Week Ending March 17, 2013. Albums: Bon Jovi Bests Bowie
David Bowie’s The Next Day enters The Billboard 200 at #2, becoming the rock icon’s highest-charting album to date. It tops Station To Station, which peaked at #3 in February 1976. Even so, it was no match for Bon Jovi’s What About Now, which debuts at #1. It’s the band’s fifth #1 album.
Bowie is one of the most celebrated artists of the rock era. He made the cover of TIME in 1983, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Bon Jovi hasn’t received any of those accolades. The band just sells albums (and concert tickets) year in and year out.
What About Now is the band’s third consecutive studio album to hit #1. It follows 2007’s Lost Highway and 2009’s The Circle. This marks the first time that the band has hit #1 with three consecutive studio albums.
Bon Jovi is the third act from New Jersey to amass five or more #1 albums. The band trails Bruce Springsteen, who has had 10 #1 albums between 1980 and 2012, and Frank Sinatra, who had six between 1946 and 1966. Whitney Houston is in fourth place. She had four #1 albums between 1986 and 2009. (Bon Jovi, which demonstrated its state pride by titling its 1988 album New Jersey, is from Sayreville, N.J. Springsteen was born in Freehold, Sinatra in Hoboken and Houston in Newark.)
This marks the second time that Bon Jovi has annoyed rock critics by debuting at #1 ahead of a critically-lauded act. Lost Highway debuted at #1 in June 2007, beating out the White Stripes’ Icky Thump, which debuted and peaked at #2.
Bon Jovi must be glad it released its album when it did. Next week, Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience is a lock to debut at #1 with first-week sales in the 800K range—which would be about eight times what What About Now sold in its first week.
The Next Day is Bowie’s first studio album in nearly 10 years. Bowie first charted in April 1972 with Hunky Dory. He first cracked the top 40 in March 1973 with Space Oddity. He first reached the top 10 in July 1974 with Diamond Dogs.