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Chart Beat Thursday: Veterans Victorious

Thirty years after reaching No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with "Damn the Torpedoes," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers match their best rank.

ROCK OF AGES: While rookie rapper Drake rules the Billboard 200 with his debut album, “Thank Me Later,” certain venerable acts aren’t quite ready to cede the survey’s spotlight.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers become the second group, following the Rolling Stones, to notch a top 10 album on the Billboard 200 in each decade since the ’70s, as “Mojo” debuts at No. 2. The new album matches Petty and the Heartbreakers’ previous best chart ranking. The band’s first top 10 entry, “Damn the Torpedoes,” entered the top 10 the week of Dec. 8, 1979, and spent its first of seven weeks at No. 2 in the Feb. 9, 1980, issue.


The new album marks the 11th trip to the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for Petty solo (three top 10s) or with the Heartbreakers (eight). He has also scaled the top tier with three sets under alternate billings. As a member of the Traveling Wilburys, with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison, Petty (or “Charlie T. Wilbury Jr.,” according to Wilbury mythology) rose to No. 3 with “Volume One” in 1989. “The Traveling Wilburys Collection” debuted and peaked at No. 9 in 2007. The self-titled reunion album from Mudcrutch, Petty’s band which evolved into the Heartbreakers, bowed and peaked at No. 8 the week of May 17, 2008.

A notch below Petty and the Heartbreakers, Sarah McLachlan collects her fifth Billboard 200 top 10 with the bow of “Laws of Illusion.” By starting at No. 1 on Top Internet Albums, McLachlan inks her first leader on a Billboard list since “Wintersong” spent eight weeks atop Holiday Albums in 2006-07. The singer/songwriter first reached the Billboard 200 top 10 with the No. 2-peaking “Surfacing” in 1997.

At No. 30 on the Billboard 200, Devo arrives with “Something for Everybody.” The band, widely known for its No. 14 Hot 100 hit “Whip It” in 1980, logs its first debut on the Billboard 200 in 22 years. Its “Total Devo” entered the chart dated July 2, 1988. The band’s lead singer, Mark Mothersbaugh, hasn’t been idle over the past two decades, composing soundtracks and segueing into multi-media projects. “There are so many areas I’ve gotten to work in (on which) I didn’t get to put the Devo slant,” Mothersbaugh told Billboard recently. “I hope I live to do work in mediums that haven’t even been invented yet.”

Rounding out the run of experienced acts reclaiming real estate in the Billboard 200’s top 40, the Steve Miller Band charts its first studio album in 17 years, as “BINGO!” bows at No. 37. The set also begins atop Blues Albums. The group’s last studio effort, “Wide River,” debuted at No. 135 on the Billboard 200 on the list dated June 26, 1993.

‘FREE’ RIDE: Zac Brown Band becomes just the fourth group or duo to generate five top 10s from a debut album since the Country Songs chart converted to Nielsen BDS data in 1990, as “Free” rises 12-10. Three previous singles from the act’s introductory album “The Foundation” reached No. 1 – “Chicken Fried,” “Toes” and “Highway 20 Ride” – and “Whatever It Is” peaked at No. 2.

In 1991-92, Brooks & Dunn‘s “Brand New Man” and Diamond Rio‘s eponymous debut set each plated five top 10s. Before this week, Dixie Chicks last accomplished such a high five with “Wide Open Spaces” in 1998-99.

Among all acts, Taylor Swift last sent five songs into the Country Songs top 10 from her self-titled debut album in 2006-08.

HOT N ‘COOL’: Mike Posner heats up the Billboard Hot 100 top 10, as his debut single “Cooler Than Me” bounds 14-8 with the chart’s Greatest Gainer/Digital award.

The song becomes the fifth song with “cool” in its title to reach the Hot 100’s top bracket:

Peak Position, Title, Artist, Peak Date
No. 2, “Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress),” the Hollies, Sept. 2, 1972
No. 4, “Cool It Now,” New Edition, Jan. 5, 1985
No. 7, “Cool Jerk,” the Capitols, July 9, 1966
No. 8 (to date), “Cooler Than Me,” Mike Posner, July 3, 2010
No. 10, “Cool Change,” Little River Band, Jan. 19, 1980

(Other notable “cool” compositions that fell short of the top 10 include Paul Davis’ “Cool Night” (No. 11, 1982), Digable Planets’ “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” (No. 15, 1993) and Gwen Stefani‘s simply enough-titled “Cool” (No. 13, 2005).

Posner is the fourth male artist this year to take his first Hot 100 entry as a lead act into the top 10, following B.o.B (“Nothin’ On You”), Taio Cruz (“Break Your Heart”) and Travie McCoy (“Billionaire”).

With half of 2010 still ahead, new male artists could pass the top 10 output tallied by their counterparts last year, when six such acts reached the top 10 on their first tries: Jason Derulo (“Whatcha Say”), Drake (“Best I Ever Had”), Iyaz (“Replay”), Jeremih (“Birthday Sex”), Kid Cudi (“Day ‘N’ Nite”) and Jay Sean (“Down”).

In 2008, four male newcomers reached the Hot 100’s top 10 with their first charted titles: David Cook (“The Time of My Life”), Joe Jonas (“This Is Me,” credited to Jonas and Demi Lovato), Kardinal Offishall (“Dangerous”) and Kevin Rudolf (“Let It Rock”).

JARON AND THE LONG ROAD BACK TO THE TOP 40: On the Hot 100 dated April 15, 2001, Evan and Jaron’s pop hit “Crazy for This Girl,” spent its 20th and final week in the top 40 after peaking at No. 15.

This week, half of the twin brother duo, Jaron Lowenstein, returns to the region, as his country project Jaron and the Long Road to Love advances 41-37 with “Pray for You.” The song climbs 15-14 on Country Songs.

“Having had success and lost it, I have learned to appreciate every moment,” the singer tells Billboard.

“It’s bittersweet this time around, because I’m not doing it with Evan (who has since opted for a “behind-the-scenes role in the music business,” according to a label press release).

“While it’s thrilling to have one vision throughout and not having to split life experiences on the album (‘Getting Dressed in the Dark,’ released Tuesday (June 22)), nothing replaces the fun of being on stage with my brother.”

DISTURBIA: Chicago hard rock band Disturbed previews its fifth studio album, “Asylum,” due in late August, as “Another Way to Die” enters Rock Songs at No. 8 and Rock Digital Songs at No. 7.

The song makes just the second top 10 entrance on the former tally since its launch last year. Pearl Jam’s “The Fixer” stormed in at No. 2 last August.

“Another Way to Die” concurrently debuts on the Hot 100 at No. 81.

CHART BEAT BITS: While Sarah McLachlan returns to the Billboard 200 with “Laws of Illusion” at No. 3, another album born of the artist’s efforts enters the Top Compilation Albums chart. Beginning on the latter list at No. 16, “Lilith 2010” features McLachlan and a host of acts, including Kelly Clarkson, Court Yard Hounds and Norah Jones, performing on this year’s Lilith Fair reunion tour, the festival’s first trek since 1999. “Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music” reached No. 24 on the Billboard 200 in 1998. Two subsequent volumes peaked at Nos. 87 and 98 in 1999 …

The Prince of Darkness is king of the Mainstream Rock chart. Ozzy Osbourne notches his second No. 1 in a 30-song discography on the list that dates to 1981, as “Let Me Hear You Scream” charges 2-1. Osbourne first led with “I Don’t Wanna Stop” for five frames beginning this week in 2007 …

Train rolls to its second topper on Adult Contemporary, as “Hey, Soul Sister” pushes 2-1. The group spent three weeks at No. 1 with “Calling All Angels” in 2004. Spending a 22nd week atop Rock Digital Songs, after leading Adult Pop Songs for six weeks and Digital Songs for three weeks, “Hey, Soul Sister,” released on Columbia Records, is now being worked to country radio by the Nashville-based BNA label, home to Kenny Chesney, among others …

Lady Gaga links her seventh consecutive No. 1 on Dance/Club Play Songs, as “Alejandro” lifts 2-1. She missed the summit only with her debut single, “Just Dance,” which peaked at No. 2 in June 2008 …

Following Billboard’s ranking of Michael Jackson‘s 50 biggest Hot 100 hits, radio stations nationwide will also memorialize the King of Pop tomorrow on the one-year anniversary of his passing. Here in New York, dance outlet WKTU (103.5) will go “MJ All Day,” mainstream top 40 stations WHTZ (Z100) and WXRK (92.3 Now) will air several Jackson tracks and adult R&B signals WBLS (107.5) and WRKS (Kiss 98.7) will begin weekend-long tribute programming. Classic hits WCBS-FM 101.1 will air its own countdown of Jackson’s best-loved songs, with listeners still having the opportunity to shape the list by voting here.