Kirk Franklin No. 1 With Own Hit & 'Wow Gospel 2016' Compilation

Courtesy of BMI
Kirk Franklin

Compilation WOW Gospel 2016, the 19th edition of the annual series (begun in 1998), opens at No. 1 on Top Gospel Albums. The 38-track set bows with 7,000 sold in the week ending Feb. 4, according to Nielsen Music. Of the 19 albums, 17 (all consecutively since 2000) have hit the summit; 2006's brought the best starting sum: 43,000.

The WOW franchise is unique in that the artists featured are from the three major gospel labels (Motown Gospel, RCA Inspiration and Word-Curb). The new set includes, among others, Tasha Cobbs, Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann. "There's a huge appetite for gospel music, so when you pair that with an album full of the genre's top hits, fans react," says RCA Inspiration vp national sales Mark Michel. "It's a win-win for all the labels involved."

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Speaking of Franklin: On Hot Gospel Songs, his "Wanna Be Happy?" ranks at No. 1 for a 23rd week, encompassing its entire chart run. The single ties 2011's "I Smile" for his longest-ruling of four No. 1s.

Back to Top Gospel Albums, J Moss' GFG: Reload debuts at No. 4 (3,000). The R&B-styled vocalist from Detroit has notched four No. 1s, most recently 2014's Grown Folks Gospel.

Over on Top Christian Albums, Guy Penrod's Live: Hymns & Worship (No. 2) and Michael W. Smith's Hymns ll: Shine on Us (No. 3) launch (each with approximately 4,000). The acts earn their fourth and 29th top 10s, respectively.