The blues covers effort starts with 123,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Dec. 8, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 120,000 were traditional album sales.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Dec. 24-dated chart (where Blue & Lonesome bows at No. 4) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Blue & Lonesome -- which is the band’s first album of all-new recordings since 2005’s A Bigger Bang -- marks the group’s 37th top 10 effort. No act has earned more top 10 albums in the history of the chart. In second place on the all-time tally is Barbra Streisand, with 34.
Blue & Lonesome is the band’s first new top 10 since A Bigger Bang debuted and peaked at No. 3 with 129,000 copies sold in its first week. (It was also the last album of new tunes written by the group.)
Blue & Lonesome’s first-week launch of 120,000 is particularly robust for a few reasons. First, it’s a covers set, which sometimes draw less fanfare than albums of wholly new material. Plus, it comes over a decade after A Bigger Bang, so it proves there is still an audience for new music by the Stones. Further, as album sales in the U.S. fell 61 percent between 2005 and 2015, it makes the Stones’ start even more solid -- Blue & Lonesome’s sales bow is just 9,000 copies fewer than the launch of A Bigger Bang over 10 years ago.
Of course, it’s not as if the Stones have been off the radar for the past decade on vacation. The band has reissued a number of albums in expansive deluxe sets (including Exile on Main St., Some Girls and Sticky Fingers), toured the world a few times, and released live albums and greatest hits compilations.