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Week Ending Oct. 2, 2010. Albums: Rookie Bumps A Legend

Chart Watch

A rookie, J. Cole, this week bumps a legend, Tony Bennett, from the #1 spot on The Billboard 200. And so the age of the artist with the #1 album in the country drops 59 years in one week. (J. Cole is 26; Bennett is 85.)

J. Cole's Cole World: The Sideline Story sold 217,000 copies in its first week. That's the biggest opening for a debut album since Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday started with sales of 375,000 in November. Cole World is the first debut album by a solo artist to open at #1 since B.o.B's The Adventures Of Bobby Ray started in the top spot in May 2010. (Tellingly, all three of these albums are hip-hop.)

This isn't the first time that J. Cole has appeared on a #1 album. He co-wrote and was featured on "A Star Is Born," a song on Jay-Z's 2009 album The Blueprint 3. Jay-Z returns the favor, guesting on "Mr. Nice Watch" on J. Cole's album. Jay-Z signed J. Cole to his Roc Nation label in 2009.

Pop Quiz: J. Cole was born on a military base in Frankfort, Germany, and grew up in Fayetteville, N.C. Name two other artists with #1 albums who likewise were born on military bases in Germany and reared in the U.S. Hint: Both are male solo artists. Answer below.

Bennett's Duets II slips from #1 to #4 in its second week. It's the first album of duets to spend two or more weeks in the top five since Bennett's first Duets collection in 2006 (which spent three frames in the top five). If you missed my Chart Watch Extra in which I looked at 21 hit Duets albums, here's a link.

This is the seventh straight decade that Bennett has put a studio album on The Billboard 200.  Bennett barely kept his string alive in the 1980s, when his recording career was at its nadir. His 1986 album The Art Of Excellence, his only album to chart in that decade, peaked at a humbling #160. Bennett turned 60 while that album was on the chart, and had little reason to think that his fortunes as a recording artist would significantly improve. Lesser artists might have packed it in. But Bennett and his manager/son, Danny Bennett, didn't give up. The comeback began in 1992 with Perfectly Frank, a tribute to Frank Sinatra, and heated up two years later with the live MTV Unplugged.

(Frank Sinatra put a studio album on the Billboard album chart in six straight decades, from the '40s to the '90s. Sinatra died in 1998.)

Blink-182's Neighborhoods debuts at #2. It's the group's first studio album in nearly eight years and its sixth album to make the top 10. The group's previous album titles include such clever puns as Enema Of The State and Take Off Your Pants And Jacket. Given the band's history of witty wordplay, this title is something of a let-down, no?

Chickenfoot's sophomore album, Chickenfoot III, debuts at #9. This group features Joe Satriani, Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony (Van Halen) and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers). Hagar has said the band skipped over II as an album title to avoid the sophomore jinx. Cute, but a previous all-star collective beat them to it. Traveling Wilburys titled their 1990 sophomore album Vol. 3.

"Strange Clouds" by B.o.B featuring Lil Wayne debuts at #3 on Hot Digital Songs. Will it debut in the top 10 on the Hot 100? And will Adele's "Someone Like You" return to #1? It looks like it. You'll find out when we post Chart Watch: Songs later today.

Quiz Answer: Like J. Cole, Jackson Browne and Rob Thomas were born on military bases in Germany and grew up in the U.S. Browne was born in Heidelberg and reared in Los Angeles. Thomas was born in Landstuhl and reared in Daytona, Fla. Browne had a #1 album in 1980 with Hold Out. Thomas scored in 2005 with his solo debut, ...Something To Be.

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

1. J. Cole, Cole World: The Sideline Story, 217,000. This new entry sold 93K digital copies, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Workout," which jumps from #83 to #66.

2. Blink-182, Neighborhoods, 151,000. This new entry is the band's sixth top 10 album. This is the band's second highest-charting album, topped only by 2001's chart-topping Take Off Your Pants And Jacket. "After Midnight" enters Hot Digital Songs at #52.

3. Adele, 21, 118,000. The former #1 album holds at #3 in is 32nd week. It has been in the top five the entire time. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Someone Like You," which returns to #1 for a second week.

4. Tony Bennett, Duets II, 91,000. The former #1 album drops to #4 in its second week. The album has sold 270K copies in its first two weeks.

5. Wilco, The Whole Love, 82,000. This new entry is the band's fourth top 10 album.

6. Lady Antebellum, Own The Night, 75,000. The former #1 album drops from #2 to #6 in its third week. It's #1 on Top Country Albums for the third week. "We Owned The Night" holds at #62 on Hot Digital Songs.

7. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV 68,000. The former #1 album drops from #5 to #7 in its fifth week. Six songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "How To Love," which dips from #18 to #19.

8. Switchfoot, Vice Verses, 45,000. This new entry is the Christian rock band's second top 10 album. Nothing Is Sound hit #3 in 2005.

9. Chickenfoot, Chickenfoot III, 42,000. This new entry is the band's second top 10 album. Its debut, Chickenfoot, reached #4 in 2009.

10. Mastodon, The Hunter, 39,000. This new entry is the hard rock band's first top 10 album. Its 2009 album Crack The Skye peaked at #11.

Six albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Demi Lovato's Unbroken drops from #4 to #14, NeedToBreathe's The Reckoning drops from #6 to #34, Mindless Behavior's #1 Girl drops from #7 to #27, Gavin DeGraw's Sweeter dives from #8 to #53, Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch The Throne drops from #9 to #11 and Pearl Jam's Pearl Jam Twenty plummets from #10 to #68.

Pink Floyd's 1973 album The Dark Side Of The Moon re-enters the chart at #12. This is the album's highest ranking since the week of Oct. 20, 1973. This is the album's 781st week on the chart, which is more, by far, than any other album in history. Dark Side has sold 9,167,000 copies just since 1991, which makes it the #26 album of the Nielsen SoundScan era. It sold millions more in its first 18 years of release.

Pink Floyd's track record prior to Dark Side was unimpressive. The group had never even cracked the top 40 on The Billboard 200. Dark Side reached #1 in April 1973, bumping off Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies. At the time, Alice Cooper was far more of a chart powerhouse.  The band's previous album, School's Out, spent three weeks at #2. By contrast, Pink Floyd's previous album, Obscured By Clouds, stalled at #46.

Dark Side is #1 on Top Catalog Albums, displacing the Beatles' 1. This is the album's 22nd week at #1 on this chart (since 1991). It's the first time Dark Side has headed the catalog chart since June 2007. But it won't be the last, I'm quite sure.

Four other Pink Floyd albums re-enter the chart this week, led by The Wall, which re-enters at #40. The album was #1 for 15 weeks from January to April 1980 and received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. It is followed by Wish You Were Here at #71, Animals at #83 and Meddle at #174. In addition, a 14-CD box set bows at #175.

Nirvana's Nevermind vaults from #146 to #13 in the wake of the release of a deluxe anniversary edition. (A 70-track "super deluxe edition" is charted separately at #131, with sales of 4,000. If these two tallies had been combined, Nevermind would have ranked #11 this week, and would have surpassed Dark Side to be the week's #1 catalog album.)

Nevermind shocked the music industry in January 1992 when it bumped Michael Jackson's Dangerous out of the #1 spot on The Billboard 200. Dangerous was Jackson's follow-up to Bad, which had logged six weeks at #1. Nevermind was Nirvana's follow-up to its 1989 debut album Bleach, which hadn't even dented The Billboard 200. (Bleach finally charted in 1992, when Nevermind was hot.)

Nevermind has sold 8,872,000 copies, which makes it the #29 album of the Nielsen SoundScan era. The album's key track, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," which reached #6 in January 1992, has sold 1,724,000 digital copies.

In addition, Nirvana's Live At Paramount enters Top Music Videos at #1. It's the band's third #1 music video, following Live! Tonight! Sold Out!! in December 1994 and Live At Reading in November 2009.

Machine Head's Unto The Locust bows at #22. This is the heavy metal band's first top 50 album. The Blackening peaked at #53 in 2007. The band was named after a 1972 Deep Purple album.

Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More moves up from #27 to #26 in its 80th week. Last week, it became only the third album to sell 1 million digital copies. It follows Adele's 21 and Eminem's Recovery. Which makes it the first album by a group or duo to hit the magic mark!

Gloria Estefan's Miss Little Havana bows at #28. The title is apt: Estefan was born in Havana. Miami Sound Machine, the group in which Estefan became a star, first cracked the top 30 in April 1986 with Primitive Love...Jason Derulo's Future History bows at #29...LeAnn Rimes' Lady & Gentlemen opens at #32.

The Drive soundtrack drops from #31 to #46 in its third week. It's the top soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie for the second time in three weeks. This is a healthy showing for a score soundtrack (by Cliff Martinez).

Dolphin Tale was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. A soundtrack featuring Mark Isham's score will be released on Oct. 11.

Eminem this week becomes only the second artist (following Backstreet Boys) to top the 10 million mark in U.S. sales with two different albums. His 2002 album The Eminem Show tops the 10 million mark this week. His 2000 classic The Marshall Mathers LP has sold 10,496,000.

Backstreet Boys are represented with 1999's Millennium (12,151,000) and their 1997 debut album Backstreet Boys (10,116,000). Both of these pairs of albums were back-to-back releases a decade or more ago, when album sales were at their zenith.

Coming Attractions: Scotty McCreery's Clear As Day is expected to debut at #1 next week with a tally in the 170K range. McCreery was the Season 10 winner on American Idol. Three other albums are eyeing top 10 debuts: Jack's Mannequin's People And Things, Feist's Metals and Rodney Atkins' Take A Back Road. Also due: Mayday Parade's Mayday Parade, New Found Glory's Radiosurgery, Mutemath's Odd Soul and the Rolling Stones' DVD, The Ed Sullivan Shows Starring The Rolling Stones.

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