Drake Leads Debut-Filled Top Four On Billboard 200

Drake

Jess Baumung

Kings of Leon, Cher and Elton John all stride into the Top 5 in their first weeks of release.

The Billboard 200's top four albums are all debuts this week, led by Drake's "Nothing Was the Same," which launches at No. 1 with 658,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Last Friday, industry sources forecast that the set would start with around 660,000-670,000.

As reported last night (Oct. 1), "Nothing Was the Same" tallies the second-largest sales week of 2013. The only album to sell more this year (so far) is Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience," when it bowed at No. 1 with 968,000 following its release in March.

"Nothing Was the Same" — Drake's third No. 1 album — also marks his personal best sales week. His last album, 2011's "Take Care," started at No. 1 with 631,000. His full-length debut, "Thank Me Later," launched at No. 1 with 447,000 in 2010. The year before that, his debut EP, "So Far Gone," bowed and peaked at No. 6 with sales of 73,000 copies.

This week marks the fourth week in a row that the Billboard 200's top three albums are debuts. It’s the first time that that’s happened in a year. It last occurred on the four charts dated Sept. 22, 2012, through Oct. 13, 2012.

Coming in at No. 2 this week is Kings of Leon's "Mechanical Bull," selling 110,000. It marks the band's third top 10 album, following 2010's "Come Around Sundown" (No. 2 debut and peak with 184,000) and 2008's "Only by the Night" (a No. 5 debut with 74,000 that later peaked at No. 4).

Kings of Leon: The Billboard Cover Story

At No. 3, Cher's notches her highest debut ever — and highest-charting solo album — as her new set "Closer to the Truth" bows with 63,000 sold. It’s her first album since 2002's "Living Proof."

Until this week, Cher had never gone higher than No. 4 with her solo albums, reaching that peak with both "Believe" in 1999 and "The Very Best of Cher" in 2003. As one-half of Sonny & Cher, she only went higher once, with 1965's No. 2-peaking "Look at Us." It was stuck in the runner-up slot for eight weeks behind the Beatles' "Help!"

Watch Cher Answer Fan Questions On Camera

Right behind Cher is another entertainment icon that has been charting for decades: Elton John. His new studio album, "The Diving Board," jumps in with a debut at No. 4 with 47,000 sold. It’s his 18th top 10 album.

Last week's No. 1 album, Jack Johnson's "From Here to Now to You," falls to No. 5 with 37,000 (down 69% in its second week). Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party" holds at No. 6, selling 36,000 (down 24%).

Next up: We have three more debuts at Nos. 7, 8 and 9.

Progressive rock band Dream Theater logs its third consecutive top 10 album as its new self-titled set opens at No. 7 with 34,000. It follows 2011's "A Dramatic Turn of Events" (No. 8 debut and peak with 36,000) and 2009's "Black Clouds & Silver Linings" (No. 6 debut/peak with 40,000).

Dance trio Krewella arrives at No. 8 with its debut set, "Get Wet," selling 27,000. The act has notched two songs on the Billboard Hot 100 thus far: "Alive" (No. 32 peak) and "Live For the Night" (No. 100).

Metallica is back in the top 10 for the first time since 2008, as its new live album/soundtrack to the movie "Metallica: Through the Never" bows at No. 9 with 26,000. The set is the group's ninth top 10 set overall. The band previously reached the region with "Death Magnetic" (No. 1, 2008), "St. Anger" (No. 1, 2003), "S&M" (No. 2, 1999), "Garage, Inc." (No. 2, 1998), "Reload" (No. 1, 1997), "Load" (No. 1, 1996), "Metallica" (No. 1, 1991) and ". . . And Justice for All" (No. 6, 1988).

Check Out The 'Metallica: Through The Never' Film Review

Closing out the top 10 is Justin Moore's "Off the Beaten Path," which slips 2-10 in its second week, selling 25,000 (down 74%).

Over on the Digital Songs chart, Lorde's "Royals" is steady at No. 1, selling 294,000 downloads (down 4%). Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus also hold at Nos. 2 and 3 with "Roar" and "Wrecking Ball," respectively. The songs sold 239,000 (down 21%) and 221,000 (down 27%).

Avicii's "Wake Me Up!" rises one rung to No. 4 with 182,000 (down 4%), and Eminem's "Berzerk" climbs 9-5 with 134,000 (though it's down by 9%). Lady Gaga's "Applause" rises a spot to No. 6 with 133,000 (down 17%), and Jay Z's "Holy Grail," featuring Timberlake, rises 10-7 with 123,000 (down 8%).

Perry's "Dark Horse," featuring Juicy J, drops 4-8 in its second week, selling 104,000 (down 46%). Drake earns the chart's highest debut, bowing at No. 9 with "All Me," which sold 101,000. The song features 2 Chainz and Big Sean.

Lana Del Rey & Cedric Gervais' "Summertime Sadness" closes out the top 10, climbing three rungs to No. 10 with 99,000 (down 10%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Sept. 29) totaled 5.2 million units, up 13% compared with the sum last week (4.6 million) and down 10% compared with the comparable sales week of 2012 (5.7 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 205.2 million, down 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (218.4 million).
   
Digital track sales this past week totaled 20.3 million downloads, down 7% compared with last week (21.9 million) and down 12% stacked next to the comparable week of 2012 (23.1 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 974.6 million, down 3% compared to the same total at this point last year (1 billion).

Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2012 when: Mumford & Sons' "Babel" held at No. 1 for a second week, selling 169,000 (down 72%). Muse's "The 2nd Law" debuted in the runner-up slot, selling 102,000.

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