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Paul McCartney's 'McCartney III Imagined' Hits No. 1 on Billboard's Top Album Sales Chart

Paul McCartney
Mary McCartney

Paul McCartney

The set surges to No. 1 following its physical format release on July 23, after previously only being available via digital retail and streaming services.

Paul McCartney’s remix album McCartney III Imagined re-enters at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart (dated Aug. 7) for its first week at the top, following its release on physical formats on July 23. The album sold 21,000 copies in the U.S. in the week ending July 29 (up from a negligible figure in the week previous), according to MRC Data, thanks to its release on CD, vinyl LP and cassette tape.

The album is a collection of remixed songs from McCartney’s last studio album, the December 2020 release McCartney III, and was initially released via digital download and streaming services on April 16, 2021.

The Imagined set spent one week previously on Top Album Sales, debuting at No. 60 on the May 1-dated chart with 2,200 downloads sold.

Imagined sold about 2,500 digital albums total before its physical release on July 23.

Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart ranks the top-selling albums of the week based only on traditional album sales. The chart’s history dates back to May 25, 1991, the first week Billboard began tabulating charts with electronically monitored piece count information from SoundScan, now MRC Data. Pure album sales were the measurement solely utilized by the Billboard 200 albums chart through the list dated Dec. 6, 2014, after which that chart switched to a methodology that blends album sales with track equivalent album units and streaming equivalent album units. The new Aug. 7, 2021-dated chart (where Imagined hits No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard's website on Aug. 2. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.

Imagined is McCartney’s third No. 1 on the 30-year-old Top Album Sales chart, following McCartney III (Jan. 2-dated chart) and Egypt Station (Sept. 22, 2018). Imagined’s tracklist boasts an eclectic lineup of guests, including Beck, Dominic Fike, St. Vincent, Blood Orange, Phoebe Bridgers, Damon Albarn, Josh Homme and Anderson .Paak. 

Of Imagined’s sales of 21,000 in the week ending July 29, physical album sales comprise essentially all of that figure (16,100 vinyl LPs, 4,300 CDs and about 300 cassettes). Imagined also debuts at No. 1 on Billboard’s Vinyl Albums chart. It also bows at No. 2 on the Tastemaker Albums chart, which ranks the top-selling albums of the week at independent and small chain record stores, having sold just over 4,000 copies, across all formats, through those sellers.

Imagined is first remix album to reach No. 1 since Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never: The Remixes spent one week at No. 1 on the March 5, 2011-dated chart. (The set largely consisted of reworkings of songs from Bieber’s 2010 My World 2.0 album.) Among Bieber’s seven total No. 1s on Top Album Sales, he also notched a No. 1 with Believe: Acoustic, on Feb. 16, 2013 -- a set of acoustic performances of songs from his 2012 Believe album.

Taylor Swift’s former No. 1 Folklore jumps 65-2 on Top Album Sales with a little over 15,000 copies sold (up 436%), thanks to its wide release on vinyl LP on July 23. The set sold 13,500 copies on vinyl (up 710%) in the week ending July 29. Previously, the vinyl edition of the album was only available via Swift’s official webstore and Target. On the Vinyl Albums chart, Folklore re-enters at No. 2, having spent four previous weeks at No. 1.

Leon Bridges’ new studio album Gold-Diggers Sound debuts at No. 3 on Top Album Sales with 15,000 copies sold. It’s the fifth top-five charting set for Bridges on Top Album Sales – the entirety of Bridges’ charting efforts. He previously hit the list with Texas Sun, with Khruangbin (No. 4, 2020), Good Thing (No. 1, 2018) and Coming Home (No. 5, 2015).

John Mayer’s Sob Rock falls from No. 1 to No. 4 in its second week, selling 12,000 copies (down 81%).

Jackson Browne’s Downhill From Everywhere bows at No. 5 with 10,000 sold – marking the first top 10 for Browne on the 30-year-old Top Album Sales chart. Downhill is the singer-songwriter’s first new studio album since 2014’s Standing in the Breach (No. 15, Oct. 25, 2014-dated chart).

A trio of former No. 1s are up next on Top Album Sales, as Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour rises 7-6 (8,000; down 10%), Tomorrow x Together’s The Chaos Chapter: Freeze bumps 19-7 (7,000; up 32%) and Carrie Underwood’s My Savior flies 56-8 (nearly 7,000; up 110%). Helping sales for the latter: Underwood’s live concert My Savior: Live From the Ryman, was released on DVD on July 23.

Rock band Descendents debuts at No. 9 with its latest studio album, 9th & Walnut, launching with nearly 7,000 copies sold. It’s the group’s highest charting album and first studio release since 2016’s Hypercaffium Spazzinate. The latter also marked the band’s only previous top 10, having debuted and peaked at No. 10 on the Aug. 20, 2016-dated list.

Swift’s former No. 1 Evermore rounds out the top 10, rising 16-10 with 6,000 sold (up 7%).