There is really only one story when it comes to the U.S. record business this week and it has to do with a rather young artist, at least in the scope of this site, Adele. Her third album, 25, set a record by selling 3.38 million albums in its first week smashing the previous record of 2.42 million by N'SYNC for their 2000 album No Strings Attached.
There are no reliable numbers for week-by-week sales for albums released prior to the start of the Soundscan era in 1991 when actual sales started to be tracked but it most certainly would rank up with the greatest debuts of all-time, even compared to the heyday of the Beatles.
Plus, it's continuing to sell huge. 25 has already passed the four million mark at ten days. That's putting it in the area of Taylor Swift's 1989 which was being hailed as a miracle in the current depressed atmosphere of album sales and that album has been out for over a year.
As far as veteran artists go, Enya has the biggest debut of the week with Dark Sky Island coming in at number 8. That ties the new set with her last release, 2008's And Winter Came... as the third highest charting album of her career in the U.S. Enya's A Day Without Rain (2000) peaked at number 2 while 2005's Amarantine went to number 6.
Rush start at number 24 with their R40Live. This is the eleventh live album that they have released in the U.S. and the seventh since 2003 with only 2008's Snakes and Arrows Live doing better in that time, peaking at 18. Previous to 2000, their 1981 album Exit...Stage Left went to number 10 and 1989's A Show of Hands peaked at 21.
It appears the interest in the Grateful Dead's "final" shows were not as high as anticipated. While a number of archive live releases have landed in the top twenty over the last few years, their Fare Thee Well box set with all three of their Soldier's Field shows could only debut at 47. The double disc best of set also charts at 130.
At 74 is the premier of the collection Icon Christmas: Frank Sinatra while Tracy Chapman starts at 105 with her Greatest Hits.
Along with the Grateful Dead sets, another surprising weak start goes to the soundtrack from Roger Waters's The Wall which debuts at 134. The U.S. may just be "Walled" out with the various versions, both studio and live, that have been released over the years.
The top five albums this week in the U.S.:
- 25 - Adele
- Purpose - Justin Bieber
- Made in the A.M. - One Direction
- Top 5 Dead or Alive - Jadakiss
- Beauty Behind the Madness - The Weeknd
- Hello - Adele
- Sorry - Justin Bieber
- Hotline Bling - Drake
- What Do You Mean? - Justin Bieber
- The Hills - The Weeknd
- Rock Albums - R40Live - Rush
- Hard Rock Albums - R40Live - Rush
- Blues Albums - Perfectamundo - Billy Gibbons and the BFG's
- Jazz Albums - Cheek to Cheek - Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
- New Age Albums - Dark Sky Island - Enya
- Classical Albums - Cinema - Andrea Bocelli
- Gospel Album - Losing My Religion - Kirk Franklin
- Holiday 100 - All I Want For Christmas is You - Mariah Carey
- Holiday Digital Songs - All I Want For Christmas is You - Mariah Carey
- Holiday Streaming Songs - All I Want For Christmas is You - Mariah Carey
- Holiday Airplay - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
- Christian Airplay - Feel It - tobyMac Featuring Mr. Talkbox
- Hot Gospel Songs - Wanna Be Happy? - Kirk Franklin
- Gospel Digital Songs - Wanna Be Happy? - Kirk Franklin
- Latin Digital Songs - El Perdon - Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias
- Latin Streaming Songs - El Perdon - Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias