Bon Jovi Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200, David Bowie Trails at No. 2

Bon Jovi scores its fifth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as What About Now debuts with 101,000 sold in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

It's the act's third straight studio album to debut at No. 1, following The Circle (2009) and Lost Highway (2007). Bon Jovi previously claimed No. 1s with New Jersey (1988) and Slippery When Wet (1986).

The veteran band beats the also-debuting David Bowie, who arrives at a career-high No. 2 with The Next Day, selling 85,000. The rock legend's new album -- his first studio set since 2003 -- earns Bowie his largest sales week for an album since SoundScan started tracking data in 1991. (The singer's previous best SoundScan-era sales frame came when 2002's Heathen started with 55,000 at No. 14.)

The Next Day is Bowie's seventh top 10 album. He last logged a top 10 in 1983 with the No. 4-peaking Let's Dance. Until this week, Bowie's highest-charting album had been 1976's Station to Station, which spent two weeks at No. 3.

The full top 10 of the Billboard 200 will be revealed on March 20.

A week ago, Billboard reported that industry sources were forecasting a possible race for No. 1 between Bon Jovi and Bowie. While at first it seemed like Bowie had a shot for the top of the tally, based in part on his album's strong digital sales, ultimately Bon Jovi pulled ahead as the week progressed. Bon Jovi's album profited from weekend CD purchases at big box stores like Walmart and Target.

In terms of downloads, Bowie's album was the stronger seller. It moved 41,000 digital copies and was the top selling digital album last week. 48% of Bowie's overall first-week were downloads. As for Bon Jovi's album, it moved 39,000 downloads -- 39% of its debut.

Though Bon Jovi claims its fifth No. 1, it does so with its smallest debut sales week for a studio set since 1995. The opening sum of 101,000 for What About Now is the band's lowest start since 1995's These Days entered with 73,000 at No. 9.

The act's two previous studio releases -- 2009's The Circle and 2007's Lost Highway -- both entered at No. 1 with 163,000 and 292,000, respectively.