With Ryan Adams' song-for-song remake of Taylor Swift's 1989 debuting at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 (dated Oct. 10), a notch above Swift's original at No. 8, the question was a natural: have any other same-titled albums shared space in the Billboard 200's top 10 before?
The answer? Yes, going by title alone … although no, narrowing it down to albums with the exact same content.
After combing through more than 50 years of charts, and more than 4,600 top 10 albums … four sets of identically-named albums prior to the two 1989s had ranked in the Billboard 200's top 10 at the same time, dating to Aug. 17, 1963, when the chart became a combination of previously separate mono and stereo listings.
The first such instance occurred on the June 18, 1966 chart, when two albums titled The Shadow of Your Smile each reached the top 10, back-to-back (like Adams and Swift this week): Andy Williams' jumped 20-9, leapfrogging Johnny Mathis' set of the same name (11-10). The LPs aren't identical, content-wise, although they share four songs, including the title cut, the love theme from the 1965 film The Sandpiper. The albums spent two weeks in the top 10 together.
Nearly five years later, two more album titles doubled up in the top 10, again involving Williams. As Swift would say, it's a Love Story: for nine weeks beginning March 6, 1971, Williams' album Love Story and the soundtrack to the 1970 film Love Story charted in the top 10 simultaneously. The recordings share only the movie's love theme. (Fun fact: Love Story marked Tommy Lee Jones' big screen debut.)
Such a twofer didn't occur again until 36 years later, and it's with a bit of an asterisk, since the title is as much a common descriptor as an actual album title: on March 24, 2007, late hip-hop icon the Notorious B.I.G.'s Greatest Hits opened at No. 1 and country singer Gary Allan's Greatest Hits launched at No. 5. The albums shared more weeks in the top 10 together than they do songs: one.
Then, on May 12, 2012, Kip Moore's Up All Night debuted at No. 6, marking its only week in the top 10. One Direction's entirely different album of the same name (and its debut set) was at No. 4 that frame.
So, this week's couplet of Adams' and Swift's 1989s marks the fifth occurrence of like-titled albums ranking in the Billboard 200's top 10 together … although the first of two identical albums, in terms of their track listings.
Then again, Adams considers each 1989 similar in music and lyrics only, not in overall essence. "Where it might have been hopeful before, [mine] might sound more filled with regret," he recently told Billboard. (Adams, who worked with Swift on demos for her 2012 album Red, says he remade 1989 because, "I was basically pretty tired of singing and playing my own stuff, but I wanted to make music.")
"I wanted the music to sound like … inside the movie of my mind … what the parallel universe of my 1989 could be."