At the age of 74, Paul Simon has achieved a first in his legendary career.
The iconic musician, who first rose to fame as half of Simon & Garfunkel, earns his first No. 1 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums and Americana/Folk Albums charts (dated June 25) with Stranger to Stranger, which sells 67,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen Music. (Top Rock Albums began in 2006, while Americana/Folk Albums was born as the Folk Albums chart in 2009.)
As previously reported, Simon's 13th solo studio album bows at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, marking his highest-ever debut and best rank since Graceland reached the same spot in 1987. As a solo artist, Simon has scored one Billboard 200 topper: 1975's Still Crazy After All These Years; Simon & Garfunkel notched two Billboard 200 No. 1s. Stranger to Stranger also opens as the top-selling album overall for the week, starting at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart.
Simon's Top Rock Albums triumph exceeds his previous best, 2011's So Beautiful or So What, which debuted and peaked at No. 2, with a tick more in first-week sales (68,000).
Meanwhile, lead Stranger to Stranger single "Wristband" bullets at No. 18 (after reaching No. 14) on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart.
With the arrival of his new album, Simon continues a prolific 2016: Disturbed's cover of Simon & Garfunkel's 1966 debut Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 "The Sound of Silence" topped the Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart for seven weeks beginning in March (and remains in the top 10, at No. 9). The Simon-penned classic also crowned Rock Digital Songs for two weeks and has sold 781,000 downloads to date.
Even the original "Silence" found its way back to chart success when it entered Hot Rock Songs at No. 6 (on the chart dated April 16) after an increase in sales and streams -- not just from the Disturbed cover, but also thanks to the song's inclusion in a video soundtracking an interview with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill about the film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
In all, eight of the top 10 on Top Rock Albums are debuts, with Simon followed in the top five by new sets from Volbeat (No. 2), HellYeah (No. 3), Beartooth (No. 4) and Soulrocker, the ninth studio album from Michael Franti & Spearhead, which begins at No. 5 with 12,000 copies sold, marking the act's best sales week since 2010's The Sound of Sunshine (18,000).