Billboard 200 Chart Moves: 'Dear Evan Hansen' & 'Hamilton' Give Broadway Two Albums in Top 20 for First Time in More Than 50 Years
On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart (dated Feb. 25), Big Sean claimed his second No. 1 with the bow of I Decided., which earned 151,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Feb. 9, according to Nielsen Music.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the week’s most popular albums based on their overall consumption. That overall unit figure combines pure album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Big Sean led a busy week in the top 10, which also saw Lady Gaga’s Joanne and The Fame return to the top 10 (following her Super Bowl halftime performance), a debut from country icon Reba McEntire, and a splashy arrival from the original Broadway cast recording of Dear Evan Hansen.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the action on the latest Billboard 200 chart:
— Original Broadway Cast Recording, Dear Evan Hansen - No. 8 — For the first time in more than 51 years, there are two cast recordings in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 chart. The original Broadway cast recording of Dear Evan Hansen debuts at No. 8 with 29,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Feb. 9, while still-hot Hamilton: An American Musical, moves from No. 12 to No. 13 (25,000 units; down 1 percent). The chart last housed a pair of top 20-charting cast albums way back in 1965, when the Broadway cast recordings of Hello, Dolly! and Fiddler on the Roof both occupied the region for 11 consecutive weeks, between Jan. 16 and March 27, 1965. Hello, Dolly! topped the chart for one week in 1964, while Fiddler On the Roof peaked at No. 7 in January of 1965. Both albums were particularly strong performers on the list, with Hello, Dolly! spending 90 weeks on the tally, and Fiddler charting 206 frames on the list.
As previously reported, Dear Evan Hansen’s bow at No. 8 is the highest debut for a cast recording on the chart since 1961, and marks just the fourth cast recording to reach the top 10 of the Billboard 200 in the last 50 years. In that span of time, the only previous cast albums to visit the region were: Hamilton (No. 3 in 2016), The Book of Mormon (No. 3 in 2011) and Hair (No. 1 for 13 weeks in 1969).
— J. Cole, 4 Your Eyez Only - No. 23 — J. Cole nabs his fourth half-million-selling album, as 4 Your Eyes Only sold another 5,000 copies in the week ending Feb. 9, bringing its cumulative total to 503,000 sold. All four of Cole’s studio efforts have reached the half-million sales mark: his debut set Cole World: The Sideline Story, has sold 863,000 since its arrival in 2011. He then followed it up with Born Sinner (801,000; 2013), 2014 Forest Hills Drive (1.27 million, 2014) and last year’s 4 Your Eyez Only.
— Alessia Cara, Know-It-All – No. 30 — Alessia Cara’s two major TV appearances during the tracking week (NBC’s The Tonight Show on Feb. 3 and Saturday Night Live on Feb. 4) yield a 42 percent unit gain for her album, which rises 58-30 with 13,000 units.
— LeAnn Rimes, Remnants – No. 88 — Rimes returns to the Billboard 200 with her 17th chart entry, and first for RCA U.K., as Remnants bows at No. 88. The set starts with 7,000 units earned (6,000 from traditional album sales). The bulk of Rimes’ album catalog was released through Curb Records from 1996 through 2014, including eight top 10 sets – two of which reached No. 1 (Unchained Melody/The Early Years, and You Light Up My Life – Inspirational Songs).
— Prince, 4Ever - No. 189 — Following the return of Prince’s Warner Music-era music to streaming services on Feb. 12, the Purple One’s streams gained 6,323 percent in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. Prince’s music (including his non-Warner output) claimed 4.77 million on-demand streams on Feb. 12 and 13 -- up from just 74,000 streams in the two previous days. Those robust numbers could bode well for this 4Ever compilation in the coming weeks, as the greatest hits package gathers together Prince’s most familiar tunes during his time with Warner Bros. Records -- including classics like “When Doves Cry,” “1999” and “Purple Rain.”