Lionel Richie's 'Tuskegee' Album Hits No. 1 On Billboard 200

 Alan Silfen

Lionel Richie's Tuskegee album rises to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in its third week on the list, selling 129,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan (up 35%). The set jumps three slots this week, easily overtaking Adele's 21 (holding at No. 2 with 92,000; down 40%).

Tuskegee is the R&B and pop icon's third No. 1 album, and his first since 1986's Dancing on the Ceiling spent two weeks in the penthouse. Though it seemed, at least late last week, that Adele's 21 was going to come out on top, Richie's sales surged during the weekend, thanks to last Friday's (April 13) CBS special ACM Presents: Lionel Richie & Friends in Concert.

The all-star special earned 7.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen, and was the most-watched show of the night. The show was taped at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Monday, April 2 -- the day after the Academy of Country Music Awards aired live from the same venue. The academy traditionally records a special the day after its awards show, ensuring that a lot of talent is on hand for event. Richie & Friends follows 2011's Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women of Country, 2010's Brooks & Dunn -- The Last Rodeo and 2009's George Strait: ACM Artist of the Decade All-Star Concert.

It's not common for albums to actually climb up the chart and reach No. 1. Usually, albums that get to No. 1 do so by debuting there. Tuskegee bowed at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 three weeks ago with 199,000 -- Richie's best sales week since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. He was lodged behind the also-debuting MDNA by Madonna, which topped the list that week with 359,000. Last week, Tuskegee fell from No. 2 to No. 4 with 95,000 (down 52%).

The last album to rise to No. 1 was Michael Buble's Christmas, which debuted at No. 3 on the Nov. 12, 2011, tally and then hit No. 1 in its fifth week (Dec. 10). Before that, the last to take the slow route to the top was Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday on Feb. 19, 2011. It hit the top in its 11th week on the list, after debuting at No. 2 on Dec. 11, 2010.
 

Speaking of Minaj, her Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, falls from No. 1 to No. 3 this week with an unsurprising 68% decline (81,000). It's one of three top 10 arrivals from last week that drop by the usual 60-plus percent in their second frame. Rascal Flatts' Changed descends 3-9 with 41,000 (down 68%), and Marvin Sapp's I Win collapses 9-23 with 15,000 (down 66%).         

The highest debut on the Billboard 200 this week is Monica's New Life, which starts at No. 4 with 69,000. It's her fifth straight top 10 set. All of her releases, save for her 1995 debut, Miss Thang, have reached the upper tier. She hit No. 1 once, with 2003's After the Storm.

One Direction's Up All Night holds steady at No. 5 with 66,000 (down 28%) while Bonnie Raitt makes an eye-popping debut at No. 6 with Slipstream, selling 64,000. It's the veteran singer/songwriter's highest-charting album and best sales week in nearly two decades. She hasn't been in the top 10 since 1994, when Longing in Their Hearts spent seven weeks in the region, peaking at No. 1 on April 16. "Hearts" also posted her last largest sales frame. Each of its first five weeks on the tally all cleared more than 66,000 copies. (It debuted at No. 2 with 148,000, then reached No. 1 its second week with 146,000.)

Gotye's Making Mirrors returns to the top 10, flying 15-7 with 54,000 (up 111%) in the wake of the artist's performance on NBC's Saturday Night Live (April 14) and Glee's cover of his hit "Somebody That I Used to Know" (April 10). This is also the best sales week yet for the album, coming one week after it lodged its highest frame (26,000).     

On the Digital Songs chart, "Somebody That I Used to Know" jumps 2-1 with 542,000 downloads -- its first week at No. 1 and the fourth-best sales week ever for a digital song. It's also the best sales week of the year, surpassing the arrival of Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" (521,000).

Back on the Billboard 200, Alabama Shakes' "Boys & Girls" rises 16-8 with 43,000 (up 72%) after the physical and wide release of the album. It debuted last week as an iTunes-exclusive.

Rounding out the top 10 is rapper and singer/songwriter Hoodie Allen, whose debut EP, "All American," bows at No. 10 with 28,000. The former Google employee (born Steven Markowitz) released the track "You Are Not a Robot" in the summer of 2010 and quickly found viral success. His mixtape "Pep Rally" soon followed, as did another, "Leap Year."     

Over on the Digital Songs chart, fun.'s "We Are Young" (featuring Janelle Monae) slips one rung to No. 2 with 333,000 (down 15%) while One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" rises 4-3 with 267,000 (down 9%). Bieber's "Boyfriend" falls 3-4 (255,000; down 14%), Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" is up 6-5 (227,000; up 5%), and Minaj's "Starships" slips 5-6 (204,000; down 12%).

Flo Rida's "Wild Ones" (featuring Sia) is up 8-7 (187,000; down 6%), the Wanted's "Glad You Came" falls 7-8 (181,000; down 14%), and "Mercy" by Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz rises 15-9 (154,000; up 32%). Closing out the top 10 is a new entry from the Glee Cast, with its cover of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" at No. 10 (152,000).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending April 15) totaled 5.6 million units, down 12% compared with the sum last week (6.4 million) and down 11% compared with the comparable sales week of 2011 (6.3 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 89.8 million, down less than 1% compared with the same total at this point last year (90 million).     

Digital track sales this past week totaled 26.2 million downloads, down 10% compared with last week (29.1 million) and up 9% stacked next to the comparable week of 2011 (24.1 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 416.7 million, up 8% compared with the same total at this point last year (386.4 million).

Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: Adele's 21 jumped back to No. 1 with 153,000 (up 65%) while Glee, the Music Presents: The Warblers debuted at No. 2 with 86,000. The previous week's No. 1, Foo Fighters' Wasting Light, fell to No. 3 with 72,000 (down 69%).

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