Elton John has scored his highest charting solo album in the States since 1976 with The Diving Board debuting at No 4.
Although he reached No 3 on the Billboard 200 in 2010 with The Union in conjunction with Leon Russell, the last time he charted so high as a solo act across the pond was 37 years ago when Blue Moves made it to No 3. That album followed seven consecutive No 1 albums on the chart for him, starting with Honky Chateau in 1972 and ending with Rock Of The Westies in 1975.
The Diving Board sold 47,000 copies last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, to become his 18th US Top 10 hit, although the last Top 10 hit with a new studio album (apart from The Union with Russell) was The Big Picture, which reached No 9 in 1997. The retrospective Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits made it to No 9 in 2007.
Elton’s album is one of four new entries in this week’s Billboard 200 top five with the arrivals led by Drake’s Nothing Was The Sun, which debuts at No 1 after selling 658,000 copies last week. That is the second highest weekly sale of the year, inferior only to Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience, which started with 968,000 takers in March.
The album is Drake’s third No 1 on the survey and his highest weekly sale to date. His debut album Thank Me Later reached No 1 in 2010 with 447,000 copies sold, while the follow-up and his previous set Take Care debuted at the top in 2011 after selling 631,000 copies.
Kings Of Leon’s last four albums have all been No 1 in the UK but in their native US they have still to top the chart with new set Mechanical Bull matching the band’s previous peak by starting at 2. It sold 110,000 copies last week, down on the 184,000 total their last album Come Around Sundown sold to start in the same position in 2010.
Elton John is not the oldest act in the Top 10, having celebrated his 66th birthday in March, while Cher was 67 in May and debuts at No 3 with Closer To The Truth, incredibly her highest-charting album yet. The new set, her first since 2002’s Living Proof, sold 63,000 copies last week and beats her previous peak of 4 achieved by Believe in 1999 and The Very Best Of Cher in 2003, while as part of Sonny & Cher she made it to No 2 in 1965 with Look At Us.
There are three more debuts in the Top 10 with Dream Theater’s eponymous album new at 7 with 34,000 copies sold, while 27,000 sales deliver dance trio Krewella a new entry at No 8 with Get Wet. Metallica, meanwhile, score their ninth Top 10 album with the soundtrack to the film Metallica: Through The Never new at 9 after selling 26,000 copies.
Leading the three survivors from last week’s Top 10 is Jack Johnson whose From Here To Now To You drops from No 1 to 5 with sales down 69% to 37,000 units. Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party holds at 6, despite sales dropping 24% to 36,000, and Justin Moore’s Off The Beaten Path falls from its No 2 debut position last week to 10 with sales off 74% to 25,000.
Just days after making their UK albums chart debut at No 9, Scottish and Chvrches go straight in at No 12 on the Billboard 200 with Bones Of What You Believe (see separate story). That is one place higher than The Ship, Sting’s first regular new studio album in 10 years. His last main record, Sacred Love, reached No 3 in 2003, although he has had two other US Top 10 albums since then with side projects with If On A Winter’s Night and Symphonicities both reaching No 6 in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
UK Christian worship leader Matt Redman, whose last album 10,000 Reasons topped the US Christian Album chart in 2011, arrives at No 28 with Your Grace Finds Me, while The Beatles’ 10-million-selling 1 returns at No 90 after a first Glee special featuring Fab Four songs was aired. Glee’s own accompanying album, Glee Sings The Beatles, is new at 38.
Arctic Monkeys’ AM further falls, dropping 28-53 as Bastille’s Bad Blood slips 37-61, while Elvis Costello’s The Roots collaboration Wise Up Ghost is now down to 67 after debuting at 16 last week.
Passenger is in the Top 40 of the Hot 100 for the first time with Let Her Go climbing 44-38 as his album All The Little Lights climbs 123-121 on the Billboard 200.
Over on singles New Zealander Lorde becomes the youngest solo artist to lead the Hot 100 since then 16-year-old Tiffany topped the chart in 1987 with I Think We’re Alone Now. Lorde, who is 17 on November 16, rises 3-1 with Royals on the composite Hot 100 chart, which combines sales, airplay and streaming, while continues to have the biggest download seller with the track shifting another 294,000 copies last week. That is a 4% drop on the week.
After two weeks at No1, Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball falls to 3 as Katy Perry’s Roar holds at 2. Drake enters the top five with Hold On, We’re Going Home featuring Majid Jordan up 7-4 as Avicii’s Wake Me Up loses a place to 5.
Meanwhile, look out for the novelty hit The Fox by Norwegian duo Ylvis. It climbs 13-8 on the Hot 100 as its digital sales lift 21% on the week and improves 34% on streaming.
US album sales were up 13.0% week-on-week last week to 5.2 million units, but were 9.6% lower than the equivalent week in 2012. Year-to-date sales are now 6.0% behind where they were at this stage last year with 205.2 million albums sold.
One-track digital sales slipped 7.3% on the week to 20.3 million units and were 12.1% lower than the corresponding week last year, while 974.6 million singles have been sold in the year so far, 3.4% lower than a year ago when the market reached the magic billion mark.