It's the most top 10 debuts appearing on the chart in four months. The last time there were more in a week was the Dec. 1, 2012, chart, when seven albums arrived in the region. That week, One Direction's Take Me Home led the debut pack, starting at No. 1.
As reported yesterday (March 19), What About Now is Bon Jovi’s fifth No. 1 album. It has sold 101,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's the act's third straight studio album to reach No. 1, but the group's smallest sales start for a studio set since 1995, when These Days launched with 73,000 at No. 9.
What About Now is also Bon Jovi's 12th top 10 album. All of the act's studio sets since 1986's No. 1 Slippery When Wet have reached the top 10.
In the runner-up slot this week, rock legend David Bowie tallies his highest-charting album ever, as The Next Day starts at No. 2 with 85,000. That figure is also Bowie's best sales week since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991. The Next Day is Bowie's first studio album since 2003, and it marks his seventh top 10.
Bowie last logged a top 10 way back in 1983 with the No. 4-peaking Let's Dance. Until this week, Bowie's highest-charting album had been 1976's Station to Station, which spent two weeks at No. 3.
Last week's No. 1, Luke Bryan's Spring Break . . . Here to Party, falls to No. 3 with 61,000 (down 59%). At No. 4 is the debuting Passion: Let the Future Begin live album with 48,000 sold. Culled from the 2013 Passion Conference in January at Atlanta's Georgia Dome, a significant chunk of the Christian album’s sales were driven by pre-orders placed at the conference. The annual Passion event attracted 60,000 attendees this year and featured Passion worship leaders (and recording stars) Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill and Matt Redman, among others. Those acts, and more, appear on the new Passion set.
Bruno Mars' Unorthodox Jukebox slips 3-5 with 43,000 (down 17%) while R&B vocal group Mindless Behavior starts at No. 6 with All Around the World (37,000). The latter act's album is the quartet's second studio effort, and follows #1 Girl, which debuted and peaked at No. 7 in 2011 with a 36,000 start.
Eric Clapton's Old Sock bows at No. 7 with almost 37,000 as well, trailing Mindless Behavior by a tiny margin. The new album is on Clapton's own imprint, Bushbranch Records, through Surfdog Records. It's Clapton's first album after a nearly 30-year run with Warner Bros. and Reprise Records. His new album is still in the Warner Music Group family though, as it’s distributed by Warner's indie arm, Alternative Distribution Alliance. In turn, Old Sock also debuts at No. 1 on the Independent Albums chart.
The soundtrack to Dave Grohl's "Sound City" documentary, dubbed Sound City: Real to Reel, debuts at No. 8 with nearly 37,000 as well. (A relative handful of units separate Nos. 6-8 this week on the chart.) The album features an all-star roster of talent, including Grohl, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks and Trent Reznor.
Mumford & Sons' Babel falls 4-9 with 31,000 (down 13%), and Jimi Hendrix's People, Hell and Angels tumbles 2-10 with 30,000 (down 58%).
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop" rules for a 10th week at No. 1, selling 270,000 downloads (down 12%). At No. 2 again this week is Mars' "When I Was Your Man," which moves 230,000 (down 4%).
Rihanna's "Stay," featuring Mikky Ekko, holds at No. 3 with 222,000 (down 6%) while Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie," featuring Jay-Z, jumps 5-4 with 201,000 (up 33%). The song profits from being performed on "Saturday Night Live" (March 9) and Timberlake's week-long stint on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (March 11-15). Timberlake's latest single, "Mirrors," sails 48-8 with 121,000 (up 205%). He also performed "Mirrors" on "SNL."
As for the rest of the top 10, P!nk's "Just Give Me a Reason," featuring Nate Ruess, zips 8-5 with 171,000 (up 40%). Baauer's "Harlem Shake" slides 4-6 with 146,000 (down 22%), Pitbull's "Feel This Moment" (featuring Christina Aguilera) is steady at No. 7 with 136,000 (up 8%), Drake's "Started From the Bottom" falls 6-9 with 118,000 (down 8%), and Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" dips 9-10 with 102,000 (down 8%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending March 17) totaled 5.6 million units, up 2% compared with the sum last week (5.5 million) and down 1% compared with the comparable sales week of 2012 (5.6 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 61.4 million, down 7% compared with the same total at this point last year (66.2 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 24.6 million downloads, down 3% compared with last week (25.4 million) and down 3% stacked next to the comparable week of 2012 (25.2 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 303.4 million, down 2% compared to the same total at this point last year (309 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2012 when: The "Hunger Games" soundtrack debuted at No. 1 with 175,000 while the Shins' Port of Morrowbowed at No. 3 with 74,000.