Bruce Springsteen lands his 10th #1 album with Wrecking Ball, which allows him to both tie and surpass Elvis Presley. These two legends now share the record for most #1 albums by a male rock solo artist. So, in what way does Springsteen surpass Presley? Springsteen has lived to see all 10 of his #1 albums. Only Presley's first nine #1 albums (from 1956's Elvis Presley through 1973's Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite) occurred in his lifetime. The 10th, Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits, came 25 years after his death.
Two artists have had even more #1 albums than The Boss and The King. The Beatles lead the pack with 19 #1 albums. Jay-Z is in second place with 12.
This is Springsteen's third consecutive studio album to reach #1, following 2007's Magic and 2009's Working On A Dream. This marks the first time in Springsteen's 38-year recording career that he has had three consecutive #1 studio albums. He has had two in a row twice (Born In The U.S.A. and Tunnel Of Love in the 1980s and The Rising and Devils & Dust in the 2000s.)
Wrecking Ball also jumps to #1 in the U.K. this week. It's Springsteen's ninth #1 album in the U.K. Eight of those albums have reached #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. Only The Beatles have had more "transatlantic #1 albums." The Fab Four hit #1 in both countries with 10 albums.
Immense fame doesn't make life any easier, as we were reminded again last month. Few performers have achieved fame comparable to Springsteen. (There's Dylan, McCartney, Streisand, Jagger, Wonder and maybe one or two others. It's a very short list.) I give these artists a lot of credit for keeping their heads on straight amid the pressures of mega-stardom.
Springsteen's album sold 196K copies, just 1K more than Adele's 21, which has been in release for 55 weeks. That album dips to #2 following 23 (non-consecutive) weeks at #1. The album tops the 8 million mark in U.S. sales in its 55th week. It's the first album to reach the 8 million plateau since Usher's Confessions, which achieved the feat in its 42nd week in January 2005. Even though Confessions reached 8 million more quickly, the achievement of 21 is more remarkable, given today's diminished album market compared to 2004-2005. Will 21 reach 9 million? 10 million? It's certainly looking good. Stay tuned.
Three former #1 albums return to the top 10 after digital versions were offered for just 25 cents at Google Play (an almost ridiculously low price that was matched at Amazon's MP3 store). Lady Antebellum's Own The Night rebounds from #16 to #4, Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto jumps from #29 to #5 and Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV rebounds from #37 to #8. This is Mr. Wayne's first appearance in the top 10 since the week ending Oct. 23. (Now 41 and Drake's Take Care, which were also in the promotion, were already in the top 10. Each moved up a notch this week, to #3 and #7, respectively.)
Wait, you might well be thinking, didn't Billboard revise its chart policy in the wake of the 99-cent promotion on Lady Gaga's Born This Way to guard against this sort of thing? It did, but only for albums in their first four weeks of release. These albums have been out for between five and 28 weeks. I explained it all in a Chart Watch Extra that was posted on Monday. If you missed it, here's a link.).
The "what a steal" pricing helps keep Own The Night atop Top Country Albums for the 13th week. That's the longest that any album has been #1 on this chart since Taylor Swift's Speak Now concluded a 13-week run on top in January 2011.
Whitney Houston's Whitney: The Greatest Hits drops from #2 to #6. It's #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the fifth straight week. That's the longest run at #1 on the catalog chart by an artist who had passed on since Michael Jackson's Number Ones headed the chart for 28 weeks in 2009-2010.
Luke Bryan's EP Spring Break 4: Suntan City debuts at #9, giving the country star two entries in the top 20. Tailgates & Tanlines holds at #18 in its 31st week. The latter album has sold 831K copies. Based on these two titles, I'd have to call Bryan the most enthusiastic tanning enthusiast in country music since Kenny Chesney titled his 2003 holiday album All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan.
You may think of Bryan as a B-level country star. You may need to rethink that. He has four of this week's top 100 digital songs. And not just in the country field, either, but overall.
Spring Break 4 is Bryan's fourth annual installment in a series of EPs, following Spring Break With All My Friends, Spring Break 2…Hangover Edition and Spring Break 3…It's A Shore Thing.
"We Are Young" by fun. featuring Janelle Monae is #1 on Top Digital Songs for the fourth time in five weeks. Will it hold at #1 on the Hot 100? And what will happen to the two songs that enter the digital top 10, "Wild Ones" by Flo Rida featuring Sia and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"? You'll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
1. Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball, 196,000. This new entry is Springsteen's 10th #1 album. No songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. I don't think that bodes well for this album remaining #1 next week.
2. Adele, 21, 195,000. The former #1 album dips to #2 following 23 non-consecutive weeks at #1. (Rest assured: it will be back on top.) This is its 55th week in the top 10. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Set Fire To The Rain," which drops from #6 to #9.
3. Various Artists, Now 41, 152,000. The album moves up from #4 to #3 (matching its highest ranking to date) in its fifth week. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. The album sold 124K digital copies this week, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums for the first time. (Thus, digital accounts for 82% of this week's total.) The album has sold 488K total copies.
4. Lady Antebellum, Own The Night, 108,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #16 to #4 in its 26th week. This is its 13th week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Dancin' Away With My Heart" drops from #64 to #66. "Just A Kiss" drops from #115 to #125.
5. Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto, 100,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #29 to #5 in its 20th week. This is its 10th week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Paradise" drops from #26 to #28. "Princess Of China" (featuring Rihanna) jumps from #69 to #49.
6. Whitney Houston, Whitney: The Greatest Hits, 70,000. The album drops from #2 to #6 in its 34th week. This is the album's seventh week in the top 10. Two Houston songs are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "I Will Always Love You" jumps from #53 to #43. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" drops from #145 to #179.
7. Drake, Take Care, 58,000. The former #1 album jumps from #8 to #7 in its 17th week. This is its 14th week in the top 10. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Take Care" (featuring Rihanna), which jumps from #18 to #15.
8. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV, 36,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #37 to #8 in its 28th week. This is its ninth week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Mirror" (featuring Bruno Mars), which drops from #63 to #68.
9. Luke Bryan, Spring Break 4: Suntan City, 30,000. This new entry is Bryan's third top 10 album or EP. "Suntan City" enters Hot Digital Songs at #95.
10. Andrew Bird, Break It Yourself, 30,000. This new entry is Bird's first top 10 album. His previous album, Noble Beast, peaked at #12 in 2009. The folk-rock artist first charted in 2007.
Six albums drop out of the top 10 this week. WZRD's WZRD plummets from #3 to #34, Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard soundtrack drops from #5 to #15, Tyga's Careless World: Rise Of The Last King drops from #6 to #14, Adele's 19 drops from #7 to #11, Rihanna's Talk That Talk drops from #9 to #17 and Whitney Houston's Whitney Houston drops from #10 to #21.
The Project X soundtrack jumps from #23 to #12 in its second week. It's the week's #1 soundtrack, displacing The Bodyguard. The movie dipped from #2 to #3 in its second weekend at the box-office. The soundtrack features such artists as Far*East Movement featuring Pitbull, Nas, Kid Cudi, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wale, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg and D12...Every Time I Die's Ex Lives debuts at #25. This is the sixth full-length album by the hard rock band, which first charted in 2005.
Guns N' Roses' 2004 album Greatest Hits vaults from #86 to #31 in its 230th chart week. It was another one of those 25-cent promotion deals (this one at AmazonMP3)…The soundtrack to the Footloose reboot re-enters at #41 in the wake of the release of the DVD. Two versions of the title track re-enter Hot Digital Songs. Kenny Loggins' original re-enters at #177 (total sales: 975K). Blake Shelton's remake re-enters at #183 (total sales: 191K)…Big Time Rush's Big Time Movie Soundtrack debuts at #44. The six-song EP, an iTunes exclusive, consists entirely of Beatles songs. The teen group reached the top 15 with its first two albums, BTR and Elevate.
Adele's Live At The Royal Albert Hall is #1 on Top Music Videos for the 15th straight week. This is the longest run at #1 since Pink Floyd's Pulse spent its 25th non-consecutive week on top in October 2006. It's the longest continuous run at #1 since Collision Course by Jay-Z/Linkin Park was #1 for 17 straight weeks in 2004-2005. Adele's DVD sold 22K copies this week, bringing its total to 730K.
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax was #1 at the box-office over the weekend for the second straight weekend. It's the first movie to rank #1 twice since Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol spent the final two weekends of 2011 in the lead. The soundtrack sold a little less than 3K copies this week, too few to make The Billboard 200.
Coming Attractions: One Direction's debut album Up All Night appears to be headed for a #1 debut next week. The group rose to fame on The X Factor in the U.K. Also due: Say Anything's Anarchy, My Dear, The Ting Tings' Sounds From Nowheresville and Ruben Studdard's Letters From Birmingham.