Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum Usurp Prince’s Chart Crown

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 10.08.14 in News

Prince‘s next No. 1, like breakfast in an early single from one of his two new albums, will have to wait.

The chart crown this week goes instead to a pair of country perennials. Blake Shelton‘s Bringing Back the Sunshine enters at the top of the Billboard 200, while Lady Antebellum‘s 757 debuts at No. 2

Shelton’s Sunshine, the first album with that title to reach the chart peak, sold a radiant 101,000 copies in the week that ended October 5, according to Nielsen SoundScan, earning his second No. 1 (2013′s Based on a True Story sold more in its first week, with 199K, but arrived at No. 3). Lady Antebellum sold 74K copies of what has turned out to be their sixth top 10 LP. The last time two country acts led the Billboard 200, incidentally, was when Taylor Swift‘s Speak Now was No. 1 and Jason Aldean‘s My Kinda Party was No. 2 in November 2010. The only other country albums topping the chart this year so far have been Eric Church‘s The Outsiders and Miranda Lambert‘s Platinum. (Lambert and Shelton are married.)

Couples, in fact, seem to be a theme this week. Prince’s dual release also fell short of two previous chart-toppers, both of which happen to be — coincidentally enough — duets albums. Those were Barbra Streisand‘s Partners, which ruled the album ranking two weeks ago (No. 3, 73K), along with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga‘s Cheek to Cheek, which prevailed last week (No. 4, 59K).

Here, in a chart region that’s at least fit for a duke or an earl, comes Prince. First up is his R&B-focused ART OFFICIAL AGE (No. 5, 51K). A bit further down is his album with touring band 3rdeyegirl, PLECTRUMELECTRUM (No. 8, 26K). That’s good enough to make him the first act since Nelly in 2004 to have to two albums open in the top 10. Still, Prince Rogers Nelson might’ve had better luck sparing himself the indignity of being outdone by Nelly (whose Suit was No. 1 and Sweat was No. 2) if his Kendrick Lamar collaboration had been a new track on a record rather than a difficult-to-stream live rarity.

In between the two Prince albums were a couple of returning chart contenders, Kenny Chesney‘s The Big Revival (No. 6, 39K) and Maroon 5‘s Saturday Night Live-boosted V (No. 7, 31K). Rounding out the chart’s were Chris Brown‘s X (No. 9, 24K) and the debut of the Script‘s No Sound Without Silence (No. 10, 24K).

In other chart activity, Lorde is back. Fresh off a quasi-impersonation on South Park, the Pure Heroine singer/songwriter has scored the best opening week on Billboard‘s Alternative Songs chart since 1995. That’s thanks to “Yellow Flicker Beat,” the New Zealand-born artist’s song from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, which opens in theaters on November 21.

Also making notable moves on the charts recently was Drake. The Nothing Was the Same rapper/singer might not have been able to nail down a Wu-Tang Clan remix, but his reworking of gifted Atlanta oddball iLoveMakonnen‘s breakthrough weeknight ode/lament “Tuesday” reached No. 90 on last week’s Hot 100. That officially makes Aubrey Drake Graham bigger than the Beatles: He has now had 72 songs in the Hot 100, compared with 71 for the Beatles, according to MTV. Somehow, Glee has the most: a nonsensical 207. Jay Z, with 82, might want to look over his dirt-brushed shoulder.

While it lasts, below you can watch a 1982 live version of Prince’s Dirty Mind title track that has somehow survived on Youtube since July.