Bon Jovi claims its fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as its new album "The Circle" lands in the penthouse with 163,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
It's Bon Jovi's second chart-topper in a row, following its 2007 release "Lost Highway," which bowed with 292,000. The band previously reached the top with "Slippery When Wet" in 1986 and "New Jersey" in 1988.
All told, the veteran group has racked up 10 top 10 albums and every one of its studio releases since 1986 has reached the top 10. "The Circle's" first single, "We Weren't Born To Follow," is bulleted for a second week at No. 11 on the Adult Top 40 chart while rises to No. 17 on the Adult Contemporary tally.
Last week's Billboard 200 No. 1, Carrie Underwood's "Play On," slips to No. 3 with 128,000 (down 60%), while Andrea Bocelli's "My Christmas" climbs from No. 3 to No. 2 with 136,000 (down a scant 8%) in its second week.
The chart's second-highest debut comes from Flyleaf, which sees its sophomore album "Memento Mori" arrive at No. 8 with a career-high 56,000. The band's self-titled debut spent a whopping 133 weeks on the Billboard 200 from 2006 through 2008.
As for the rest of the top 10 this week, Michael Jackson's "This Is It" slips two spots to No. 4 with 117,000 (down 40%) while Taylor Swift's "Fearless" rises one notch to No. 5 with 91,000 (up 30%) following her multiple wins last week on the Country Music Association Awards show. The "Now 32" album falls one space to No. 6 with 68,000 (down 33%), Michael Buble's "Crazy Love" is up one spot to No. 7 with 58,000 (down just 2%) and the "Glee" soundtrack falls five rungs to No. 9 with 56,000 (down 51%). Rounding out the top 10 this week is the "New Moon" soundtrack with 53,000 (up 1%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Nov. 15) totaled 7.04 million units, up 3% compared to the sum last week (6.86 million) and down 21% compared to the same sales week of 2008 (8.90 million). Year to date album sales stand at 301.5 million, down 13% compared to the same total at this point last year (348.3 million).
Next week, a bevy of big names will bow on the Billboard 200, including new efforts from "American Idol" winner Kris Allen, John Mayer, Norah Jones, Leona Lewis, Justin Bieber and 50 Cent's oft-delayed "Before I Self Destruct."
50 Cent's album was originally scheduled to drop on Nov. 23, but it leaked to the Internet nearly a month before that, prompting his label, Interscope Records, to push its release forward. The digital version of "Before I Self Destruct" was rush-released to Apple's iTunes Store in the U.S. last Monday (Nov. 9), ahead of the CD's bow on Monday, Nov. 16.
Because of this situation, Interscope has requested that Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan uphold an existing policy regarding album Internet leaks. In a rule instituted nearly a year ago based on industry input, a label may ask Nielsen SoundScan to hold the digital sales count of an album for up to one week -- and for Billboard to delay charting that album -- when a leak situation has resulted in a digital album beating its physical counterpart to market. As a result of this rule, "Before I Self Destruct's" first-week digital sales will be added to its overall retail sum for the week ending Nov. 22 and the album will debut on next week's chart.
Billboard, along with Nielsen SoundScan, will review the merit of maintaining this rule.