Chart Watch

Week Ending March 30, 2008: Roll Over Elvis (And Tell The Beatles The News)

Chart Watch

Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" vaults from #15 to #1 on Billboard's Hot 100. It's Carey's 18th #1 single, which pushes her ahead of Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most #1 singles in the rock era (1955 to the present). Only the Beatles have had more. They scored 20.

Carey first topped the Hot 100 in August 1990 with "Vision Of Love." Elvis first topped the Top 100 (the precursor to the Hot 100) in 1956 with "Heartbreak Hotel." He scored his 17th and last #1 in 1969 with "Suspicious Minds." The Beatles crammed their 20 #1 hits into a commercially and creatively unsurpassed 6-1/2 year stretch, from "I Want To Hold Your Hand" in 1964 to "The Long And Winding Road" in 1970.

Diana Ross is tied with Carey at 18 #1 hits, if you combine her 12 chart-toppers with the Supremes and the six from her solo career. Michael Jackson is a beat behind with 17, if you combine his four #1 hits fronting the Jackson 5 and the 13 from his solo career. Other artists with 10 or more #1 hits are: Madonna, 12; Whitney Houston, 11; and Janet Jackson and George Michael, 10 each.

(Some key sources show Presley with 18 #1 hits. That's because his 1956 smash "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog" was a two-sided hit.)

In addition, "Touch My Body" debuts at #1 on the Hot Digital Songs chart. The hit registered 286,000 paid downloads this week--the fourth highest weekly total in digital history. (It's the highest total outside of Christmas week.)

But that's only half the story of Carey's dream week. She also becomes only the third artist--and the first woman--to top the 50 million mark in album sales, as measured by Nielsen/SoundScan. As of this week, she has sold 50,004,000 albums since the scanning service set up shop in May 1991. She trails Garth Brooks, who has sold 67,774,000 albums since that date, and the Beatles, whose tally in this period stands at 56,110,000.

Carey will not be the only 50-million selling woman for long. Celine Dion's career total stands at 49,951,000, which puts in her fourth place overall. Dion will top the 50 million mark in three or four weeks. Of course, by then Carey will have added significantly to her total with her new studio album, E=MC2, which is due on April 15. The opening week numbers for Carey to beat are 375,000 (the current record opening for 2008, held by Jack Johnson's Sleep Through The Static) and 404,000 (Carey's best opening week to date, set by her last album, The Emancipation Of Mimi).

Metallica is in fifth place on Nielsen/SoundScan's list of top-selling album artists, with cumulative sales of 48,867,000. The veteran hard rock band is due to release a new album later this year, so they'll probably top the 50 million mark before the year is out. The rest of the top 10 artists in Nielsen/SoundScan history are, in order: George Strait (39,403,000), Tim McGraw (36,657,000), Alan Jackson (35,654,000), Pink Floyd (34,665,000) and Shania Twain (33,591,000).

Now, let's turn to this week's album chart. In an unusual hand-off, Day26, the 2007 winners of MTV's reality show Making The Band, replaces Danity Kane, the show's 2006 champs, at #1. Diddy assembled both groups.

This isn't the first time a TV series has been the driving force behind back-to-back #1 albums. In February 1967, The Monkees was replaced at #1 by More Of The Monkees.

Making The Band still has a ways to go to catch Fox's American Idol, the leader in terms of TV series that have generated the most #1 albums. Idol has been responsible for five chart-topping albums, by Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Daughtry and Carrie Underwood. (Curiously, none of them has had more than one #1 album, while Danity Kane, from a far less-watched new-talent showcase, has.)

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

1. Day26, Day26, 190,000. This is the highest opening week tally for a debut album since Taylor Hicks' Taylor Hicks, which opened in December 2006 with sales of 298,000. It's the first debut album reach #1 since Daughtry's Daughtry a year ago. It's the first debut album to enter the chart at #1 since Danity Kane in August  2006. (In all three cases, I'm discounting Miley Cyrus' Meet Miley Cyrus, which was bundled with the Hannah Montana 2 soundtrack. That double-album opened at #1 with sales of 326,000 last July.) Day26 is scaling the Hot Digital Songs chart with two hits, "Got Me Going" at #59 and "Exclusive (No Excuses)" at #96.

2. Panic At The Disco, Pretty. Odd., 139,000. This has already surpassed the group's 2005 debut album A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, which opened at a lowly #112 and peaked at #13 eight months later. The group's "Nine In The Afternoon" jumps from #33 to #24 on Hot Digital Songs.

3. Counting Crows, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, 106,000. This is the band's second highest-charting album, topped only by Recovering The Satellites, which opened at #1 in 1996. Of course, peak positions don't tell the whole story. The group's 1994 debut album, August And Everything After, is its best seller by far (sales to date: 5,962,000), but it peaked at #4 on the weekly charts.

4. Danity Kane, Welcome To The Dollhouse, 89,000. The female quintet drops from the #1 spot, with a 62% sales decline. But its hit "Damaged" moves up a notch to #14 on Hot Digital Songs.

5. Various Artists, Now 27, 67,000. This compilation has sold 406,000 in its first three weeks. Not bad, except when you consider that eight previous installments in the long-running Now series opened with sales in excess of that number. Remember the Buggles' "Video Killed The Radio Star"? Here's the contemporary equivalent-"iTunes killed the Now franchise." Or, at least, weakened it.

6. Rick Ross, Trilla, 51,000. Call him Mr. Ross. The Florida-based rapper has sold 341,000 copies after three weeks. That's slightly ahead of the pace of his 2006 debut album, Port Of Miami, which sold 324,000 in its first three weeks. "The Boss," Ross' collabo with T-Pain (only Ryan Seacrest can pull that word off) is #43 on Hot Digital Songs.

7. The Raconteurs, Consolers of the Lonely, 42,000. Between this side project and his primary gig in the White Stripes, Jack White has amassed five top 10 albums in five years. That's a lot of mainstream success for a musician who is still generally thought of as alternative. The Raconteurs' 2006 debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers, also peaked at #7. The Stripes made the top 10 with Elephant in 2003, Get Behind Me Satan in 2005 and Icky Thump in 2007.

8. Jack Johnson, Sleep Through The Static, 37,000. The mellow dude's album has sold 975,000 copies, more than any other album in this week's top 10.

9. Flo Rida, Mail On Sunday, 34,000. That number pales next to the 176,000 downloads that the Florida-based rapper sold this week alone of his three current hits, "Low," "Elevator" and "Roll." All three hits continue to reside in the top 30 on Hot Digital Songs.

10. Sara Bareilles, Little Voice, 31,000.  "Love Song" this week tops the 2 million mark in paid downloads. The smash slips to #12 on Hot Digital Songs, ending a 15-week run in the top 10.

Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Snoop Dogg's Ego Trippin' falls from #7 to #13, Taylor Swift's Taylor Swift falls from #8 to #14, Miley Cyrus' Best Of Both Worlds Concert drops from #10 to #20, and Cyrus' Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus TV soundtrack plunges from #6 to #23.

The B-52's Funplex just misses the top 10, opening at #11. This is the party-minded group's best showing since Cosmic Thing reached #4 in March 1990 and spawned two #3 hits on the Hot 100, "Love Shack" and "Roam." Of course, this is only the group's second studio album since Cosmic Thing. Good Stuff went top 20 in 1992.

Enrique Iglesias' 95/08 Exitos opens at #18. It's his second Spanish language album to make the top 20, following Quizas, which opened at #12 in 2002. Two other albums debut in the top 40. WWE The Music Vol. 8 opens at #24 and Simon & Garfunkel's Live 1969 bows at #33. This is Simon & Garfunkel's fourth live album, which is a lot considering they released only five regular studio albums.

When Superstars Collide: "4 Minutes," the first single from Madonna's forthcoming album, Hard Candy, is off to a fast start. The song, which features Justin Timberlake, vaults from #113 to #2 on Hot Digital Songs. It was blocked from the top spot by the first single from Mariah Carey's upcoming album. These two instant smashes push last week's #1, Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love," down to #3. But "Bleeding Love" has that Grammy vibe, so expect to hear it on the kudocast next February. On the Hot 100, Usher's "Love In This Club" holds at #2, with Madonna surging from #68 to #3 and Leona Lewis slipping to #4.

Chart Matters: This is Madonna's 37th top 10 hit on the Hot 100. This either approaches, ties or surpasses Elvis Presley's record. The confusion stems from the multiple charts that appeared in Billboard prior to the launch of the magazine's definitive Hot 100 chart in August 1958. The magazine carried four charts--Most Played By Jockeys, Best Sellers In Stores, Most Played In Juke Boxes and Top 100. Billboard considers the Best Sellers In Stores tally to be the pre-Hot 100 industry benchmark. It gives Presley credit for a total of 36 top 10 hits. Joel Whitburn, the the publisher of dozens of books that chronicle the Billboard charts, gives artists credit for their best showing on any of the multiple charts from this period. He shows Presley with 38 top 10 hits. Can't we just say both artists had a lot of hits and leave it at that?

Michael Jackson's Thriller 25 is #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the seventh straight week. Its sales of 26,000 would have placed it #15 on the main chart if older catalog albums were allowed to compete there. This is the longest continuous run at #1 on the catalog chart since Johnny Cash's 16 Biggest Hits had 10 straight weeks on top two years ago. The Cash collection had 26 weeks at #1 all told.

Bye Bye Bye: Except for albums that debuted this week, only one album in the top 100--Trace Adkins' American Man: Greatest Hits Volume II--saw a sales increase over the previous week. The country compilation registered a 15% sales increase and rebounded from #58 to #26. Here's an even more dramatic indication of what a lousy week it was. Add together this week's sales figures for every album in the top 200-from the chart-topping Day26 to Chrisette Michele, who pulls up the rear. You'll get a total of 2,398,000. That's a little less than the opening week tally of the #1 album from eight years ago this week-N Sync's No Strings Attached, which debuted with a record-shattering total of 2,416,000. Gulp.

Heads Up: George Strait's Troubadour, R.E.M.'s Accelerate and the Rolling Stones' Shine A Light soundtrack are among the albums expected to debut next week. All three artists have had multiple #1 albums. Will one of them add to their total? Check back here and see. Also in contention: Van Morrison's Keep It Simple, Moby's Last Night and the Black Keys' Attack & Release.

Housekeeping: Eagle-eyed readers will notice that I switched from the Top Digital Tracks to the Hot Digital Songs chart. The main advantage to the Songs chart is that it combines different versions of a song by the same artist. Also, I'm going to report on whatever is #1 on Top Catalog Albums every week going forward. The brouhaha over Michael Jackson brought the chart to the forefront, but it's an important piece of the weekly chart puzzle.

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