV soundtrack for the second week in a row.

Lady Antebellum's Need You Now drops from #8 to #12 in its 22nd week. This is the first time that the album has dropped out of the top 10, though it's still #1 on the country chart. It's the first album to rank #1 on Top Country Albums in each of its first 22 weeks since Garth Brooks' Ropin' The Wind, which was on top in each of its first 29 weeks in 1991-1992.

Three other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' Mojo drops from #2 to #11, Christina Aguilera's Bionic drops from #9 to #22, and Glee: The Music, Journey To Regionals drops from #10 to #19.

Keith Sweat's Ridin' Solo debuts at #13. Sweat first cracked the top 15 in April 1988 with his debut album, Make It Last Forever. ..Jaron and the Long Road To Love's Getting Dressed In The Dark debuts at #16. Jaron Lowenstein first recorded with his identical twin brother Evan in the duo Evan and Jaron. Their song "Crazy For This Girl" was a top 15 hit on the Hot 100 in 2001.

Cyndi Lauper's Memphis Blues debuts at #26. Lauper's 1983 debut album, She's So Unusual, logged 21 weeks in the top 10 and spawned four top five hits. Better yet: More than 25 years later, she's still in the game.

Chris Tomlin's Hello Love leaps from #51 to #31. It moves up to #1 on Top Catalog Albums, replacing the Rolling Stones' Exile On Main St. This is the second time this year that the Contemporary Christian star has had the #1 catalog album. His See The Light topped the chart for four weeks in March and April.

Michael Jackson's Number Ones vaults from #100 to #42 due to the focus on the one-year anniversary of his death. Jackson's albums sold a combined total of 43,000 copies last week.

Herbie Hancock's The Imagine Project debuts at #54. This is Hancock's follow-up to River: The Joni Letters, which won a Grammy as Album of the Year for 2007. In February 2008, the week after its Grammy win, it vaulted from #159 to #5 on The Billboard 200. It was the first top 10 album of Hancock's 45-year career.

The Broadway Revival Cast Album to Promises, Promises, with Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth, debuts at #60. This is higher than the show's original cast album, which peaked at #95 in 1969. Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote the show in 1968 when they were at the top of their game. (And Bacharach and David at the top of their game is about as good as it gets in pop music). Two songs from the show became top 20 hits for Dionne Warwick: the title song and the instant-standard "I'll Never Fall In Love Again."

Song Scorecard: Two recent pop smashes, Miley Cyrus' "Party In The U.S.A." and Train's "Hey, Soul Sister," both top the 4 million mark in paid downloads this week. Cyrus is the youngest artist to land a 4 million digital seller. Cyrus, 17, swipes the title from Taylor Swift, 20.

"Forever" by Drake featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem tops the 2 million mark in paid downloads this week. I like the sense of community in rap, evidenced by three of the biggest rappers in the business supporting a hot newcomer (and potential rival).

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's London Calling Live In Hyde Park enters Top DVDs/Music Videos at #1, with first-week sales of 27,000. The title is an homage to The Clash's classic 1980 album, London Calling. Classic rock acts sweep the top three spots on this week's DVD chart. The Rolling Stones' Stones In Exile vaults from #47 to #2. U2's U2 360 At The Rose Bowl slips to #3 after three weeks on top.

Toy Story 3 was #1 at the box-office for the second straight weekend. This is the fifth time in the past six weekends that an animated movie has come out on top. Shrek Forever After was #1 for three weekends, before yielding to the live-action The Karate Kid.

Raw Numbers: A total of 6,062,000 albums were sold last week.

Heads Up: The-Dream's Love King is expected to be next week's top new entry with sales of about 55,000. That will put it somewhere around #5. The-Dream's previous album, Love Vs. Money, debuted and peaked at #2 in March 2009. 3OH!3's Streets Of Gold will start with sales of about 40,000. That will put it around #6. Also due: Scissor Sisters' Night Work, Kenny G's Heart And Soul and Dwele's W.ants W.orld W.omen.

Shameless Plug: On Thursday or Friday, I'll have a Chart Watch Extra in which I count down the top 20 songs and the top 10 albums of the first six months of 2010. Only two acts appears in the top five on both lists. Who could they be?


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