Week Ending Feb. 10, 2013. Albums: Josh Groban–No Hits? No Problem
Josh Groban has yet to score a top 40 hit on the Hot 100, but that hasn’t held him back in album sales. This week, he lands his third #1 album on The Billboard 200 with All That Echoes. He’s only the second solo artist in chart history to land three or more #1 albums before landing a top 40 single. He follows Garth Brooks, who had amassed seven #1 albums before he finally cracked the top 40 in 1999 with “Lost In You.” (The artist billing, you may remember, was Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines.)
Two groups—both hard rock bands—have, like Groban, amassed three or more #1 albums without yet scoring a top 40 hit. Disturbed has amassed four #1 albums. Godsmack has had three.
Groban’s highest-charting single to date is “The Prayer,” a collabo with Celine Dion, which reached #70 in 2008. (It was a cover of the Oscar-nominated ballad from 1998’s Quest For Camelot.) The fact that, even partnered with such a prolific hit-maker, Groban fell short of the top 40 suggests the resistance there is to him at pop radio. Groban has a booming, classically-influenced singing style which many stations think would sound out of place amid the pop and dance hits they favor.
Disturbed’s highest-charting single, by weird coincidence, had a very similar title: “Prayer.” It reached #58 in 2002. Godsmack’s highest-charting single is “Straight Out Of Line,” which hit #73 in 2003.
Rob Cavallo produced Groban’s new album, picking up the reins from Rick Rubin, who produced his previous album, Illuminations. David Foster produced Groban’s first four studio albums. All three of these producers have won the Grammy for Producer of the Year. Groban has been lucky to work with such top-flight producers.
Groban’s previous #1 albums were Closer, which spent one week on top in January 2004, and Noel, which spent five weeks on top in November and December 2007.
Tim McGraw’s Two Lanes Of Freedom debuts at #2. This is his 15th top 10 album, which is the second highest total ever for a country artist. George Strait has had 17 top 10 albums. McGraw pulls ahead of Garth Brooks, who has had 14 top 10 albums. (Brooks’ last studio album, Scarecrow, came out in November 2001. C’mon, Garth. Back to work.)
In addition, McGraw's album debuts at #1 on Top Country Albums. It's McGraw's 14th #1 on that chart. All but one of his studio albums has topped the country chart. His only studio album to fall short was Tim McGraw And The Dancehall Doctors, which debuted and peaked at #2 in December 2002. What album was hot enough to block its path? Shania Twain's Up!