The first album collaboration from Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood,Christmas Together, decorates Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart (dated Dec. 3) with a No. 1 debut. In its first week, it sold 21,000 copies, according to Nielsen Music. On the all-genre, consumption-based Billboard 200, the LP starts at No. 11, while dashing onto Top Holiday Albums at No. 2.
“We had so much fun making this Christmas album together,” the husband-and-wife team told Billboard in an exclusive statement. “We’re honored that people are making our music a part of their holiday season.”
Christmas Together was released the same day (Nov. 11) as Brooks’ new 10-CD box set The Ultimate Collection, which was exclusively available through Target for $29.99. The set is ineligible to chart on Nielsen and Billboard‘s charts, as its price falls below the minimum required price to chart ($3.49 for a single disc, or $3.49 times the amount of discs in a multi-disc box set, in a title’s first four weeks of release)
Brooks, who won his record fifth entertainer of the year trophy at the 50th annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards Nov. 2, earns his 15th Top Country Albums leader (and 12th to debut at No. 1). He ties Tim McGraw’s total, with the pair trailing only George Strait (26 No. 1s), Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson (16 each). Most recently, Brooks led with Man Against Machine, which opened at No. 1 on the Nov. 29, 2014, chart, selling 130,000 in its launch week.
The new LP is Yearwood’s fourth No. 1 on Top Country Albums, all of which have started at the top. She reigns for the first time since Jasper County debuted at No. 1 on Oct. 1, 2005 (118,000) and led for two weeks.
As a tandem, Brooks and Yearwood and made their Billboard chart debut on Aug. 23, 1997, when ballad “In Another’s Eyes” entered Hot Country Songs before peaking at No. 2.
Meanwhile, Home Free’s Full Of (Even More) Cheer, an update of the act’s 2014 holiday album Full of Cheer, which reached No. 12 on Top Country Albums, enters at No. 2 with 13,000 sold. The new Cheer adds two new songs: the traditional Gospel hymn “How Great Thou Art” and a studio version of “Colder Weather,” a live version of which was released on the 2014 set. The new release, with its spiritual leanings, debuts at No. 1 on Top Christian Albums, the group’s first appearance on the chart.
Notably, Brooks and Yearwood and Home Free’s arrivals at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, mark the first such double-up in the top two for holiday sets simultaneously in the 53-year history of Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart. The last time that two holiday titles were even in the top five together was on Jan. 5, 2013, when Lady Antebellum’s On This Winter’s Night and Blake Shelton’s Cheers, It’s Christmas ranked at Nos. 2 and 4, respectively.
Until the latest tally, the last holiday set to rule Top Country Albums was The Robertsons’ Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas (Nov. 16-Dec. 7, 2013).