Update: Merle Haggard Has First #1 Country Album in 31 Years, Highest Position Ever on Top 200 Albums

Update: Django and Jimmie is debuting at number 7 on the Billboard Top 200 making it, by far, Merle Haggard's highest charting album. It is also the number 1 Country Album of the week, Haggard's first in 31 years dating back to 1984's It's All in the Game.

In his long storied career, Merle Haggard has never been higher than number 37 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums until this week.

If all projections stay true, Hag and his singing partner, Willie Nelson, will finish in the top ten with their new album Django and Jimmie. Dedicated to their heroes, Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers, the album is about as far from current top forty country as you can go yet it is obviously resonating with fans of the artists and the music.

According to Hits Daily Double's projections, Django and Jimmie sold in the area of 30,000 copies last week, making it the fourth biggest selling album of the week. Add in streaming numbers and the "equivalent" copies move up to 31,430 which, in a slow sales week, still is good enough for a projected position of number 6.

Nelson has hit the top ten with recent albums (To All the Girls... (2013 / #9 Pop / #2 Country), Band of Brothers (2014 / #5 Pop / #1 Country) but this is all new territory for Merle. While he has had 41 top ten albums on the Country chart, fifteen of which went to number 1, he has only had nine that have made the top 100 on the Billboard Top 200 before Django and Jimmie:
  • Same Train, Different Time (1969 / #67 Pop / #1 Country)
  • Okie From Muskogee (1969 / #46 Pop / #1 Country)
  • A Portrait of Merle Haggard (1969 / #99 Pop / #3 Country)
  • A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World (or, My Salute to Bob Wills) (1970 / #58 Pop / #2 Country)
  • The Fightin' Side of Me (1970 / #68 Pop / #1 Country)
  • Hag (1971 / #66 Pop / #1 Country)
  • Pancho & Lefty (with Willie Nelson) (1983 / #37 Pop / #1 Country)
  • Last of the Breed (with Willie Nelson and Ray Price) (2007 / #64 Pop / #7 Country)
  • I Am What I Am (2010 / #77 Pop / #18 Country)
  • Django and Jimmie (with Willie Nelson) (2015 / TBD)
The Barenaked Ladies' new album, Silverball, is also making a good entry, projected at number 22 on the sales chart with 12,600 in sales. Only a little over 200 units were added for streaming, dropping their Sales + Streaming position to 37. That would still be a drop from their last album, 2013's Grinning Streak, which debuted at number 10. 

The final positions will be released by Billboard on Thursday. 

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