Chart Watch

Week Ending Nov. 9, 2008: The Vampire That Rocked The Chart

Chart Watch

The soundtrack to the upcoming teen vampire romance Twilight debuts at #1 on The Billboard 200. Twilight is the first soundtrack to hit #1 in advance of the movie's release since 8 Mile six years ago. That album topped the Nielsen/SoundScan chart for the week ending Nov. 3, 2002. The Eminem movie was released on Nov. 8.

Only five other soundtracks have ever hit #1 in advance of the movie's release. In 1997, Private Parts hit #1 five days before the Howard Stern comedy opened. In 1994, Murder Was The Case hit #1 four months before the Snoop Dogg movie opened. In 1975, That's The Way Of The World hit #1 one month before the little-seen Earth, Wind & Fire movie opened. In 1964, A Hard Day's Night hit #1 two weeks before The Beatles movie opened. And in 1951 (hey, I said "ever"), Show Boat hit #1 six weeks before the MGM musical opened.

The Twilight soundtrack features two songs by Paramore plus songs by such other acts as Linkin Park, Collective Soul and Perry Farrell. Twilight is the first rock-oriented soundtrack to hit #1 since Armageddon rang the bell in its second week in 1998. That album spawned Aerosmith's only #1 hit on the Hot 100 and also included tracks by the likes of ZZ Top and Journey. (I'm classifying the Juno soundtrack, which hit #1 earlier this year, as alternative, as opposed to rock).

Twilight is the third movie soundtrack to hit #1 so far this year, following Juno and Mamma Mia! This is the first year in which three movie soundtracks have gone all the way since 1998, when Titanic, City Of Angels and Armageddon all rang the bell.

Twilight is the first movie soundtrack to debut at #1 since Jack Johnson's Curious George did it in 2006. It's the first rock-oriented movie soundtrack to debut at #1 since Private Parts in 1997. Only four other movie soundtracks-Murder Was The Case, Gridlock'd, 8 Mile and Bad Boys-have opened in the lead position.

Robert Pattinson, who plays the vampire in Twilight, has one song, "Never Think," on the soundtrack. Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, who plays the heroine Bella, appear on the cover of the current issue of Entertainment Weekly. The movie, due Nov. 21, is based on Stephanie Meyer's popular series of books. The books have been best-sellers, the CD is #1. Does any one doubt that the movie will be a smash?

High School Musical 3: Graduation Day holds at #3 for the second straight week. This is the first time that movie soundtracks have held down two of the top three spots since January 2007, when Dreamgirls was #2 and Jump In! was #3.

With AC/DC's Black Ice dropping to #2, rock albums hold down both of the top two slots this week. This is the first time in more than a year that two rock albums have ruled the chart. It last happened in October 2007 when Bruce Springsteen's Magic and Kid Rock's Rock N Roll Jesus held the top two spots for two weeks running.

Black Ice has sold 1,215,000 copies in just three weeks. That's more than the band's last two studio albums have sold in their entire runs (hat tip: Keith Caulfield.) Ballbreaker has sold 1,162,000 copies since its release in 1995. Stiff Upper Lip has sold 949,000 since its release in 2000. In addition, AC/DC this week moves up to #23 on Nielsen/SoundScan's running list of the top-selling album artists since 1991. The headbangers trade places with *NSYNC, now in 24th place.

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Kanye West's "Heartless" enters the Hot Digital Songs chart at #1. The song sold 201,000 downloads this week. It's West's third #1 on this chart. "Gold Digger" (featuring Jamie Foxx) was #1 for nine weeks in 2005. "Stronger" was #1 for two weeks last year. Both of those songs have sold more than 2 million downloads (see item below). West's previous release, "Love Lockdown," holds at #11 this week. The change-of-pace ballad had sold 968,000 downloads in its first eight weeks. "Heartless" and "Love Lockdown" are both from West's fourth album, 808s & Heartbreak, due Nov. 24.

We had an election last week (perhaps you heard). Even if you somehow missed this momentous news, you could tell by looking at Hot Digital Songs. "It's A New Day" by will.i.am debuts at #41, ahead of "My President" by Young Jeezy & Nas, which opens at #69. There's also a song on the list that seems to be about the state of the economy: T-Pain featuring Ludacris moves up to #80 with "Chopped 'n' Skrewed."

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

1. Various Artists, Twilight soundtrack, 165,000. More than 48,000 copies were sold digitally, making this the week's #1 Digital Album. That's the biggest digital tally ever for a movie soundtrack. Paramore's "Decode" enters Hot Digital Songs at #18.

2. AC/DC, Black Ice, 160,000. The album dips from #1 to #2 in its third week. Black Ice is already #8 on the year-to-date chart. Metallica's Death Magnetic is #6. If both albums stay on track, this will be the first year since 1992 that two mainstream hard rock albums have finished in the year-end top 10. Metallica and Def Leppard scored that year. AC/DC are digital holdouts, so no songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs.

3. Various Artists, High School Musical 3 soundtrack, 110,000. The album holds at #3 in its third week. This is already the fourth best-selling movie soundtrack of 2008, following Mamma Mia!, Juno and Alvin And The Chipmunks. (On the down side, after three weeks, it still hasn't matched the first-week sales tally of HSM2.) Nine songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Now Or Never," which dips from #48 to #64.

4. Hinder, Take It To The Limit, 81,000. This new entry is the alternative band's second top 10 album in a row and its first to reach the top five. Its opening week tally is more than 13 times larger than the band's 2005 debut album, Extreme Behavior, which bowed (at #167) with first-week sales of 6,000. Extreme Behavior took 31 weeks to hit the top 10. It peaked at #6 in October 2006, remained on the top 200 for 96 weeks and finished as the #10 best-seller of 2006. Two songs from the new album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Thing For You," which opens at #59.

5. Pink, Funhouse, 73,000. The album dips from #2 to #5 in its second week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "So What" at #10. The song has sold 1,964,000 downloads in its first 12 weeks.

6. John Legend, Evolver, 72,000. The album dips from #4 to #6 in its second week. "Green Light" (featuring Andre 3000) dips from #28 to #35 on Hot Digital Songs.

7. T.I., Paper Trail, 69,000. The album dips from #7 to #8 in its sixth week. The album inches up to #10 on the year-to-date chart. It's #2 among rap albums behind Lil Wayne's Lil Carter III. If both albums stay on track, this will be the first year in which two rap albums have finished in the year-end top 10 since 2005, when 50 Cent, Kanye West and The Game all finished in the year-end top 10. For the sixth straight week, five songs from Paper Trail are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Live Your Life" (featuring Rihanna), which dips to #2.

8. Andrea Bocelli, Incanto, 62,000. This new entry is Bocelli's fourth top 10 album, following Sogno, Amore and Best Of Andrea Bocelli-Vivere. No songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. Bocelli, 50, is the first opera star to amass four or more top 10 albums since Mario Lanza, who had 12 consecutive top 10 albums from 1951 to 1960. Lanza's career was cut short by his death from a heart attack in 1959. He was just 38.

9. Brad Paisley, Play, 54,000. This new entry is Paisley's fourth straight studio album to debut in the top 10, following Mud On The Tires, Time Well Wasted and 5th Gear. The mostly instrumental set (10 of the 15 tracks are instrumental) features contributions from Buck Owens, Steve Wariner, Andy Griffith and B.B. King. This is the week's #1 country album, replacing Toby Keith's That Don't Make Me A Bad Guy. "Start A Band," a duet with Keith Urban, enters Hot Digital Songs at #85.

10. Rascal Flatts, Greatest Hits Volume 1, 39,000. The compilation dips from #6 to #10 in its second week. No songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs.

Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Toby Keith's That Don't Make Me A Bad Guy drops from #5 to #13, Celine Dion's My Love: The Ultimate Essential Collection falls from #8 to #17, Snow Patrol's Hundred Million Suns tumbles from #9 to #35, and Kenny Chesney's Lucky Old Sun falls from #10 to #15. This is Keith's lowest-charting studio album since 2001.

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Josh Groban's Noel, the #1 album of 2007, jumps to #1 on this week's Catalog Albums chart. The album sold nearly 35,000 copies this week and would have ranked #11 on the big chart if older, catalog albums were eligible to compete there. It's the week's #1 holiday album.

Q-Tip's The Renaissance bows at #11. The title is apt. This is the rapper's first album in nearly nine years. It has already climbed higher than that album did. Amplified peaked at #28. Q-Tip amassed three straight top 10 albums in the '90s with his group A Tribe Called Quest.

Three more holiday albums enter the chart: Sarah Brightman's A Winter Symphony opens at #38, the Starbucks compilation Winter Wonderland opens at #42 and Harry Connick Jr.'s What A Night! A Christmas Album bows at #48. The title of Brightman's album plays off her last album, Symphony, which became the highest charting album of her career when it debuted at #13 in February. Connick had the #1 Christmas album of two previous holiday seasons. When My Heart Finds Christmas was the #1 holiday album of 1993. Harry For The Holidays was on top for 2003.

Shiny Toy Guns' Season Of Poison (not a Christmas album for holiday dreaders) bows at #47. It's the alternative group's first top 50 album. The band's 2006 breakthrough album We Are Pilots peaked at #90...Hezekiah Walker's Souled Out bows at #55. It's the gospel legend's first album to make the top 100...Randy Owen's One On One bows at #77. It's the first solo album by any of the members of the vocal quartet Alabama, which was far and away the hottest country act of the early '80s.

Ups & Downs: Yo-Yo Ma's Songs Of Joy & Peace vaults from #50 to #20 in its fourth week. The album's sales jumped by 122% this week, more than any other non-debuting album. The album is second only to Josh Groban's Noel on this week's Holiday Albums chart. On the down side, Bloc Party's Intimacy plummets from #18 to #81 in its second week. Sales dropped by 72%, the steepest decline in the top 200.

Download This: Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" topped the 2 million mark in paid downloads two weeks ago. It's the first pre-2000 release to reach this milestone. The rock anthem was released in 1981 and got a second wind last year when it was featured on the series finale of The Sopranos.

A total of 55 songs have sold 2 million or more downloads each. Fergie and Rihanna are the leading artists in this realm, with three 2 million sellers each. On all-time list of songs with the most paid downloads, Fergie has "Big Girls Don't Cry" at #7, "Fergalicious" at #20 and ""Glamorous" (featuring Ludacris) at #25. Rihanna has "Umbrella" (featuring Jay-Z) at #8, "Don't Stop The Music" at #29 and "Disturbia" at #37.

Nine artists have two songs each that have topped the 2 million mark in paid downloads. They are: Timbaland, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, The Fray, Nickelback, Gwen Stefani, Chris Brown, Nelly Furtado and Natasha Bedingfield.

Heads Up: Taylor Swift's sophomore album, Fearless, is expected to enter at #1 next week. Swift's debut album has sold more than 3.5 million copies. Five songs from the new album are already listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "You Belong With Me," which debuts at #3. Other key releases include Christina Aguilera's Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade Of Hits, a Target exclusive; David Archuleta's David Archuleta, which includes the Idol runner-up's hit single "Crush"; and T-Pain's Thr33 Ringz, the rapper's follow-up to the #1 Epiphany. NOW 29, the latest in the long- running franchise, is also on its way. Also due: Enya's And Winter Came; Seal's Soul; Hilary Duff's Best Of... and David Foster's Hit Man.

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