Chart Beat

Queen's 'Greatest Hits' Took 39 Years to Crack Billboard 200 Top 10 -- And Only One Album Has Taken Longer

Queen
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Queen in New Orleans, LA in September 1981.

Eleven albums have taken 10 years or more to finally break into the top 10 on the Billboard 200 for the first time.

Queen's Greatest Hits finally enters the top 10 on the Billboard 200 this week, 39 years and one month after its release. That’s the record for a non-holiday album. The record among all albums is held by another legendary act with a royal name: Nat King Cole, whose The Christmas Song took 55 years to finally crack the top 10.

Greatest Hits was first released in October 1981 and has been reissued multiple times over the ensuing decades. Before this week, a 1992 edition of Greatest Hits brought the album closest to the top 10, peaking at No. 11 on Oct. 10, 1992.

Queen’s album leaps from No. 36 to No. 8 on the Billboard 200 dated Nov. 28. The surge is linked to a vinyl sale on Nov. 14 at Walmart, where all vinyl albums in-store were marked down to $15. In the week ending Nov. 19, Greatest Hits sold 24,000 copies across all formats, with vinyl LPs accounting for 23,000 of that sum.

The Queen and Cole albums are two of 11 albums that took 10 years or more to finally break into the top 10 on the Billboard 200 for the first time. Here’s a complete list. Each entry shows the album’s release date, the date it finally entered the top 10 and the “boost factor” that brought it into the top 10.

1. Nat King Cole, The Christmas Song (55 years)

Released: 1963

Entered top 10: Jan. 5, 2019

Boost factor: Audio streams, especially of the classic title track

2. Queen, Greatest Hits (39 years and one month)

Released: Oct. 26, 1981

Entered top 10: Nov. 28, 2020

Boost factor: Vinyl sale at Walmart

3. Aretha Franklin, 30 Greatest Hits (approx. 33 years)

Released: 1985

Entered top 10: Aug. 25, 2018

Boost factor: Franklin's death at age 76

4. Bob Marley & the Wailers, Legend (30 years, four months and two weeks)

Released: May 8, 1984

Entered top 10: Sept. 20, 2014

Boost factor: 99 cent digital sale

5. N.W.A, Straight Outta Compton (27 years, one month)

Released: Aug. 8, 1988

Entered top 10: Sept. 5, 2015

Boost factor: Release of film of the same name

6. Prince, The Hits/The B-Sides (22 years, seven months and three weeks)

Released: Sept. 14, 1993

Entered top 10: May 7, 2016

Boost factor: Prince's death at age 57

7. Queen, The Platinum Collection: Greatest Hits I, II & III (18 years)

Released: Nov. 13, 2000

Entered top 10: Nov. 17, 2018

Boost factor: Release of film Bohemian Rhapsody

8. Prince,  The Very Best of Prince (14 years, nine months and one week)

Released: July 31, 2001

Entered top 10: May 7, 2016

Boost factor: Prince's death

9. Phil Collins, ...Hits (13 years, 10 months)

Released: Oct. 5, 1998

Entered top 10: Aug. 4, 2012

Boost factor: 99 cent digital sale

10. David Bowie, Best of Bowie (13 years, three months and one week)

Released: Oct. 22, 2002

Entered top 10: Jan. 30, 2016

Boost factor: Bowie's death at age 69

11. Avenged Sevenfold, Waking the Fallen (11 years, two weeks)

Released: Aug. 26, 2003

Entered top 10: Sept. 13, 2014

Boost factor: Album reissued with bonus tracks