Country king Alan Jackson debuts at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with his latest effort, "Thirty Miles West." The set sold 73,000 in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album is his first for EMI Nashville after more than 20 years with his previous (and only) label, Arista Nashville.
"Thirty Miles West" gives Jackson an even dozen top 10s on the Billboard 200. He was last in the chart's upper tier with 2010's "Freight Train," which debuted and peaked at No. 7 with 72,000.
On the Top Country Albums chart, "Thirty Miles West" bows at No. 1 - his 13th leader on the tally.
Back on the Billboard 200, Adele's "21" returns to No. 1 for a 24th week, selling 75,000 (up 30%). The set is basking in the glow of the singer's NBC TV special, "Adele Live in London," which aired June 3. "21" holds the most frames at No. 1 since Prince & the Revolution's "Purple Rain" soundtrack also spent 24 weeks atop the list in 1984-85. Only eight albums - including "21" - have ruled for at least 24 weeks.
"21" has never left the top 10 in its entire 68-week chart run, dropping only as low as No. 7 on Dec. 10, 2011. It debuted at No. 1 on the March 12, 2011, tally.
Usher Up Next: "21" likely won't be No. 1 next week, or the week after that, as two superstars are prepping their presumed No. 1 bows. Next week, Usher's "Looking 4 Myself" could start in the penthouse with maybe 120,000-130,000 (according to industry sources).
His last full-length studio album, 2010's "Raymond v Raymond," also launched at No. 1, but with a much larger sales figure. It began with 329,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. "Looking 4 Myself" could register Usher's smallest first-week sales for a regular studio album since 1997's "My Way" bowed with 67,000.
"Looking 4 Myself" will likely reign for only a week, as his pal Justin Bieber will claim the No. 1 slot the week after with "Believe."
Young's Late 'Harvest': Neil Young grabs his second-highest-charting album as "Americana" debuts at No. 4 with 44,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. His only other set to surpass that ranking was 1972's "Harvest," which spent two weeks at No. 1. "Americana," recorded with Crazy Horse, is mostly a collection of folk standards. A portion of its first-week sales came from a concert ticket/album redemption offer similar to Madonna's "MDNA" release earlier this year.
A 'Bad' Return: On the Hot Singles Sales chart - which ranks the best - selling physical singles-Michael Jackson's "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" debuts at No. 1 with 5,000 copies. Its CD single was released last week exclusively at Walmart as part of the promotion leading up to the 25th-anniversary reissue of Jackson's 1987 "Bad" album on Sept. 18. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" is a duet with Siedah Garrett and was the first single from "Bad."
Musical Notes: A year ago this week, "The Book of Mormon" was making waves on the Billboard 200 thanks to its nine Tony Award wins, including best musical. Its Tony haul - along with some seriously deep discounting at Amazon MP3 - helped push the show's cast album to No. 3 on the Billboard 200 (June 25, 2011). It actually re-entered the chart at No. 3 that week, with 61,000 sold (up 2,116%). That marked the highest-charting - and first top 10 - Broadway cast album since 1969, when "Hair" spent 13 straight weeks at No. 1.
Now, with the 2012 Tonys in the record books (the awards aired June 10 on CBS), will there be a "Book of Mormon"-sized jump on next week's Billboard 200?
While the bulk of sales for "The Book of Mormon" last year came courtesy of a $1.99 sale tag at Amazon MP3, as well as aggressive promotion by label Ghostlight, a similar situation doesn't exist this year.
Also, frankly, none of the musical nominees this year was as buzzworthy as "The Book of Mormon." (A musical by the creators of "South Park" doesn't come around often.) This year's big winner was "Once," adapted from the film of the same name. It won eight awards, including best musical. It's a perfectly nice show, I'm sure, but it just doesn't have the same kind of marketing sizzle as "The Book of Mormon."
Further, while the annual Tony broadcast is never a blockbuster ratings event, this year's was especially dismal. With only 6 million viewers, according to Nielsen, it ranks as the least-watched Tony show in history. While the 2011 awards weren't a ratings bonanza either, it still garnered almost a million more viewers (6.9 million).