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U2 Tops the American Albums Chart (Plus Four Others); Van Morrison and Neil Young Both Debut Outside Top 100

by VVN Music

U2 has officially received the eighth number 1 album of their career in the U.S. as Songs of Experience tops the Billboard 200.

Songs of Experience is doing considerably better than their last album, Songs of Innocence, which only made it to 9 and was the band's only studio album to not make the top 3 since 1984's The Unforgettable Fire. The sales of Innocence was hurt by the controversial Apple "giveaway" program.

U2 also tops Billboard's Artist 100 while Songs of Experience is number 1 on Album Sales, Tastemakers, Rock Albums and Alternative Albums charts.

The Rolling Stones start at 47 with the archive live album On Air while Van Morrison has his lowest charting album in 17 years and fourth lowest of his career. Versatile comes out just three months after his last release, Roll With the Punches, and only is able to get to 119. His last studio album to chart that low was 2000's You Win Again with Linda Gail Lewis and only Blowin' Your Mind (1967 / #182) and Astral Weeks (1968 / Did not chart) did worse. Versatile is Morrison's 38th studio album and is at number 1 on the Jazz Albums.

Then there is Neil Young, whose second album with the group Promise of the Real, The Visitor, debuts at 167. That is the lowest charting of the 37 studio albums that Young has put on the charts.  Only his solo debut, 1969's Neil Young, did worse as it never made the Billboard 200.

Two first-time-charting Christmas albums round out the newly charting albums by veteran artists. The Dean Martin Christmas Album starts at 186 while The Best of the Jackson 5: 20th Century Masters: The Christmas Collection opens at 194.

Of last week's debuts, the Eagles' deluxe Hotel California dropped 44 to 110 and Elvis Presley's Elvis Christmas With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra fell 73 to 139. Two premiers, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' Who Built the Moon (#48 debut last week) and Bjork's Utopia (#75) both fell out of the top 200.

The top twenty albums this week by veteran artists who have been recording twenty years or more (Billboard 200 position in parenthesis). Debuts are in blue:
  1. Songs of Experience - U2 (1)
  2. Christmas - Michael Buble (8)
  3. The Anthology: Part 1, The First Five Years Garth Brooks (10)
  4. Merry Christmas - Mariah Carey (20)
  5. You Make It Feel Like Christmas - Gwen Stefani (27)
  6. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Vince Guaraldi Trio (32)
  7. On Air - Rolling Stones (47)
  8. Ultimate Christmas - Frank Sinatra (49)
  9. The Rest of Our Life - Tim McGraw & Faith Hill (51)
  10. My Kind of Christmas - Reba McEntire (52)
  11. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole (53)
  12. It's Christmas Time - Elvis Presley (55)
  13. The Ghosts of Christmas Eve - Trans-Siberian Orchestra (60)
  14. These Are the Days - Celine Dion (61)
  15. NOW That's What I Call Merry Christmas (2017) - Various Artists (65)
  16. The Best of Bing Crosby: 20th Century Masters: The Christmas Collection - Bing Crosby (69)
  17. Greatest Hits - Tom Petty & the Heartbrekers (72)
  18. Everyday is Christmas - Sia (77)
  19. Curtain Call: The Hits - Eminem (82)
  20. Christmas Together - Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood (88)
On other charts, Garth Brooks' The Anthology: Part 1, which is at number 10 this week, is also at the top of the Independent Albums chart. The Bluegrass Albums is led by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Raiders' The Long Awaited Album and Kid's and Soundtrack Albums by Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas

For Singles, Sia is at the top of the Adult Contemporary chart with Santa's Coming For Us while Brenda Lee leads the Country Streaming Songs with Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. Beck is at number 1 on Alternative Songs and the Foo Fighters top Mainstream Rock with The Sky is a Neighborhood