John Coltrane Earns Highest-Charting Album Ever on Billboard 200 With 'The Lost Album'

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
John Coltrane circa 1958.

The set, recorded in 1963, also notches Coltrane his fourth No. 1 on Jazz Albums.

51 years after his death in 1967, jazz icon John Coltrane earns his first top 40-charting album on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart and his fourth No. 1 on the Jazz Albums tally both dated July 14) with his newly discovered set Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album.

The album, which Coltrane originally recorded in 1963 with his Classic Quartet, debuts with 22,000 equivalent album units earned in the tracking week ending July 5, according to Nielsen Music. 21,000 of that sum were in traditional album units, helping the set also arrive at No. 5 on Top Album Sales and No. 1 on the Traditional Jazz Albums charts.

The sales sum gives Coltrane his biggest sales week as a soloist since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991. Furthermore, it's his biggest sales week overall since Christmas week of 2005, when his collaboration with the Thelonious Monk Quartet, At Carnegie Hall, sold 28,000 copies (in the week ending Dec. 25).

Coltrane has earned five additional entries on the Billboard 200. Expression peaked at No. 194 in November 1967; Sun Ship reached No. 186 in November 1971; At Carnegie Hall with the Monk Quartet hit No. 107 in October 2005; Opus Collection: A Man Called Train hit No. 107 in June 2008; and Miles Davis and Coltrane’s The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6 peaked at No. 187 three months ago in April.

It’s worth noting that some of Coltrane’s most famous albums never charted on the Billboard 200, including 1960's Giant Steps, 1961's Lush Life and 1964’s A Love Supreme (all of which have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame).

The new album also earns Coltrane his fourth No. 1 on both the Traditional Jazz Albums chart and the overall Jazz Albums chart. He previously hit No. 1 with The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6 and The Final Tour: Copenhagen, March 24, 1960 (both in 2018) and also The Roulette Sides EP in 2016.

The Jazz Albums chart ranks the top selling contemporary and traditional jazz albums of the week in the U.S. Those two sub-categories of jazz are also represented, respectively, on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums and Traditional Jazz Albums charts. The former launched in 1987, while the latter list started in 1967. 

Coltrane died of liver cancer at the age of 40 in Huntington, New York, on July 17, 1967.