'Now 43' Tops Billboard 200; 16th No. 1 for Series
'Now 43' Tops Billboard 200; 16th No. 1 for Series

Elle Varner, Colt Ford also soar into the Top 10 on this week's chart.

The "Now That's What I Call Music!" franchise collects its 16th No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 as "Now 43" arrives atop the list. The set sold 111,000 copies in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Excluding the "Now" series' offshoot sets (like its holiday and genre-themed efforts), all of the regular "Now" albums have reached the top 10. And all but the first one, released in 1998, have debuted in the top 10. The first "Now" album to hit No. 1 was 2000's "Now 4."

The "Now" line represents the bulk of the only 23 various artist sets that have led the Billboard 200 in its 56-year history. (Various artists albums differ from compilation soundtracks -- which regularly hit No. 1 -- and cast recordings.)

Last week's No. 1, Rick Ross' "God Forgives, I Don't," slips to No. 2 with 60,000 and a 73% decline in sales.

At No. 3, Frank Sinatra's "Nothing But the Best" greatest hits set reenters with 40,000 (up 2,531%) after Amazon MP3 discounted it for 99 cents one day last week (Aug. 7). The 20-song album was originally released in 2008 and debuted and peaked at No. 2 with 99,000 upon its. The Amazon-fueled week is its best sales frame since its second week on the chart, when it moved 54,000 at No. 4.

Singer/songwriter Elle Varner makes a stronger-than-expected bow at No. 4 with "Perfectly Imperfect," selling 33,000. Some label sources had thought it was going to move 25,000 to 30,000 as of last Friday. And that forecast was already double what those-in-the-know had initially projected. The RCA album includes Varner's two top 20 hits on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, "Only Wanna Give It To You" (featuring J. Cole) and "Refill."


Elle Varner Talks 'Perfectly Imperfect' Album

At No. 5, Colt Ford's "Declaration of Independence" drives in with a career-high sales week of 31,000. It also gives the country act his best rank on the Billboard 200, easily surpassing the No. 26 debut and peak of 2011's "Every Chance I Get." Over on the Country Albums chart, "Declaration of Independence" zooms from No. 67 to No. 1, giving Ford his first chart-topper on that tally. (The album arrived early a week ago, after sales caused by street-date violations pushed it onto the list.)

Back on the Billboard 200, Zac Brown Band's "Uncaged" falls 2-6 with just over 31,000 (down 21%), Justin Bieber's "Believe" slips four to No. 7 with 29,000 (down 16%) and One Direction's "Up All Night" falls four to No. 8 with a little over 29,000 (down 13%). Adele's "21" slips a spot to No. 9 with 26,000 (down 9%) and the "Kidz Bop 22" album descends three to No. 10 with 23,000 (down 28%).

Over on the Digital Songs chart, Flo Rida's "Whistle" retakes the No. 1 position (217,000; down 2%), pushing Phillip Phillips' "Home" down a spot to No. 2 (212,000; down 7%). Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" is a non-mover at No. 3 (156,000; down 6%).

Mumford & Sons earn its best sales week ever for a digital song as its new single "I Will Wait" barges in at No. 4 with 153,000. The cut, which is off to a great start on our airplay charts, gives the rock act its first top 10 on Digital Songs. Mumford & Sons has only reached the chart twice before, with "Little Lion Man" (No. 36) and "The Cave" (No. 11). "I Will Wait" is the lead single from the band's upcoming album "Babel," which is due out on Sept. 25.

Live Review: Mumford & Sons Play New Songs at Tour Opener

fun.'s "Some Nights" slips a rung to No. 5 -- despite a gain -- with 149,000 (up 7%). Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" has its first weekly sales gain in five weeks -- though it's pushed back 5-6 -- with 136,000 (up 5%). The song was temporarily discounted to 69 cents in the iTunes Store last week -- where the vast majority of contemporary hits are sold for $1.29.

Maroon 5's "One More Night" charges 16-7 on Digital Songs with 134,000 (up 71%) while Justin Bieber's "As Long As You Love Me" slips 7-8 (130,000; up 6%). Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen's "Good Time" holds at No. 9 (122,000; up 3%) and Cher Lloyd's "Want U Back" tumbles 6-10 (117,000; down 5%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Aug. 12) totaled 4.96 million units, down 5% compared with the sum last week (5.22 million) and down 17% compared with the comparable sales week of 2011 (5.96 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 182.24 million, down 4% compared with the same total at this point last year (189.43 million).

Digital track sales this past week totaled 24.03 million downloads, down less than 1% compared with last week (24.09 million) and up 5% stacked next to the comparable week of 2011 (22.82 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 845.43 million, up 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (800.35 million).

Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Watch the Throne" spent its second week at No. 1, moving 177,000 copies (down 59%). The highest debut that week belonged to Eli Young Band's "LIfe at Best," which started at No. 6 with 35,000.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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