The lofty sales also help Foo Fighters debut at No. 2 on this week’s Billboard Artist 100 chart.
The band’s eighth studio album accompanies an eight-part HBO documentary directed by frontman Dave Grohl. The production follows the band as it visits eight American cities (Seattle, Chicago, Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Washington, D.C) and Grohl interviews artists such as Slash, Dolly Parton and Macklemore, using each stop as inspiration to write and record an original song. The album also includes a variety of guest musicians, including Joe Walsh and Ben Gibbard.
Highways starts at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, marking Foo Fighters’ seventh top 10. The band’s previous release, 2011’s Wasting Light, became its first and only No. 1 (with 235,000 sold in its first week). The act first charted in 1995 with its No. 23-peaking self-titled debut (a mostly solo acoustic effort by Grohl).
Highways also represents the band’s first No. 1 on Vinyl Albums and its best vinyl sales week (12,000). The cover art is a fictionalized cityscape incorporating landmarks from each city that inspired the album. The vinyl edition features nine unique gatefold sleeves, each depicting a different city, linked by a ninth centerpiece with an infinity sign (a.k.a. a number 8). Only fans that purchased the first pressing of the album directly through the band’s online store were able to choose a specific cover.
On Rock Airplay, first Highways single “Something From Nothing” spends a fourth week at No. 1. It’s the band’s record fourth leader in the chart’s five-year history.
RICE RETURNS: Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice scores his highest rank on Top Rock Albums (No. 3) and the Billboard 200 (No. 15) with his first album in eight years, My Favourite Faded Fantasy. Rice’s third studio set starts with 24,000 sold.
The Rick Rubin-produced title also begins at No. 1 on Folk Albums, spurring Rice’s entrance at No. 86 on the Artist 100. Lead single “I Don’t Want to Change You” debuts at No. 26 on Adult Alternative Songs, where Rice scored a No. 1 in 2004 with his breakthrough hit “Cannonball.”
Rice’s last album, 2006’s 9, debuted and peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard 200.
RISE FOR FALL OUT BOY: On Hot Rock Songs, Fall Out Boy notches its third top 10 (since the chart’s inception in 2009) as “Immortals” surges 15-9. The track was written specifically for the Disney film Big Hero 6, which premiered Nov. 7. With the song building familiarity with box office-goers, the track gains by 47 percent to 25,000 downloads sold. Fall Out Boy’s current radio single “Centuries” holds at its No. 2 Hot Rock Songs highpoint for a sixth consecutive week. The group first reached the top 10 last year with the No. 2-peaking “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up).”