Week Ending May 12, 2013. Albums: Great Gatsby Off To Great Start

Paul Grein
Chart Watch (NEW)

Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film The Great Gatsby enters The Billboard 200 at #2, just behind Lady Antebellum’s Golden. Gatsby sold 137K copies, about 50% more than initially forecast. This is the biggest one-week sales tally for a soundtrack since The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 And Beyond sold 175K in its first week in March 2012.

This is the third soundtrack to a film directed by Luhrmann to reach the top three. Romeo + Juliet hit #2 in January 1997. Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film Moulin Rouge hit #3 in June 2001. All three of these albums have spawned hit songs. Romeo + Juliet featured the Cardigans’ “Lovefool” and Garbage’s “#1 Crush.” Moulin Rouge yielded a chart-topping remake of LaBelle’s 1975 smash “Lady Marmalade” by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and P!nk. The Great Gatsby has spawned Lana Del Rey’s “Young & Beautiful” and “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)” by Fergie, Q-Tip & GoonRock.

Jay-Z served as executive producer of the Gatsby soundtrack, which also features such artists as Andre 3000, Jack White and Florence + the Machine. The album is an instant front-runner to win the Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media, an award won in February by Woody Allen for Midnight In Paris.

The album sold 119K digital copies (87% of its total), which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums. That’s the biggest one-week digital sales tally ever for a soundtrack, surpassing Glee: The Music: Journey To Regionals, which sold 106 copies in its first week in June 2010. Among movies from theatrically-released movies, the old record was held by the aforementioned The Hunger Games, which sold 100K digital copies in its first week.

Leonardo DiCaprio, who stars in The Great Gatsby, also starred in Romeo + Juliet. (He also starred in a non-Luhrmann movie that spawned a rather successful soundtrack, Titanic.)

DiCaprio is 38, one year older than Robert Redford was when he starred in the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby. (Wanna feel old? DiCaprio wasn’t even born yet when Redford’s movie came out in March 1974. DiCaprio was born that November.)

The Great Gatsby has far eclipsed the soundtrack to that 1974 film, which peaked at #85. Legendary arranger and conductor Nelson Riddle conducted the album, which included such vintage 1920s songs as “It Had To be You,” “What’ll I Do” and “Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby.” Riddle won an Oscar for his work on the film in the now-defunct category of Best Original Song Score And/Or Adaptation.

While Luhrmann appreciates the jazz that Fitzgerald describes in the novel (and which dominated the 1974 soundtrack), he chose to go another way. “No matter how much I like that music, it’s classical music now,” he told the Los Angeles Times’ Mikael Wood. “Gatsby was intoxicating everyone in New York with champagne and music…Now there’s another form of African American street music—hip-hop—that speaks in exactly the same way to our lives.”

The Great Gatsby album enters Top Soundtracks at #1, displacing Iron Man 3: Heroes Fall, which drops to #6 on that chart. The two movies were in reverse order at the box-office over the weekend. Iron Man 3 was #1 for the second weekend in a row. Gatsby debuted at #2.

Romeo + Juliet was the highest-ranking soundtrack on The Billboard 200 for three weeks. Moulin Rouge was the top soundtrack for eight weeks.

Lady Antebellum’s Golden debuts at #1. It’s the trio’s third studio album to reach #1. (It follows Need You Now and Own The Night.) This puts Lady A just one album behind Rascal Flatts, which reached #1 with four studio albums between 2004 and 2009. Dixie Chicks also reached #1 with three studio albums. One country duo, Sugarland, has had three #1 albums, but that tally includes a live album.

Golden displaces Kenny Chesney’s Life On A Rock from #1. This marks the first time that country albums have appeared at #1 back-to-back since Jason Aldean’s Night Train and Taylor Swift’s Red did it in October. (If you don’t consider Red to be country album, you have to go back to October 2010 for Sugarland’s The Incredible Machine and Swift’s previous, more country-oriented Speak Now.)

Golden enters Top Country Albums at #1. All four of the trio’s studio albums have topped the country chart.

Now 46 debuts at #3. It’s the 43rd consecutive regular Now installment to debut in the top five. An offshoot, Now Country Party, debuts at #31.

Pistol Annies’ Annie Up debuts at #5. It’s the trio’s second top five album in a row. Hell On Heels reached #5 in September 2011. The trio features Miranda Lambert, who has also had three top 10 albums on her own.

In a unique circumstance, Lambert’s husband, Blake Shelton, is also listed in the top 10. Based On A True Story… logs its seventh week in the top 10, which is Shelton’s best showing to date. It surpasses Red River Blue, which spent four weeks in the top 10 in 2011. That album is close to becoming Shelton’s first million-selling album. It is up to 973K.

Rod Stewart’s Time debuts at #7. It’s his first studio album of new material to crack the top 10 since Vagabond Heart in May 1991. Time is Stewart’s ninth consecutive studio album to make the top 10, but the previous eight consisted of vintage material—five volumes of traditional pop standards and one volume each of rock, soul and Christmas classics.

The Great American Songbook albums, though derided as cheesy by critics, brought Stewart back to prominence. None of his three studio albums immediately prior to the release of the first standards album in 2002 even cracked the top 30. The last of the three, Human, stalled at a dismal #50 in 2001.

Time is Stewart’s 17th top 10 album (not counting a 1972 album with Faces). That puts Stewart in a tie with his pal Elton John for the second most top 10 albums by a British male solo artist. (Elton’s tally counts a collabo with Leon Russell.) They both trail Paul McCartney, who has had 18 top 10 albums apart from the Beatles. (McCartney’s total counts eight albums with Wings and one with his late wife, Linda McCartney).

This week’s debut gives Stewart a nearly 42-year span of top 10 albums. He first cracked the top 10 in July 1971 with Every Picture Tells A Story.

Stewart is one of six male solo artists in this week’s top 10. By comparison, the highest-ranking female solo artist is P!nk at #11.

“Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton holds at #1 for the third week on Hot Digital Songs (241K). Will it also hold at #1 for the second week on the Hot 100? And how high will “#Beautiful” by Mariah Carey featuring Miguel debut? (It enters Hot Digital Songs at #10 with sales of 114K). You’ll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

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

The Top Five: Lady Antebellum’s Golden debuts at #1 (167K). It’s the trio’s fifth top 10 album...Music From Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby debuts at #2 (137K)… Now 46 debuts at #3 (91K). It’s the 51st album in the Now franchise to reach the top 10…Michael Buble’s To Be Loved drops from #2 to #4 in its third week (84K)…Pistol Annies’ Annie Up debuts at #5 (83K). It’s their second top five album.

The Second Five: Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience drops from #3 to #6 in its eighth week (66K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time… Rod Stewart’s Time debuts at #7 (52K). It’s his 17th top 10 album…Kenny Chesney’s Life On A Rock drops from #1 to #8 in its second week (48K)…Blake Shelton’s Based On A True Story… drops from #6 to #9 in its seventh week (38K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time…Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox drops from #8 to #10 in its 22nd week (32K). This is its 19th week in the top 10.

Five albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Fantasia’s Side Effects Of You drops from #4 to #18. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist drops from #5 to #12. P!nk’s The Truth About Love drops from #7 to #11. Randy Rogers Band’s Trouble plummets from #9 to #87. Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions drops from #10 to #14.

The Music Of Nashville, Season 1, Volume 2 debuts at #13. The first volume reached #14 in December.

She & Him’s Volume 3 debuts at #15. It’s the pair’s third top 20 album. Volume Two reached #6 in April 2010. A Very She & He Christmas hit #12 in October 2011. The duo includes Zooey Deschanel, the star of TV’s New Girl, which debuted in September 2011. Deschanel received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the first season.

Natalie Maines’ first solo album, Mother, enters The Billboard 200 at #17. That’s far below the level of success that Maines enjoyed as a member of Dixie Chicks. All four of that trio’s studio albums reached the top five; the last three debuted at #1. Mother is a rock album, not a country album, so it doesn’t appear on Top Country Albums. The title track first appeared on Pink Floyd’s 1979 album The Wall.

Fitz & the Tantrums’ second studio album More Than Just A Dream debuts at #25. It has far surpassed the #140 peak of the band’s 2010 debut, Pickin’ Up The PiecesStraight No Chaser’s fourth studio album, Under The Influence, debuts at #28. This edges out the group’s previous album, With A Twist (which peaked at #29) to become its highest-charting album to date.

George Jones’ 1987 compilation Super Hits jumps from #90 to #68 in its third week on the chart. The album jumps to #1 on Top Catalog Albums, displacing Jones’ 1998 compilation 16 Biggest Hits. Jones is the first artist to top the catalog chart in each of the first three weeks after his or her death since Whitney Houston did it in each of the first five weeks after her death in February 2012. Though Super Hits didn’t crack The Billboard 200 until after Jones’ death (when it finally debuted at #56), it has been a big seller. It has sold 2,278,000 copies.

Eagles’ History Of The Eagles, a three-disk documentary/concert video, is #1 on Top Music Videos for the second week. It sold 10K copies this week, down from 23K in its first week.

Coming Attractions: Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires Of The City is expected to debut at #1 next week, with sales in the 125K range. George Strait’s Love Is Everything and Demi Lovato's Demi will battle for #2, each with sales in the 110K range. Amy Grant’s How Mercy Looks From Here will probably open at #11 (25K). Trace Adkins’ Love Will will probably open at #15 (22K). Also due: Escape The Fate’s Ungrateful (about 15K) and Dillinger Escape Plan's One Of Us Is The Killer.