Week Ending Jan. 22, 2012. Albums: Synchronicity!
Adele's 21 tops The Billboard 200 for the 17th week, which is the longest run by any album since Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard soundtrack logged 20 weeks on top in 1992-1993. It's the longest run at #1 for an album by a British artist since the Police's Synchronicity was #1 for 17 weeks in 1983. (Two of the three members of that trio were born in England.)
Only two albums by British (or majority-British) acts have had longer runs at #1. Fleetwood Mac's Rumours logged 31 weeks at #1 in 1977-'78. (Three of the five members the iconic pop-rock group were born in England.) The Bee Gees' Saturday Night Fever soundtrack logged 24 weeks at #1 in 1978. (All three members of the brother trio were born in England.)
21 returns to #1 in the U.K. for its 20th week on top. 21 is the first non-soundtrack ever to log 17 or more weeks at #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. Only three other albums (all of them soundtracks) have accomplished this feat: South Pacific (115 weeks at #1 in the U.K., 31 weeks on top in the U.S.), Elvis Presley's Blue Hawaii (18 weeks in the U.K., 20 weeks in the U.S.) and Saturday Night Fever (18 weeks in the U.K., 24 weeks in the U.S.)
It will be interesting to see how far this album can go. It's at 6,147,000 in U.S. sales right now. "Set Fire To The Rain" will probably hit #1 today, so songs from the album are still getting heavy radio airplay. And Adele is certain to sweep the Grammys on Feb. 12. So the album is sure to get to 7 or 8 million. Can it reach 10 million? No album that has been released since Eminem's The Eminem Show (which came out in May 2002) has done that, but at this point, I wouldn't bet against it.
This is absolutely, positively my last year-end item for 2011 (unless I think of something else): 21 sold more than twice as many copies in 2011 (5,824,000) as Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III sold in 2008 (2,874,000) when it was that year's #1 album.
What's the most successful ongoing series of albums in the nearly 56-year history of The Billboard 200? If you said the Now series, step to the front of the class. A whopping 45 albums in the long-running Now series have made top 10 since 1998. (That includes 40 regular installments, plus five themed editions devoted to Christmas songs, country and #1 hits.) Do you know what franchise is in second place? It's the Kidz Bop series, which this week lands its 14th top 10 installment as Kidz Bop 21 debuts at #2.
This is the third consecutive album in this series (and the fourth all told) to debut at #2. The series has yet to yield a #1 album.