Week Ending Jan. 8, 2012. Albums: Adele & Carole King

Paul Grein
Chart Watch (NEW)

Adele's 21 logs its 15th week at #1 on The Billboard 200, which equals the mark set in 1971 by Carole King's Tapestry. Since 1956, when the album chart became a weekly feature, only one other album by a female artist has logged 15 or more weeks at #1: Whitney Houston's 1992 soundtrack to The Bodyguard (which had 20 weeks on top).

Next month, Adele is expected to tie King again. Adele is almost certain to win Grammys for Album, Record and Song of the Year. That would make her only the second female solo artist to win in all three categories. King swept the boards in March 1972 with Tapestry (Album), "It's Too Late" (Record) and "You've Got A Friend" (Song).

Grammy officials are fervently hoping that Adele doesn't equal King in another respect. King was a new mother in March 1972 and opted not to fly from California to New York for the Grammys. Adele is recovering from throat surgery, but is expected to be able to perform at the show.

The Fine Print: Two original cast albums from Broadway shows that starred women also logged 15 or more weeks at #1. That's not quite the same thing as having an album of your own at #1, but I want to give these ladies their due here. Mary Martin headlined the cast album of The Sound Of Music, which was #1 for 16 weeks in 1960. Julie Andrews headlined the cast album of My Fair Lady, which was #1 for 15 weeks from 1956 to 1959.

21 also returns to #1 in the U.K. This is its 19th week at #1 in that country. That's the longest run at #1 in the U.K. by any album since Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water logged 33 weeks on top in 1970-1971.

21 is first album to spend 15 or more weeks at #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. since the Bee Gees' Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which topped the U.S. chart for 24 weeks and the U.K. chart for 18 weeks in 1978.

Besides 21 and Fever, only four other albums in chart history have logged 15 or more weeks at #1 in both countries. The first to do so was the aforementioned Broadway cast album to My Fair Lady (15 weeks in the U.S., 19 weeks in the U.K.). It was followed by the 1958 soundtrack to South Pacific (31 weeks in the U.S., 115 weeks in the U.K.), Elvis Presley's 1961 Blue Hawaii soundtrack (20 weeks in the U.S., 18 weeks in the U.K.) and the Beatles' 1967 masterwork Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (15 weeks in the U.S., 27 weeks in the U.K.).

SafetySuit becomes the first act to break into the top 10 in the 2012 chart year. The alternative band's These Times debuts at #7. The band's 2008 debut album, Life Left To Go, peaked at #173. SafetySuit is a four-man band from Tulsa.

Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up" enters Hot Digital Songs at #1. It's the first song to open in the top spot since "She Will" by Lil Wayne featuring Drake in August. Mraz will enter the Hot 100 at #8. I'll have more details later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.

1. Adele, 21, 124,000. The album logs its 15th week at #1. This is its 46th week in the top 10. The sales tally includes 44K digital copies, which puts the album at #1 on Top Digital Albums for the 10th week. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Set Fire To The Rain," which jumps from #6 to #3.

2. Drake, Take Care, 42,000. The former #1 album holds at #2 in its eighth week. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Headlines," which drops from #20 to #29.

3. The Black Keys, El Camino, 42,000. The album jumps from #7 to #3 in its fifth week. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. "Lonely Boy" jumps from #133 to #88 on Hot Digital Songs.

4. Young Jeezy, TM:103 Hustlerz Ambition, 36,000. The album dips from #3 to #4 in its third week. "I Do" (featuring Jay-Z and Andre 3000) drops from #165 to #171 on Hot Digital Songs.

5. Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto, 28,000. The former #1 album jumps from #8 to #5 in its 11th week. This is its seventh week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs.  "Paradise" jumps from #37 to #32. "Princess Of China" (featuring Rihanna) re-enters at #158.

6. Rihanna, Talk That Talk, 27,000. The album jumps from #9 to #6 in its seventh week. This is its fifth week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "We Found Love" (featuring Calvin Harris) drops from #2 to #4. "You Da One" jumps from #25 to #23.

7. SafetySuit, These Times, 27,000. This new entry is an iTunes exclusive for one week.

8. LMFAO, Sorry For Party Rocking, 25,000. The album drops from #5 to #8 in its 29th week. This is its second week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Sexy And I Know It," which dips from #1 to #2.

9. Various Artists, Now 40, 24,000. The album inches up from #10 to #9 in its ninth week. This is its sixth week in the top 10.

10. Florence + the Machine, Ceremonials, 24,000. The album drops from #6 to #10 in its 10th week. This is its third week in the top 10. "Shake It Out" jumps from #124 to #73 on Hot Digital Songs.

Lady Antebellum's Own The Night drops from #4 to #12 in its 17th week. It's #1 on Top Country Albums for the eighth week.

Adele's 2008 debut album, 19, drops from #11 to #13. This is the 13th time in the past year that Adele has had two albums in the top 20. 19 is #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the 30th week. Only one other debut album has spent this many weeks at #1 on the catalog chart. That's Creed's 1997 album My Own Prison, which topped the catalog chart for 54 weeks in 2000-2001. Will Adele match that long run? At this point I wouldn't bet against her, would you?

Adele's DVD Live At The Royal Albert Hall sold 24K copies this past week. This brings its six-week total to 476K.

Skrillex's digital-only EP Bangarang jumps from #19 to #15 in its second week. The dance act has a second album in the top 50. Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites jumps from #51 to #49 in its 31st week. The latter album is nominated for a Grammy as Best Dance/Electronica Album. Skrillex is a finalist for Best New Artist.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part One jumps from #37 to #34 in its ninth week. It's the week's #1 soundtrack for the third week. It has been the #1 soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie for all nine weeks.

The Various Artists album Music By Burt Bacharach debuts at #59. Bacharach has been a Billboard chart mainstay for 54 years. He and lyricist Hal David landed their first top 10 hit, Perry Como's "Magic Moments," in January 1958.

Journey's Greatest Hits jumps from #107 to #73. The 1988 album has sold 8,001,000 copies since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991.  It's the fourth best-selling greatest hits album since 1991, following the Beatles' 1 (11,992,000), Bob Marley & the Wailers' Legend (10,658,000) and Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band's Greatest Hits (9,127,000). The Marley and Journey albums have sold even more copies than these numbers indicate because they were released prior to 1991.

The Devil Inside was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. There is no soundtrack album. (INXS had a #2 hit titled "Devil Inside" in 1988.)

Shameless Plug: This past Sunday would have been Elvis Presley's 77th birthday. The Recording Academy didn't give Elvis many "birthday presents" (he won just three Grammys, all for gospel recordings), but in 1971 they enabled him to set a Grammy record that will probably stand forever. They awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award when he was just 36 years old. Presley was (and remains) the youngest living artist to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. (It's a good thing that the academy gave Presley this honor at such a young age. He died a little more than six years later, in August 1977.) Last week, I posted a blog in which I looked at the youngest living artists to receive Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards. If you missed it, here's a link.

Coming Attractions: David Crowder Band's Give Us Rest is expected to debut right around #2 next week. Snow Patrol's Fallen Empires will probably start lower in the top 10. Also due: Yo Gotti's Live From The Kitchen.