Lucinda Williams Tops Folk Albums Chart, U2 Hits Alternative Songs Milestone

 (photo: James Minchin III)
Lucinda Williams

Rocker Lucinda Williams leads the Folk Albums chart for the first time. Plus, chart action for Prince, Eddie Vedder, Spoon and U2.

As previously reported, Prince scores his first entry, and first No. 1, on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart, with the debut album from his funk-n-roll band 3RDEYEGIRL. PlectrumElectrum starts at the summit with 26,000 first week copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The set also starts at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, trailing Prince's other new album, the solo Art Official Age (No. 5 on the Billboard 200, as well as No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums).

Prince Crowns Dual Charts

3RDEYEGIRL is an all-female rock band assembled by Prince. It features guitarist Donna Grantis, bassist Ida Nielsen and drummer Hannah "Ford" Welton.

Below Prince, Lucinda Williams tallies her highest rank on Top Rock Albums (No. 2) and her first No. 1 on Folk Albums with Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, arriving with 20,000 copies sold. The double album is the alt-country rocker's 11th studio set and first release on her own label, Highway 20 Records.

Williams' new album starts at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, marking her highest-charting title since she peaked at No. 9 with 2008's Little Honey. Williams first charted on the Billboard 200 in 1998 with her fifth studio album, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (which debuted and peaked at No. 65). Wheels, her best-selling album to date (872,000), won a Grammy Award for best contemporary folk album.

Before her chart breakthrough as an artist, Williams scored a hit as a writer: Mary Chapin Carpenter's version of Williams' catchy "Passionate Kisses" rose to No. 4 on Hot Country Songs in 1993.

Metal band Nonpoint notches its first No. 1 on Hard Rock Albums and highest rank on Top Rock Albums (No. 7) with The Return selling 8,000 first-week copies. The group's previous release, its 2012 self-titled set, started at No. 6 on Hard Rock Albums and No. 29 on Top Rock Albums with 7,000 in its opening week.

Spoon lifts 2-1 on Adult Alternative Songs with "Do You," its first leader on the Nielsen BDS-based radio airplay chart. The song is from the album They Want My Soul, which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 in August. The band previously peaked as high as No. 3 on Adult Alternative Songs with 2007's "The Underdog."

Blake Shelton Scores Second No. 1 Album on Billboard 200

Eddie Vedder debuts at No. 34 on Hot Rock Songs with a cover of John Lennon's "Imagine." He instantly earns his highest solo rank on the chart, besting 2011's "Longing to Belong," which peaked at No. 41. The Pearl Jam frontman recorded "Imagine" at a solo concert in Portugal in July. The single (released Sept. 30) benefits Heartbeat.fm, which unites Israeli and Palestinian youth musicians to promote peace, and bows at No. 11 on Rock Digital Songs with 11,000 sold.

U2 tallies its record-extending 40th entry on Alternative Songs (which launched on Sept. 10, 1988), as "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)" debuts at No. 36. The group widens its lead over runner-up Pearl Jam, which has made 38 chart visits. Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers share third place (30 each).

Should "Joey Ramone" hit the Alternative Songs top 10, U2 would tie Red Hot Chili Peppers for the most such hits: 24 apiece. Foo Fighters and Green Day rank third with 20 top 10s each.

Additional reporting by Gary Trust