Week Ending Aug. 5, 2012. Albums: Sale Boosts Bee Gees
Bee Gees' 2004 compilation Number Ones re-enters The Billboard 200 at #5, just two weeks after Phil Collins' …Hits re-entered the chart at #6. The boost, in both cases, was due to Amazon MP3's aggressive 99-cent pricing for the digital version of the album. This is the brother trio's first appearance in the top 10 since September 1983, when it scored with the soundtrack to John Travolta's Staying Alive (an ill-advised sequel to Saturday Night Fever).
There's a poignant aspect to this week's surge: Robin Gibb died on May 20. He would have no doubt loved seeing Bees Gees back in the top 10 alongside such contemporary acts as Rick Ross (who debuts at #1).
This gives the trio a nearly 45-year span of top 10 albums. The brothers first cracked the top 10 the week of Nov. 18, 1967 with Bee Gees 1st. (It was in the top 10 alongside such 1960s touchstones as the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Doctor Zhivago soundtrack.)
As with Collins' …Hits, this is a tremendous bargain on a per-hit basis. Number Ones contains 13 of the brothers' 15 top 10 hits. This comes out to less than eight cents per top 10 hit. You can't beat it!
However, this will almost certainly be a short-lived surge. Collins' album went from sales of 40K the week it was on sale to fewer than 2K the following week and about 1K this week.
Number Ones has far surpassed its original peak at #23 the week it debuted in November 2004. The album has sold 1,236,000 copies (combining sales from versions issued by two different record companies). It's the trio's ninth top 10 album. The tally includes three greatest hits albums, three studio albums, two soundtracks and a live album.
Number Ones also re-enters Top Catalog Albums at #1. It's the trio's third #1 album on the catalog chart. One Night Only topped the chart for two weeks in 2003. Greatest spent two weeks on top in 2007.
Incidentally, Number Ones is the sixth album with a title that explicitly referenced an artist's chart-topping success to top the catalog chart. It follows The Beatles' 1, Elvis Presley's Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits, George Strait's 50 Number Ones, Michael Jackson's Number Ones and Elton John's Rocket Man: Number Ones. Fittingly, these are six of the biggest acts in chart history.
What's good news for one trio is bad news for another. Bee Gees' entry into the top 10 keeps the country trio Gloriana from landing its second straight top 10 album. Instead, A Thousand Miles Left Behind debuts at #11. (Coincidentally, Gloriana includes a pair of brothers, Mike and Tom Gossin.)