Chart Watch Extra: Singing The #2 Blues
Nobody sets out to hit #2, much less set a record for the most weeks at #2, but that's what Adele's 21 does this week. The album logs its 24th week at #2 on The Billboard 200 album chart. This enables it to tie Bruce Springsteen's 1984 album Born In The U.S.A. for the most weeks at #2 since 1963, when Billboard combined its separate mono and stereo charts into one comprehensive chart.
Both albums, of course, also hit #1. Born logged seven weeks at #1. 21 has spent 23 weeks on top. Adele's still active album will doubtless add to its tallies of weeks at #1 and #2. (In fact, it's expected to return to #1 next week.) But for now at least, it has spent more time at #2 than it has at #1. For an album that has had been so charmed in every way, that's a surprise.
A total of 21 albums have spent 12 or more weeks at #2 since 1963. One of them, Stray Cats' Built For Speed, never reached #1. It logged 15 weeks at #2. Four others eked out just one week on top: the Dr. Zhivago soundtrack, Journey's Escape, Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love and Britney Spears' Oops!...I Did It Again. (So if you've ever looked at those albums' meager tallies of weeks at #1 and thought , "Gee, I thought that album was bigger than that," it turns out you were right.)
Obviously, ranking #2 on a chart that runs 200 albums deep is great. But it's also bound to be a little frustrating, because you're so close to a position that gets more attention and commands greater glory.
Here are the 21 albums that have logged 12 or more weeks at #2 since 1963. They're listed in descending order.
Bruce Springsteen, Born In The U.S.A., 24 weeks. Springsteen's seventh album spent seven weeks at #1 and 24 weeks at #2. The 1984 album finished second to Prince & the Revolution's Purple Rain 21 times. Springsteen's album spawned seven top 10 hits including "Dancing In The Dark" and "Glory Days."
Adele's 21, 24 weeks (and counting). Adele's sophomore album has spent 23 weeks at #1 and 24 weeks at #2 (behind a record 20 different #1 albums). Michael Buble's Christmas has been its chief rival, keeping it to #2 three times. Adele's 2011 album won a Grammy as Album of the Year. It has spawned three #1 hits: "Rolling In The Deep," "Someone Like You" and "Set Fire To The Rain."