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