Week Ending May 19, 2013. Albums: Strait Ties McCartney
George Strait’s new album Love Is Everything enters The Billboard 200 at #2, just behind Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires Of The City. It’s Strait’s 18th top 10 album, which puts him in the top five among male solo artists since 1955. The other four men who have reached this plateau constitute a veritable Mount Rushmore of pop. Frank Sinatra leads with 34, followed by Elvis Presley with 27, Bob Dylan with 20 and Paul McCartney, also with 18. (Sinatra’s total includes a collabo with Count Basie. Dylan’s tally includes three collabos with The Band. McCartney’s total includes an album with his late wife Linda McCartney and eight albums with his band Wings.)
It’s remarkable that Strait has tied McCartney, who is probably the most famous musician on the planet. It’s even more remarkable when you consider that Strait has piled up all of these top 10 albums since November 1992, when the Pure Country soundtrack became his first top 10 album.
Since May 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard, Strait has amassed more top 10 albums than any other artist—male or female. Mariah Carey is in second place with 16. (Carey’s tally includes her debut album, which appeared in the top 10 both before and after the start of the Nielsen SoundScan era.) Tim McGraw and Dave Matthews are in third place with 15.
If Nielsen SoundScan had been around in the years prior to 1991, Strait might well have even more top 10 albums. Country (like rap) was under-represented on the charts in the years before 1991. Strait has been a giant in the country world since February 1984, when Right Or Wrong became his first #1 album on Top Country Albums.
Love Is Everything also enters Top Country Albums at #1, displacing Lady Antebellum’s Golden. It’s Strait’s 25th #1 on that chart, which is more, by far, than any other artist in the chart’s 49-year history. Merle Haggard is in second place, with 15. Tim McGraw is third, with 14. Willie Nelson and Alan Jackson are tied for fourth, with 13.