Week Ending Feb. 19, 2012. Albums: 21 For 21
Adele's 21 logs its 21st week at #1 on The Billboard 200, which is the longest that any album has remained on top since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991. The album sold 730,000 copies in its 52nd week, which is more than any album has sold this deep into its chart run. It blows past a record set nine years ago by Norah Jones' Come Away With Me, which sold 621K in its 53rd week in March 2003. Both albums owed their late surges to a Grammy sweep. Jones won five awards; Adele won six.
Other factors fueling Adele's surge: a 60 Minutes profile that preceded the Grammys, Valentine's Day gift-giving and a string of three straight #1 singles.
The last album to log 21 weeks at #1 was M.C. Hammer's Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em in 1990.
This is the longest that an album by a female solo artist has held the top spot since the album chart became a weekly feature in 1956. 21 surpasses Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard, which logged 20 weeks on top in 1992-1993.
Adele has a second album in this week's top five. Her 2008 debut album 19 jumps from #9 to #4, its highest ranking to date. Adele's two albums sold a combined 817K copies this week, which is more than all the other albums in the top 18 combined (809K).
21 is only the fourth album in the history of The Billboard 200 to spend its first 52 weeks inside the top 10. Fleetwood Mac's Rumours spent its first 52 weeks in the top 10 in 1977-1978. Bruce Springsteen's Born In The U.S.A. spent its first 84 weeks in the top 10 from 1984 into 1986. Celine Dion's Falling Into You spent its first 59 weeks in the top 10 in 1996-1997.
21 tops the 7 million mark in U.S. sales in its 52nd week. It's the first album to reach 7 million that quickly since Usher's Confessions hit that plateau in its 36th week in November 2004. Two other albums that have been released since Confessions have sold 7 million or more copies, but they both took much longer to hit the 7 million mark. Nickelback's All The Right Reasons took three years and two months. Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts took four years and eight months.
21 has sold 7,353,000 copies, which is more than any album since All The Right Reasons, which was released in October 2005. It has sold more copies than any album by a female artist since Norah Jones' Come Away With Me, which came out in February 2002. (The current sales tallies on those albums: 7,575,000 and 10,802,000, respectively.)