Nearly 10 years after the group's last studio effort, Sade is back with "Soldier of Love," blasting in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with 502,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"Solder of Love" gives Sade its first No. 1 debut and its best sales week since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. On top of that, it's the best sales week for an album by a group since AC/DC's "Black Ice" bulldozed into the chart at No. 1 on the chart dated Nov. 8, 2008, with 784,000.
"Soldier" is Sade's second No. 1 album. Its first, "Promise," spent two weeks at the top of the chart in 1986. The new album is also the first studio effort from the band -- led by vocalist Sade Adu -- since "Lovers Rock" was released in November of 2000. That set debuted and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with 370,000 sold in its first week. Since its release, "Lovers Rock" has sold 3.9 million in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
All told, Sade has notched eight top 10 albums in a row on the Billboard 200 -- its entire output of albums, which stretches back to its "Diamond Life" debut in 1985. That total includes its six studio sets, one greatest hits ("The Best Of") and one live recording ("Lovers Live"). With that feat of eight top 10s, Sade is the first group since Led Zeppelin to see its first eight charting albums all reach the top 10. Led Zeppelin actually did it with its first 10 albums -- from 1969 with its self-titled No. 10-peaking set, up until 1983 when "Coda" topped out at No. 6.
Last week's No. 1, Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now," slips to No. 2 in its third week on the chart, shifting 208,000 (down less than 1%). So far, the set has sold 897,000 copies. The album's miniscule third-week decline was partially owed to Valentine's Day shopping, as this chart's sales tracking week ended on Sunday, Feb. 14.
The Billboard 200's second-highest entry this week comes from Jaheim's "Another Round," which climbs in at No. 3 with 112,000. Jaheim's last studio effort, "The Makings of a Man," was released Christmas week of 2007, and bowed on the list at No. 11 with 176,000. (It's unfair to compare the debut sales weeks of the two albums, since "Makings" was released during the busiest music shopping week of the year, so naturally its sales were going to be elevated.) All told, "Another Round" is Jaheim's fourth top 10 album and second-highest charting set, following the No. 1-peaking "Ghetto Classics" in 2006.
Country singer Josh Turner has the third-best bow on the chart, as his "Haywire" album lights up at No. 5 with 85,000 copies. It's the artist's third straight top 10 album, following "Everything Is Fine," which debuted and peaked at No. 5 with 84,000 in 2007. Over on the Top Country Albums chart, Turner enters at No. 2 behind Lady A's "Need You Now."
The final top 10 start comes from tobyMac, who nets his second top 10 album in a row with "Tonight" entering at a career-high No. 6, with a personal-best sales week of 79,000. Toby McKeehan is the man behind the tobyMac name, and this is his second top 10 album on the Billboard 200 following "Portable Sounds" in 2007. That set entered and peaked at No. 10 with 51,000 in its first week. McKeehan was also a member of DC talk, which notched five hit albums on the Billboard 200, including the No. 4-peaking "Supernatural" in 1998.
As for the Billboard 200's holdovers in the top 10 this week, Lil Wayne's "Rebirth" slides down two rungs to No. 4 (89,000; down 49%); Lady Gaga's "The Fame" falls three slots to No. 7 (76,000; down 4%); and the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." moving down two positions to No. 8 (67,000; down 4%). Closing out the top 10 this week is Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream," holding steady at No. 9 (51,000; up 10%), and Taylor Swift's "Fearless," down three to No. 10 (50,000; down 6%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Feb. 14) totaled 7.83 million units, up 17% compared to the sum last week (6.72 million) and down 8% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009 (8.56 million).