Chart Beat

‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Lights Up Top 10 on Billboard’s Album Sales Chart

Charlie Brown Christmas
Everett Collection

CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, 1965. Charlie Brown (L) and Linus Van Pelt.

It’s the sixth-biggest selling holiday album of the Nielsen Music/MRC Data-era (1991-present).

Vince Guaraldi Trio’s ever-popular soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas returns to the top 10 on Billboard’s Album Sales chart (dated Dec. 12), as the set jingles up the list 14-9 (on the chart dated Dec. 12). The album, first released in 1965, sold just over 14,000 copies in the U.S. in the week ending Dec. 3 (up 37%), according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Notably, of that sum, 11,000 were on vinyl LP (up 35%).

Also in the top 10: BTSBe holds at No. 1 for a second week and Miley CyrusPlastic Hearts debuts at No. 6.

Billboard’s Album Sales chart ranks the top-selling albums of the week based only on traditional album sales. The Album Sales chart’s history dates back to May 25, 1991, the first week Billboard began tabulating charts with electronically monitored piece count information from SoundScan, now Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Pure album sales were the measurement solely utilized by the Billboard 200 albums chart through the list dated Dec. 6, 2014, after which that chart switched to a methodology that blends album sales with track equivalent album units and streaming equivalent album units. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.

With A Charlie Brown Christmas’ 14,000 copies sold in the latest tracking week, its total sales in the Nielsen Music/MRC Data era (1991-present) jump past 4 million, rising to 4.005 million. The soundtrack to the animated TV special, which premiered in 1965 on CBS TV, is the sixth-biggest selling holiday album of the Nielsen Music/MRC Data era.

A Charlie Brown Christmas did not reach any Billboard ranking until 1987, when it debuted on the Top Holiday Albums chart, where it later peaked at No. 2 (Jan. 27, 2007). On Album Sales, A Charlie Brown Christmas has so far peaked at No. 7 (Dec. 14, 2019) while on the Billboard 200 chart, it has reached as high as No. 13 (Dec. 28, 2019). On the latest Holiday Albums and Billboard 200 charts, dated Dec. 12, A Charlie Brown Christmas rises 5-4 and 23-14, respectively.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is also a consistent strong seller on vinyl LP, as it has sold 228,000 copies on vinyl during the Nielsen Music/MRC Data era. In 2020 alone, it has sold 56,000 copies on vinyl (making it one of the 30 biggest selling albums on vinyl this year). And, in the most recent tracking week (ending Dec. 3), it moved 11,000 on vinyl (up 35%) -- pushing it 5-2 on the Vinyl Albums chart. The album's vinyl sales have grown steadily since 2018: 56,000 so far in 2020; 49,000 in 2019; 31,000 in 2018; 23,000 in 2017. The album's vinyl sales are enhanced by its availability in multiple color variants across assorted retailers.

After its 1965 premiere, the A Charlie Brown Christmas TV special aired annually on broadcast television during the holiday season on CBS, and then ABC, through 2019. In 2020, the Apple TV+ subscription service acquired the rights to the special — along with other classic animated Peanuts programs.

A Charlie Brown Christmas could experience further sales gains in the week ending Dec. 10, as the special made its Apple TV+ premiere on Dec. 4. Then, in the following week (ending Dec. 17), the special will be available for free via Apple TV+ for nonsubscribers for three days (Dec. 11-13) while PBS will bring the special back to free over-the-air TV with a commercial-free airing on Dec. 13.

Back on the new Album Sales chart, BTS' Be is steady at No. 1 for a second week, selling 32,000 copies sold in the week ending Dec. 3 (down 82%).

Carrie Underwood’s holiday album My Gift charges 5-2 (a new peak) with 28,000 sold (up 13%), following the Dec. 3 premiere of her HBO Max special My Gift: A Christmas Special From Carrie Underwood on Dec. 3, and performances on NBC TV’s Today and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (both on Dec. 3 as well).

Dolly Parton’s A Holly Dolly Christmas is a non-mover at No. 3 on Album Sales with 25,000 sold (down 3%), while Taylor Swift’s Folklore rises 6-4 with 22,000 sold (down 7%) and AC/DC’s Power Up falls 2-5 with 21,000 sold (down 30%).

Miley Cyrus’ Plastic Hearts debuts at No. 6 with 20,000 copies sold, marking Cyrus’ 13th top 10 effort (including albums billed under her Hannah Montana alias). Plastic Hearts also starts at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Harry StylesFine Line climbs 10-7 on the Album Sales chart with 18,000 sold (up 19%), Chris Stapleton’s Starting Over falls 7-8 with 17,000 sold (down 21%) and Josh Groban’s Harmony descends 4-10 in its second week (14,000 sold; down 45%).