Chart Beat Thursday: John Mayer, Folk Albums, David Guetta

Albert Watson
John Mayer

MAYER RULES: John Mayer returns to the summit of the Billboard 200 after six years, as "Battle Studies" launches at No. 1. His "Heavier Things" opened atop the chart dated Sept. 27, 2003.

The new set also starts atop Digital Albums and Rock Albums.

Here is a look at the peak positions of Mayer's eight entries on the Billboard 200. He first appeared on the chart dated Oct. 6, 2001, when "Room for Squares" arrived at No. 194:

No. 8, "Room for Squares" (2001-03)
No. 22, "Inside Wants Out (EP)" (2002-03)
No. 17, "Any Give Thursday" (2003)
No. 1 (one week), "Heavier Things" (2003-05)
No. 34, "Try! Live in Concert" (John Mayer Trio) (2005-06)
No. 2, "Continuum" (2006-08)
No. 5, "Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles" (2008-09)
No. 1 (one week to date), "Battle Studies" (2009)

The new album's duet with chart titan Taylor Swift is, unsurprisingly, its most-downloaded track. "Half of My Heart" opens at No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 12 on Digital Songs.

Swift's count of career top 40 hits on the Hot 100 now stands at 21, as her other current collaboration, "Two Is Better Than One," with Boys Like Girls, advances 48-40. Since her first week in the top 40 on the chart dated Jan. 13, 2007, Swift boasts almost twice as many as top 40 titles on the Hot 100 as the runners-up among women, Rihanna and Carrie Underwood, each with 11 such entries in that span.

MANY HAPPY RETURNS: As previously reported, the Billboard 200 this week segues from a current-exclusive survey to an all-encompassing list, now housing titles of all eras, regardless of release date.

As a result of the change, several landmark sets show on the Billboard 200 after lengthy absences. Four returnees belong to Michael Jackson, including "Thriller" (No. 85) and "Bad" (No. 181).

The Beatles also re-enter with "Abbey Road" (No. 118), "The Beatles" (No. 152) and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (No. 189).

At No. 16, Paul McCartney returns additional standouts of the Fab Four's catalog, as "Good Evening New York City" bows. McCartney culled the album from his set of inaugural concerts at New York's Citi Field in July. The collection is McCartney's eighth non-Beatles live album to grace the Billboard 200.

Other venerable albums revisiting the Billboard 200 this week include Casting Crowns' "Peace on Earth" (No. 15), Josh Groban's "Noel" (No. 24), Faith Hill's "Joy to the World" (No. 74), Journey's "Greatest Hits" (No. 159), and Bob Marley and the Wailers' "Legend: the Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers" (No. 196).

NIFTY FIFTY: After early sales impacted last week's data, 50 Cent's "Before I Self-Destruct" charges 48-1 to become the rapper's fourth No. 1 on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The effort starts on the Billboard 200 at No. 5.

The R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally is now compiled from overall album sales. Formerly, the chart's ranks were based on the Nielsen SoundScan R&B Core panel, an array of retailers that specialize in urban music.

With the shift in methodology, certain albums sport notable changes in chart placement. Mass-appeal artists such as the Black Eyed Peas (10-4) and the Jackson 5 (32-20) experience sizeable upward movement, while genre-specific acts, such as LeToya (20-29) and the Whispers (39-48), dip despite recording sales gains.

R&B/Hip-Hop Albums additionally welcomes back rap pioneer Rakim with "The Seventh Seal," his first set of new material in a decade, at No. 9. The album is his third top 10, following "The 18th Letter" (No. 1, 1997) and "The Master" (No. 7, 1999).

THAT'S FOLK, ALL: Billboard this week proudly unveils the 15-position Folk Albums chart.

The first No. 1 on Folk Albums belongs, fittingly, to one of the founding fathers of modern folk music, Bob Dylan ("Christmas in the Heart"). Rounding out the top five are sets by Rosanne Cash, the Swell Season, Dave Rawlings Machine and Monsters of Folk.

The Folk Albums chart will serve as a spotlight for current releases by traditional folk artists, as well as appropriate titles by acoustic-based singer-songwriters.

View the inaugural list's top 10 on's chart menu.

GUETTA GAINS: French DJ David Guetta earns his first career Billboard Hot 100 top 10, as "Sexy Chick," featuring Akon, bounds 12-7.

"Sexy Chick," which topped Dance/Club Play Songs in October, concurrently returns to the No. 1 slot on Hot Dance Airplay (viewable at for a fourth week.

Guetta first debuted on a Billboard chart six years ago this week, when "Just a Little More Love," with Chris Willis on vocals, entered Dance/Club Play Songs, eventually peaking at No. 15.

"Sexy Chick" marks Akon's 13th visit to the top 10, tying him with Beyonce, Ludacris and T-Pain for second-most top 10s this decade. Jay-Z leads with 14 top 10s since 2000.VIDEO THRILLED THE RADIO STARS: Katy Perry brings the MTV "Unplugged" brand back to the Billboard 200 after two years, as "MTV Unplugged (EP)" arrives at No. 168.

Perry's album is the 27th edition from the series to dent the chart dating to the first on the list dated June 22, 1991.

Here is a chronological checklist of all the show's soundtracks to reach the Billboard 200:

1991, No. 14, Paul McCartney, "Unplugged - the Official Bootleg"
1992, No. 3, Mariah Carey, "MTV Unplugged EP"
1992, No. 1 (three weeks), Eric Clapton, "Unplugged"
1993, No. 60, Arrested Development, "Unplugged"
1993, No. 2, Rod Stewart, "Unplugged ... and Seated"

1993, No. 71, various artists, "Uptown MTV Unplugged"
1993, No. 23, Neil Young, "Unplugged"
1993, No. 13, 10,000 Maniacs, "MTV Unplugged"
1994, No. 48, Tony Bennett, "MTV Unplugged"
1994, No. 1 (one week), Nirvana, "MTV Unplugged in New York"

1994, No. 97, various artists, "The Unplugged Collection Volume One"
1995, No. 23, Bob Dylan, "MTV Unplugged"
1996, No. 15, Kiss, "MTV Unplugged"
1996, No. 3, Alice in Chains, "Unplugged"
1997, No. 53, Maxwell, "MTV Unplugged EP"

1997, No. 189, Bruce Springsteen, "In Concert/MTV Plugged"
1997, No. 106, Babyface, "MTV Unplugged NYC 1997"
1998, No. 88, Bryan Adams, "MTV Unplugged"
1999, No. 83, Mana, "MTV Unplugged"
1999, No. 63, Alanis Morissette, "MTV Unplugged"

2000, No. 124, Shakira, "MTV Unplugged"
2002, No. 31, Jay-Z, "MTV Unplugged"
2002, No. 3, Lauryn Hill, "MTV Unplugged No. 2.0"
2003, No. 111, Dashboard Confessional, "MTV Unplugged V 2.0"
2005, No. 1 (one week), Alicia Keys, "Unplugged"

2007, No. 9, Korn, "MTV Unplugged"
2009, No. 168, Katy Perry, ""MTV Unplugged (EP)"

OH, BROTHER: In 2000-01, twin duo Evan and Jaron (Lowenstein) roared to No. 4 on Adult Pop Songs and No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Crazy for This Girl."

This week, the younger half of the pair (by five minutes) joins the list of artists (Michelle Branch, Jewel and Darius Rucker, for example) who've segued from pop to country this decade, as Jaron and the Long Road to Love claims Hot Shot Debut honors on Country Songs with "Pray for You" at No. 58.

(Or, as Jaron told, "I didn't go country. Country went pop.")

Since their breakthrough, Evan and Jaron (discovered by Jimmy Buffett), have hosted USA Network's "Character Road Trip" and released their last 'album,' 2007's "52 Sundays," a collection of cuts that the media-savvy siblings offered one-by-one online each weekend for a year.

CHART BEAT BITS: Norah Jones debuts on the Billboard 200 at No. 3 with "The Fall," her fourth studio set. Her prior three topped the tally, while "New York City," by the Peter Malick Group featuring Jones, peaked at No. 54 in 2003. The new album's first single, "Chasing Pirates," pushes 5-3 on the Triple A adult alternative airplay chart (viewable at and 22-18 on Adult Contemporary ...

Reigning "American Idol" champion Kris Allen launches on the Billboard 200 at No. 11 with his self-titled debut album. The show's 2009 runner-up, Adam Lambert, debuts at No. 72 with "Take One," a set of pre-"American Idol" recordings. His proper introductory album, "For Your Entertainment," will arrive on next week's chart ...

Janet Jackson starts on the Billboard 200 at No. 22 with "Number Ones" (not to be confused with Michael Jackson's like-titled collection at No. 37). Billboard 200 chart manager Keith Caulfield notes that 30 of the 34 songs on Janet's new best-of set reached No. 1 on either the Billboard Hot 100, R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Dance Club Play Songs or Adult Contemporary. It includes all 10 of her Hot 100 No. 1s and all 16 of her leaders on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs ...

Two of 2009's most buzz-worthy new acts shine on the Billboard Hot 100. The "Glee" cast bows with its updates of Bill Withers' "Lean on Me" (No. 50), the Police's "Don't Stand So Close to Me" paired with the Union Gap's "Young Girl" (No. 64), the Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You" (No. 73) and Lionel Richie and Diana Ross' "Endless Love" (No. 78). The troupe has charted 18 titles this year, second only among all acts to Lil Wayne (20) for most chart appearances in that span. Justin Bieber concurrently arrives with three songs. With their entrances, all seven tracks from his debut "My World (EP)," which opens on the Billboard 200 at No. 6, have hit the Hot 100 ...

Pre-Thanksgiving, the Chipmunks gnaw their way onto the Billboard 200 with "Christmas With the Chipmunks" at No. 73. With the album's appearance, the revered rodents extend their Billboard 200 chart span to 50 years and one week, dating to the entrance of "Let's All Sing With the Chipmunks" in November 1959.