Chart Watch

Week Ending Oct. 24, 2010: Place Your Bets

Chart Watch

Early sales of Taylor Swift's Speak Now have been brisk. The album is expected to sell at least 800,000 copies by Sunday night, which would enable it to top Eminem's Recovery for the highest one-week sales tally in 2010. The last album to sell 800,000 or more copies in one week was Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III, which sold 1,006,000 copies in its first week in June 2008.

The last album by a female artist to sell 800K in one week was Norah Jones' Feels Like Home, which sold 1,022,000 copies in its first week in February 2004. The last album by a country artist to sell 800K in one week was Shania Twain's Up!, which sold 874K in its first week in November 2002.

Speak Now is said to have a shot at shifting 1 million copies in its first week. Will the album live up to these lofty projections? Check back in one week and see. Meanwhile, Swift's "Mean" enters Hot Digital Songs at #2 this week. This is the fourth song from the album to enter the digital sales chart at #1 or #2. "Mine" bowed at #1 in August. "Speak Now" opened at #2 two weeks ago. "Back To December" bowed at #1 last week.

"Like A G6" by Far*East Movement featuring The Cataracs & Dev returns to #1 on Hot Digital Songs. This is the third week at #1 for the electro house smash, which has sold 1,601,000 copies in 18 weeks.

Sugarland's The Incredible Machine enters The Billboard 200 at #1. It's the duo's third #1 album, following Love On The Inside and the Walmart exclusive Live On The Inside. Sugarland is only the third country group or duo to amass three or more #1 albums on the what is commonly called the "pop chart." Rascal Flatts leads the pack with four #1 albums. Dixie Chicks have also had three.

Four of the last five #1 albums have been country releases, with Sugarland's album preceded by albums by Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith. Next week, with Swift's arrival, the stat will jump to five of the last six #1 albums. Bottom line: Country sells.

Kings Of Leon's Come Around Sundown debuts at #2. This is the band's highest-charting album to date. Only By The Night reached #4 in August 2009. The album spawned the smash "Use Somebody," which won a Grammy as Record of the Year. Come Around Sundown sold 87,000 digital copies, which enables it to rank #1 on the Digital Albums chart. Only By The Night also topped the digital chart upon its release, though with a lower sales tally (31,000 digital copies).

Come Around Sundown debuts at #1 in the U.K. It's the band's third studio album in a row to top the British chart. 2007's Because Of The Times had two weeks on top. 2008's Only By The Night had four weeks in the lead. Come Around Sundown sold 183,000 copies in the U.K., the biggest first-week tally so far this year, according to the good folks at the Official U.K. Albums chart.

The last time Leon Russell had a top 10 album, in August 1973, Watergate was a national obsession, Secretariat was a prize-winning horse (rather than a movie) and Barack Obama was a 12-year old kid growing up in Hawaii. Now, after a 37-year absence from the top 10, Russell is back in the winners' circle with The Union, a collaboration with Elton John. (This isn't the longest gap ever recorded between top 10 albums. Tony Bennett was shut out for 43 years between 1963's I Wanna Be Around and 2006's Duets: An American Classic.)

The Union, which debuts at #3, is Russell's third top 10 album, following 1972's Carney and 1973's Leon Live. But Russell was a far bigger force in the '70s than that tally would suggest. He was also a key participant on two other top 10 albums: Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen and George Harrison & Friends' The Concert For Bangla Desh (both of which reached #2). Bangla Desh brought Russell a Grammy for Album of the Year.

Russell also wrote or co-wrote such prized songs as "Superstar" (a #2 hit for The Carpenters in 1971), "This Masquerade" (a top 10 hit for George Benson in 1976) and "A Song For You," which was recorded by everyone from Helen Reddy to The Temptations.

The Union is Russell's highest-charting album since Carney reached #2 in October 1972. It's Elton's highest-charting album since Blue Moves hit #3 in November 1976. Surprisingly, this is the first time that Elton has recorded a full album with another artist, but Russell has collaborated before, most notably when he and Willie Nelson teamed in 1979 for One For The Road.

Rod Stewart's Fly Me To The Moon: The Great American Songbook, Vol. 5 debuts at #4. All five of Stewart's Great American Songbook albums have made the top five. An ad for Stewart's new album refers to his Great American Songbook series as the best-selling series in music history. If you discount the multi-artist Now series, that's true. But if you rated them in terms of enduring stature, rather than sales, I'm sure even Stewart would say that Ella Fitzgerald's classic Song Book series from the '50s is still out front. (The jazz legend released separate albums devoted to the music of Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington and George and Ira Gershwin.)

The title songs of each of Stewart's albums in this series are of course prime standards: "It Had To Be You," "As Time Goes By," "Stardust," "Thanks For The Memory" and "Fly Me To The Moon." "Fly Me To The Moon" originated a couple of decades after these other songs. Singer/comedienne Kaye Ballard introduced it in 1954 under its alternate title "In Other Words."  (Stewart's other title songs were introduced between 1924 and 1938.)

This is Stewart's seventh album in a row to debut in the top five. His soul and rock covers albums, Soulbook and Still The Same...Great Rock Classics Of Our Time, also debuted in the top five. This is the first time in his long career that Stewart has had seven straight top five albums. In fact, it's the first time that he has had seven top 10 albums in a row, though he nearly achieved that feat when he was at his peak in the '70s. If 1974's Smiler had climbed a few rungs higher (it peaked at #13), Stewart would have had seven straight top 10 albums between 1971 and 1979. (It's much easier to make the top 10 now than it used to be. Seven albums enter the top 10 this week. That's about as many top 10 arrivals as you would have seen in a typical month back in the '70s and '80s.)

This marks the first time that old pals Elton John and Rod Stewart have appeared in the top 10 at the same time since November 1976, when Elton was riding high with Blue Moves and Stewart had A Night On The Town. But while both artists have hit albums, neither is represented on this week's Hot Digital Songs chart.

Glee: The Rocky Horror Glee Show enters the chart at #6. It's the sixth Glee title to reach the top 10 in less than a year. This total includes three full-length albums and three EPs. The Rocky Horror Glee Show will probably gain ground next week, in the wake of Tuesday night's airing of the episode.

Glee is the first series in television history to spawn six or more top 10 albums.  Four other TV series have spawned five top 10 albums: Sing Along With Mitch (the tally just counts albums released during the run of the show), The Monkees, American Idol (not counting albums by individual contestants) and Hannah Montana (not counting the movie soundtrack or strictly solo albums by star Miley Cyrus).

This is by far the highest that the music from The Rocky Horror Show has ever climbed on The Billboard 200.  The 1974 cast album to the stage musical "bubbled under" the chart, peaking at #207. The 1978 soundtrack to The Rocky Horror Picture Show peaked at #49. Midnight screenings of that movie turned Rocky Horror into a phenomena.

Shakira's Sale El Sol debuts at #7. It's the Colombian superstar's fourth top 10 album. The tally is evenly divided between English-language pop albums (Laundry Service and Oral Fixation, Vol. 2) and Spanish-language albums. The current release, which is mostly in Spanish, follows 2005's Fijacion Oral Vol. 1, which debuted at #4.

Here's the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs, as compiled by Nielsen/SoundScan. "Like A G6" by Far*East Movement featuring Cataracs & Dev rebounds from #2 to #1 (204K). Taylor Swift's "Mean" debuts at #2 (163K). Rihanna's "Only Girl (In The World)" jumps from #5 to #3 (155K). Nelly's "Just A Dream" dips from #3 to #4 (146K). Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are" dips from #4 to #5 (138K). Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj's "Bottoms Up" jumps from #9 to #6 (125K). P!nk's "Raise You Glass" dips from #6 to #7 (119K). Flo Rida featuring David Guetta's "Club Can't Handle Me" dips from #7 to #8 (109K). Usher featuring Pitbull's "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" dips from #8 to #9 (101K). Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" holds at #10 for the third week (90K).

Shameless Plug: Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and Bobby "Boris" Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers' "Monster Mash" return to Hot Digital Songs, as fans gear up for Halloween parties. On Friday, I'll have a list of the best-selling Halloween songs.

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

1. Sugarland, The Incredible Machine, 203,000. This new entry is the duo's third #1 album; its fourth to make the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Stuck Like Glue," which jumps from #34 to #28.

2. Kings Of Leon, Come Around Sundown, 184,000. This new entry is the group's second straight top 10 album. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "End" debuts at #43. "Radioactive" vaults from #139 to #47.

3. Elton John/Leon Russell, The Union, 80,000. This new entry is Elton's 17th top 10 album; Russell's third.

4. Rod Stewart, Fly Me To The Moon: The Great American Songbook, Vol. 5, 79,000. This new entry is Stewart's 15th top 10 album.

5. Lil Wayne, I Am Not A Human Being, 65,000. The former #1 album dips from #4 to #5 in its fourth week. This is its third week in the top 10. Six songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Right Above It" (featuring Drake), which jumps from #28 to #26.

6. Various Artists, Glee: The Rocky Horror Glee Show, 48,000. This new entry is the sixth Glee title to reach the top 10. "Time Warp" enters Hot Digital Songs at #121.

7. Shakira, Sale El Sol, 46,000. This new entry is Shakira's fourth top 10 album. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Loca" (featuring El Cata) which vaults from #121 to #27.

8. Eminem, Recovery, 43,000. The former #1 album drops from #5 to #8 in its 18th week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Love The Way You Lie" (featuring Rihanna), which dips from #14 to #15.

9. Third Day, Move 37,000. This new entry is the Christian rock band's third top 10 album, following 2005's Wherever You Are and 2008's Revelation. "Sound Of Your Voice" enters Hot Digital Songs at #178.

10. Darius Rucker, Charleston, SC 1966, 37,000. The album drops from #2 to #10 in its second week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Come Back Song" drops from #60 to #76. "This" drops from #48 to #190.

Seven albums drop out of the top 10 this week. (Easy come, easy go.) Big Time Rush's BTR drops from #3 to #16. The Band Perry's The Band Perry drops from #4 to #15, Kenny Chesney's Hemingway's Whiskey drops from #6 to #13, Sufjan Stevens' Age Of Adz dives from #7 to #37, Zac Brown Band's You Get What You Give drops from #8 to #14, Toby Keith's Bullets In The Gun drops from #9 to #21, and All That Remains' For We Are Many plummets from #10 to #39.

Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana Forever, the soundtrack to the series' fourth and final season, debuts at #11. The soundtracks to the first two seasons both debuted at #1. Hannah Montana 3 debuted at #2. This is the first time that an album of new material by either Cyrus or Hannah Montana has failed to debut in the top 10. It's probably for the best that the series is over and Cyrus can stop trying to please two different audiences.

Bob Dylan's Witmark Demos: 1962-1966 (Bootleg Series Vol. 9) debuts at #12. This is the third consecutive album in the archival series to reach the top 20. The series was launched in 1991.

The Beatles' 1967-1970 re-enters the chart at #29. 1962-1966 re-enters at #32. These compilations, dubbed the Red and Blue albums in a nod to the Beatles' so-called White Album, were first released in the spring of 1973, three years after the Beatles' break-up. They were the Beatles' first formal greatest hits albums. 1967-1970 reached #1. 1962-1966 hit #3. 1967-1970 is #1 on this week's Catalog Albums chart. It's the album's fourth week on top of that chart. It headed the list for three weeks in 1993.

The soundtrack to The Social Network by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is the top soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie for the third time in the past four weeks. On The Billboard 200, the album dips from #70 to #74.

Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are (Amazing)" returns to the #1 spot in the U.K. after a three-week absence.  It's the song's second week in the lead there. The smash had four weeks at #1 in the U.S. The heartfelt hit is the third song in the past year to log two or more weeks at #1 in both countries. It follows Owl City's "Fireflies" and "California Gurls" by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg.

Rihanna's "Only Girl (In The World)" tops the 1 million mark in paid downloads this week. The song reached the mark in just six weeks.

Paranormal Activity 2 was #1 at the box-office in its opening weekend. (There is no soundtrack album.) The first Paranormal Activity was #1 at the box-office a year ago this week (when it was in its fifth weekend of release).

Heads Up: All eyes are on Taylor Swift's Speak Now, which will enter The Billboard 200 at #1 next week. Also due: Buddy Guy's Living Proof, Senses Fail's The Fire, Mark Salling's Pipe Dreams, the Country Strong soundtrack and a deluxe Hollywood Edition of Michael Buble's former #1 album Crazy Love.

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