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Week Ending Sept. 18, 2011. Albums: An A For Lady A

Chart Watch

Lady Antebellum's Own The Night sold 347,000 copies in its first week. That's the fifth largest sales tally so far this year, and the heftiest for a country album since Taylor Swift's Speak Now sold 1,047,000 copies in its first week in November. It's the trio's second album to top The Billboard 200, following last year's Need You Now. Only three other country groups or duos have had two or more #1 albums. Rascal Flatts leads the pack with four. Dixie Chicks and Sugarland have each had three.

Own The Night is Lady A's third straight studio album to top the country chart. Lady Antebellum hit #1 in April 2008. Need You Now logged 31 weeks on top in 2010-2011. Own The Night is Lady A's first album to reach #1 on Top Digital Albums. It sold 86K digital copies this week.

Adele's 21 holds at #2. It's the first album to spend its first 30 weeks inside the top five since Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard soundtrack in 1992-1993. These are the only two albums to accomplish this feat since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991.

21 this week becomes the first album to sell 3.5 million copies in a calendar year since Josh Groban's Noel sold 3,699,000 copies in 2007. 21 has already sold more than the best-selling albums of 2008 (Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III), 2009 (Taylor Swift's Fearless) and 2010 (Eminem's Recovery) did in those calendar years. 21 is certain to become the first album to sell 4 million copies in a calendar year since 2005, when Mariah Carey's The Emancipation Of Mimi and 50 Cent's The Massacre both achieved the feat. It could even become the first album to sell 5 million copies in a calendar year since 2004, when Usher's Confessions did it. Stay tuned.

Shameless Plug: 21 will almost certainly wind up as the year's #1 seller among both CDs and digital albums. Surprisingly, it will be first title in Nielsen SoundScan history to finish first in both formats. On Thursday, I'll have a Chart Watch Extra in which I look at the year-end champs in both formats from 2004-2010. Here are some highlights: Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream was the #1 CD of 2009, but ranked a lowly #56 among the year's digital albums. By contrast, The Fray's How To Save A Life and Maroon 5 's It Won't Be Soon Before Long were the #1 digital albums of 2006 and 2007, respectively, but both ranked #21 among those years' CDs. Check it out on Thursday.

Brantley Gilbert's Halfway To Heaven re-enters the chart at #4 after being picked up by a major label (Valory Records, which is distributed by the powerhouse Universal Music Group). The album, which was released in March 2010, was previously independently distributed. The album sold 51K copies this week, more than it sold in its first 30 weeks of release combined. The album has sold 185K copies since it was released. Gilbert wrote or cowrote Jason Aldean's #1 country hits "My Kinda Crazy" and "Dirt Road Anthem." (Gilbert's original versions of both songs are included on this album.) Gilbert's album, which includes his top 20 country hit "Country Must Be Country Wide," enters the Top Country Albums chart at #2. Look for Gilbert to make a quick return to the top 10 on both the pop and country charts. His follow-up album, A Modern Day Prodigal Son, is due Oct. 18.

The Beatles' 1 dips from #4 to #5 in its 115th week on the chart. What was the last album to appear in the top 10 that deep into its chart run? The Sound Of Music soundtrack, featuring Julie Andrews, was in its 148th week on the chart in January 1968 when it made its final appearance in the top 10. Other albums that were still in the top 10 when they had passed the 100-week mark in total weeks-on-chart include Shania Twain's Come On Over (112 weeks) and Nickelback's All The Right Reasons (102 weeks).

1 is #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the 11th week. (Its first nine weeks atop this chart were in 2003-2004.) This week the compilation surpasses The Bodyguard soundtrack to become the fifth best-selling album of the Nielsen SoundScan era.

"Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera is #1 on Hot Digital Songs for the fourth week. Coldplay's "Paradise" debuts at #6. How will they fare on the Hot 100? And will "Body And Soul" by Tony Bennett featuring Amy Winehouse debut? You'll find out when we post Chart Watch: Songs later today.

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

1. Lady Antebellum, Own The Night, 347,000. This new entry is the trio's third top five album; its second to reach #1. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Just A Kiss," which jumps from #30 to #27.

2. Adele, 21, 119,000. The former #1 album holds at #2 in its 30th 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 holds at #2 for the second week.

3. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV, 117,000. The former #1 album drops to #3 after two weeks on top. Eight songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "How To Love," which drops from #10 to #13.

4. Brantley Gilbert, Halfway To Heaven, 51,000. This re-entry is the country rocker's first top 10 album. The album, now in its fifth chart week, had previously climbed as high as #112. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "You Don't Know Her Like I Do," which debuts at #68.

5. Staind, Staind, 47,000. This new entry is the band's fifth top 10 album. "Something To Remind You" enters Hot Digital Songs at #109.

6. Beatles, 1, 46,000. The former #1 album drops from #4 to #6 in its 115th week on the chart. This is its 19th week in the top 10. Surprisingly, no songs from the album have re-entered Hot Digital Songs.

7. George Strait, Here For A Good Time, 43,000. The album drops from #3 to #7 in its second week. "Here For A Good Time" drops from #76 to #91 on Hot Digital Songs.

8. Dream Theater, A Dramatic Turn Of Events, 36,000. This new entry is the prog-rockers' second top 10 album. Black Clouds & Silver Linings peaked at #6 in 2009.

9. Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch The Throne, 36,000. The former #1 album drops from #6 to #9 in its sixth week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Otis" (featuring Otis Redding) dips from #32 to #33. "N**gas In Paris" jumps from #75 to #54.

10. The Devil Wears Prada, Dead Throne, 32,000. This new entry is the Christian metalcore group's second top 10 entry. Its EP Zombie debuted and peaked at #10 last year. (And, yes, we have back-to-back albums with the word "Throne" in their titles. What are the odds?)

Maroon 5's Hands All Over drops from #7 to #32, despite the inclusion of the #1 smash "Moves Like Jagger." Maroon 5 seems to be pegged as a singles act. Four other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Red Hot Chili Peppers' I'm With You drops from #5 to #11, Now 39 drops from #8 to #16, Beyonce's 4 drops from #9 to #20 and Foster The People's Torches drops from #10 to #14.

Anthrax's Worship Music bows at #12. It's the metal vets' second highest-charting album, topped only by 1993's Sound Of White Noise, which hit #7. Anthrax first charted more than 25 years ago (!) with Spreading The Disease.

Two bands return to active duty after  long layoffs. Primus' first studio album in nearly eight years, Green Naugahyde, bows at #15. Bush's first album in nearly 10 years, The Sea Of Memories, bows at #18.

Two acts break through with their latest albums. St. Vincent's third album, Strange Mercy, bows at #19. The female folk artist's sophomore album, Actor, hit #90 in 2009. We Came As Romans' second full-length album, Understanding What We've Grown To Be, bows at #21. The hard rock band's To Plant A Seed reached #175 in 2009.

Alice Cooper's Welcome 2 My Nightmare bows at #22. It's Cooper's highest-charting album since 1989's Trash, which hit #20. The new album is a sequel to Cooper's 1975 album Welcome To My Nightmare, which reached #5. That was Cooper's first solo album after the Alice Cooper band disbanded. It spawned his first hit ballad, "Only Women." Universal Studios Hollywood has announced plans to construct an addition based on the albums. The new album is Cooper's first since he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton's Play The Blues opens at #31. This is Marsalis' second collabo to score in the past few years. Two Men With The Blues, a 2008 pairing with Willie Nelson, hit #20. Play The Blues is Clapton's fourth hit collabo since 2000, following albums with B.B. King, J.J. Cale and Steve Winwood.

Kristin Chenoweth's Some Lessons Learned bows at #47. This is Chenoweth's first non-holiday album to make the chart.

Two "Digipack" releases by Jimi Hendrix enter the chart. Winterland bows at #49. Hendrix In The West arrives at #77. Hendrix died 41 years ago this week. The rock legend has amassed more than 40 chart albums, but this week marks the first time that two have entered the same week.

Victorious: Music From The Hit TV Show drops from #41 to #54 in its seventh week. It's the #1 soundtrack for  the seventh week. Drive, featuring a score by Cliff Martinez, debuts at #65. It's the top-ranking soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie.

A pair of double-disk live albums by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Nine Tonight and 'Live' Bullet, re-enter the chart at #70 and #89 respectively, due mostly to their long-awaited digital release. Seger still hasn't digitized his studio albums.

Kid Rock's Born Free tops the 1 million mark in sales this week. It took 44 weeks to get there, but it got there. It's Mr. Rock's sixth million-selling album.

Jackie Evancho's Dream With Me In Concert enters Top Music Videos at #1. This helps makes up for the fact that her first two albums, O Holy Night and Dream With Me, both debuted and peaked at #2 on The Billboard 200. Evancho is 11. She's not even 11-1/2 yet!

The Lion King (In 3-D) was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. The movie was #1 for two weekends in early summer 1994 and wound up as that year's #2 grossing hit (behind Forrest Gump).

Coming Attractions: Tony Bennett's Duets II is expected to debut at #1 next week. It will be the pop legend's first #1 album. Expect five other albums to debut in the top 10: Demi Lovato's Unbroken, Needtobreathe's The Reckoning, Mindless Behavior's #1 Girl, Gavin DeGraw's Sweeter and Pearl Jam's Pearl Jam Twenty soundtrack. Also due: Cody Simpson's Coast To Coast EP, Thrice's Major/Minor, Tori Amos' Night Of Hunters Opeth's Heritage, Jayhawks' Mockingbird Time and Superheavy's Superheavy.

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