Week Ending March 18, 2012. Albums: British Teens On Top

With its album Up All Night, One Direction this week becomes the first British teen group to hit #1 on The Billboard 200. Four of the five members of the boy band (which includes one Irishman) are still in their teens. Six previous groups which included at least one teen member have landed #1 albums: Kris Kross, New Kids On The Block, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Destiny's Child and Jonas Brothers. All were American.

One Direction has a great "back-story." The five members tried out individually for The X Factor in the U.K., but failed to qualify in the "boys" category. After a suggestion by guest judge Nicole Scherzinger, they formed a group, thus qualifying in the "group" category. The group made its first live appearance in the U.S. on March 12 on NBC's Today show.

One Direction is the second act that rose to fame on The X Factor in the U.K. to land a #1 album in the U.S. The group follows Leona Lewis, whose Spirit debuted at #1 in April 2008. Oddly, Up All Night has yet to reach #1 in the U.K. (it peaked at #2 in December). By contrast, Spirit had been #1 in the U.K. for seven weeks before it was released here.

You might reasonably assume that One Direction won on The X Factor. Never assume. The group finished third in Season 7, behind Matt Cardle and Rebecca Ferguson. (Lewis was the winner on Season 3 of The X Factor.)

A little more than half of the copies of Up All Night that were sold this week (91K out of 176K) were sold digitally, which makes the album #1 on Top Digital Albums. One Direction has an impressive seven songs on this week's Hot Digital Songs chart, topped by "What Makes You Beautiful," which jumps from #17 to #7. The song hit #1 in the U.K. in September. It was #33 on last week's Hot 100 and is expected to make a nice jump this week.

One Direction is the first British band to enter The Billboard 200 at #1 with its first American album. The Beatles didn't do that? Nope. Meet The Beatles! bowed at #92 in January 1964 and rose to #1 in its third week. I should hasten to add that entering the chart at #1 was unheard of back then. No albums opened at #1 until 1975, and no debut albums achieved the feat until 1993.

(Four other British groups—Spice Girls and the "super-groups" Blind Faith, Bad Company and Asia—have hit #1 with their debut albums.)

Pop Quiz: What was the first album to enter The Billboard 200 at #1? What was the first debut album to achieve the feat? Answers below.

Adele's 21 holds at #2 for the second week. You probably know that the album has logged 23 weeks at #1, but you may not know that it has also logged an impressive number of weeks at #2. This is its 16th week in the runner-up spot.

Adele also makes news with her DVD Live At The Royal Albert Hall, which is #1 on Top Music Videos for the 16th straight week. That's the longest stay in the #1 spot for a video by a female artist since Barbra Streisand'sBarbra—The Concert was #1 for 16 weeks from October 1994 to April 1996. In six weeks, look for Adele to tie the all-time record for a video by a female artist. That was set in 1986 by Whitney Houston'sThe #1 Video Hits, which logged 22 weeks on top from July to November of that year. (It's interesting that all three of these videos are by great singers, not just pop stars who get by on flash and costume changes. Not to name names.)

If you're keeping track, Adele's video sold 18K copies this week, bringing its total to 748K. I predict a Mother's Day bump. Will this DVD top the 1 million mark before the Christmas sales season? If not, that will certainly push it over the top.

Quiz Answers: Elton John's Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy was the first album to enter The Billboard 200 at #1. It scored in June 1975. Snoop Doggy Dogg's Doggy Style was the first debut album to enter The Billboard 200 at #1. It scored in November 1993 with first-week sales of a whopping 803K copies.

Guns N' Roses'

Greatest Hits vaults from #31 to #3, matching its original peak position when it debuted on the chart in March 2004. (The album surged because of a 25-cent offer for the digital edition at Amazon MPC and Google Play.) The album is #1 on Top Catalog Albums, dislodging Whitney Houston'sWhitney: The GreatestHits. This is the album's 13th week at #1 on the catalog chart. It topped that chart for 12 weeks in 2007-2008.

Guns N' Roses' album has sold 5,246,000 copies, which makes it the best-selling greatest hits album of the last 10 years, according to Nielsen SoundScan's definitive tallies. Its closest rivals are Elvis Presley's Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits (4,806,000) and Michael Jackson's Number Ones (4,755,000). You already know that if you read a Chart Watch Extra we posted on Friday in which I listed the 25 best-selling albums of the last 10 years. If you missed it, here's a link.

Guns N' Roses' album contains six top 10 hits, including the chart-topping "Sweet Child O' Mine." (For fans who took advantage of the 25-cent sale, that comes out to about four cents per top 10 hit. A sweet deal.)


Take Care holds at #7 this week. Last week, the album surpassed the total sales of Drake's first album, Thank Me Later. This week, it pulls even further ahead. Take Care has sold 1,618,000 copies in just 18 weeks. Thank Me Later has sold 1,571,000 copies in 21 months. Drake has also amassed nine top 10 hits on the Hot 100. He's a bigger star than his media profile (and winless Grammy track record) would suggest.

"We Are Young" by fun. featuring Janelle Monae is #1 on Top Digital Songs for the fifth time in the past six weeks. Will it also hold at #1 on the Hot 100? And what will happen to One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" and Train's "Drive By," which also surge into the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs? 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. One Direction, Up All Night, 176,000. This new entry is the first #1 album for the British-Irish boy band. Seven songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "What Makes You Beautiful," which jumps from #17 to #7.

2. Adele, 21, 148,000. The former #1 album dips to #2 following 23 non-consecutive weeks at #1. This is its 56th week in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Set Fire To The Rain," which drops from #9 to #13.

3. Guns N' Roses, Greatest Hits, 85,000. The album jumps from #31 to #3 in its 231st week on the chart. This is its sixth week in the top 10.

4. Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball, 57,000. The former #1 album drops to #4 in its second week. No songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs.

5. Passion, Passion: White Flag, 49,000. This new entry is a "praise and worship" album which features such stars of the genre as Chris Tomlin and David Crowder Band. It was recorded at the Passion 2012 conference in Atlanta.

6. Whitney Houston, Whitney: The Greatest Hits, 45,000. The album holds at #6 in its 35th week. This is its eighth week in the top 10. "I Will Always Love You" drops from #43 to #102 on Hot Digital Songs.

7. Drake, Take Care, 29,000. The former #1 album holds at #7 in its 18th week. This is its 15th week in the top 10. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Take Care" (featuring Rihanna), which holds at #15.

8. Various Artists, Now 41, 29,000. The album drops from #3 to #8 in its sixth week. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. The album has sold 516K copies.

9. Gotye, Making Mirrors, 24,000. The album jumps from #16 to #9 in its 11th week. This is its first week in the top 10. "Somebody That I Used To Know" (featuring Kimbra) jumps from #5 to #4 on Hot Digital Songs.

10. .fun, Some Nights, 22,000. The album rebounds from #13 to #10 in its fourth week. This is its second week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "We Are Young" (featuring Janelle Monae) holds at #1. "Some Nights" drops from #72 to #77.

Five titles drop out of the top 10 this week. Lady Antebellum's Own The Night drops from #4 to #25, Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto drops from #5 to #33, Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV drops from #8 to #30, Luke Bryan's Spring Break 4: Suntan City drops from #9 to #52, and Andrew Bird's Break It Yourself drops from #10 to #31.

Luke Bryan's Tailgates & Tanlines rebounds from #18 to #14 in its 32nd week. The album returns to #1 on Top Country Albums for the first time since August. This is its third week atop the country chart.

Tech N9ne's

KLUSTERFUK EP debuts at #15. This puts the rapper back in the top 20 after his last album, Welcome To Strangeland, peaked at #21, breaking a string of five consecutive top 20 albums. Tech N9ne first charted in 2001. Incidentally, he isn't the first artist to have fun with the colorful phrase that is the title of his EP. An act called One Hit Wonder released an album titled Clusterphukastuff in 1997. And a Various Artists album titled Clusterf**k came out in 1999. (See, creativity is alive and well in the music business.)

The Project X soundtrack drops from #12 to #18 in its third week. The album is #1 on Top Soundtracks for the second week…Say Anything's Anarchy, My Dear bows at #22. It's the alternative group's third straight album to make the top 30.

Bob Marley & the Wailers'

Legend tops the 11 million mark in U.S. sales this week. That makes the compilation the 10th best-selling album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991. Remarkably, the album achieves this feat even though this lops off its first seven years of sales activity. Every other album in Nielsen SoundScan's all-time top 10 was released between 1991 and 2000.

Legend has sold 1 million copies in less than three years. It topped the 10 million mark in the week ending June 21, 2009. No other album that is in the all-time top 10 has sold as many copies in this time frame. Next in line: the Beatles' 1, which has sold 620K copies since June 21, 2009. These two albums are followed by Metallica's Metallica (339K), Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard soundtrack (173K) and Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill (102K).

P.S. Will Legend one day be the best-selling album of the Nielsen SoundScan era? Or will the Beatles' 1? Discuss amongst yourselves.

21 Jump Street was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. It's the second movie version of an old TV show to hit #1 in the past three months. Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol headed the list for the last two weeks of December. 21 Jump Street ran on Fox from 1987 to 1990. It made a star of Johnny Depp. There is no movie soundtrack.

Coming Attractions: Look for The Hunger Games soundtrack to debut at #1 next week with sales in the 180K range. The album includes new songs by Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars, Miranda Lambert, Arcade Fire and more. The Shins' Port Of Morrow and Odd Future's The OF Tape Vol. 2 will both probably debut in the top five. Melanie Fiona's The MF Life is on track for a top 10 debut, with Diggy's Unexpected Arrival and Esperanza Spalding's Radio Music Society likely to debut in the top 15. Also due: Casey James' Casey James and Shake It Up: Live 2 Dance, the second soundtrack to the Disney Channel TV series Shake It Up.