Minaj roars in atop the Billboard 200 - but which side of the rapper/singer do consumers and radio programmers like best?
'DEDICATED' FANS: Wilson Phillips - Carnie Wilson, sister Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips - enters the Billboard 200 at No. 29 with its fifth album, "Dedicated." The set sports covers of classics by the Beach Boys and the Mamas & the Papas. The Wilsons' father Brian crafted many of the Beach Boys' hits, while Phillips' parents, John and Michelle, contributed to the famed Mamas & the Papas songbook.
With the new set's bow, the trio scores its highest Billboard 200 rank since 1992, when its sophomore set "Shadows and Light" debuted and peaked at No. 4. The group's self-titled debut album spent 10 weeks at No. 2 in 1990 (and a hefty 125 weeks on the chart), while 2004's "California," an album of covers of '60s and '70s hits by multiple acts, reached No. 35. Holiday collection "Christmas in Harmony" rose to No. 135 in 2010.
The first single from "Dedicated," an inventive a capella take on the Beach Boys' 1966 Hot 100 No. 1 "Good Vibrations," is bubbling under Adult Contemporary, with WHUD Hudson Valley, N.Y., leading all chart panelists with 13 plays in the April 2-8 tracking week, according to BDS.
"Since the song is a classic, doing a straight-up remake would have been a mistake," says WHUD music director Tom Furci. "The group came up with a great idea to record the song a capella. And, because our audience already knows the song, listeners are embracing the new version."
"Wilson Phillips" generated three Hot 100 No. 1s in 1990-91 - "Hold On," "Release Me" and "You're in Love" - still a record among groups for the most leaders from a debut album.
Two decades later, as it adds to its chart resume, the group remembers its early successes fondly.
"I have my Billboard magazine laminated plaques of our No. 1 records on the wall," says Carnie. "Honestly, I walk by every day and practically want to kiss them."
BACK TO TITANIC: With Sunday (April 15) marking the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on its fateful maiden voyage, music consumers are turning to related music to remember the tragedy.
Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," the love theme from James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster film "Titanic" (which spent two weeks atop the Hot 100 in 1998), registers its highest downloads sum this week since SoundScan began tracking digital sales in 2003: 14,000, up 74%. The movie's soundtrack concurrently re-enters the Billboard 200 at No. 155 with a 53% increase to 4,000 units.
The "Titanic" soundtrack ranks as the second-best-selling and second-longest-reigning theatrical movie soundtrack dating to the advent of SoundScan data in 1991. Notably, the top set in both categories in that span - the Whitney Houston-led soundtrack to "The Bodyguard" - has also experienced a resurgence this year, having sold 172,000 copies following Houston's death on Feb. 11.
Here's a look at the albums with the highest sales and most weeks atop the Billboard 200 in the SoundScan era:
Sales to date (in millions), Title (Artist), Release Year
12, "The Bodyguard" (Whitney Houston), 1992
10.2, "Titanic," 1997
7.8, "The Lion King," 1994
7.7, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," 2001
6, "Grease," 1978
5.5, "City of Angels," 1998
4.9, "8 Mile," 2002
Weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Title (Artist), Peak Year
20, "The Bodyguard" (Whitney Houston), 1992
16, "Titanic," 1998
10, "The Lion King," 1994
5, "Waiting to Exhale," 1996
4, "Bad Boys II," 2003
4, "8 Mile," 2002
4, "Dangerous Minds," 1995