Van Halen might be on its way to a sixth career No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart -- unless Adele's 21 stands in the veteran band's way.
Industry sources suggest that Van Halen's A Different Kind of Truth may sell about 180,000 to 200,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, Feb. 12. Under normal circumstances, that would be enough for the recently-signed Interscope act to bump Queen Adele from the top slot.
However, this isn't a normal week. The 54th Grammy Awards take place on Feb. 12, at 8-11:30 PM on CBS -- where Adele is scheduled to perform. The artist is nominated for six Grammys this year, and the performance will mark her first since undergoing surgery last year on her vocal chords. Further, Adele will sit down with Anderson Cooper for an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" immediately before the Grammys.
It's certainly possible that whatever buzz is generated by Adele on Grammy night -- the final day of the tracking week for next week's Billboard 200 -- could engineer a big gain in sales for 21. This past week, the set shifted 122,000 (up 5% according to Nielsen SoundScan) in its 19th nonconsecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
If Van Halen does reach No. 1, it will be the band's first chart-topping studio set with reunited frontman David Lee Roth. The latter departed the group in 1985, a year after its 1984 album was released. 1984 spent five weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 -- the band's highest charting set with Roth. (He would later return to the fold, temporarily, to record two new songs for 1996's Best Of Volume 1 hits album. That set debuted at No. 1 with 233,000 sold in its first week.)
Van Halen's other four other No. 1s were their four studio albums with Roth's replacement, Sammy Hagar: 5150 (1986), OU812 (1988), For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991) and Balance (1995).
Other albums on course for big debuts next week include the Now 41 compilation, the Fray's Scars and Stories, Paul McCartney's Kisses on the Bottom and Dierks Bentley's Home. The Now 41 set may move around 110,000 while the Fray could sell around 100,000 copies. McCartney is aiming for a start near 70,000 and Bentley is bound for perhaps 60,000.
The new Billboard 200 chart's top 10 will be revealed on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 15.