Susan Boyle debuts at No. 1
Lady Gaga's 'Fame Monster' bows at No. 5Want to win a bet a few years from now? Hit 'em with this: Whose album had the biggest sales week in 2009?
Educated guessers might name Eminem, U2, Jay-Z or Dave Matthews Band. Nope, you'll say, but thanks for playing our game.
It's Susan Boyle -- yes, that Susan Boyle, the YouTube phenomenon most people thought had seen her 15 minutes. But one look at the numbers for her album "I Dreamed a Dream" make that thought obsolete.
The "Britain's Got Talent" runner-up moved 701,000 units in the U.S., the biggest week for any album since AC/DC's "Black Ice" bowed with 784,000 in October 2008. It's also the best opening week for a female artist's debut album since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991 -- topping the 503,000 for Ashanti's self-titled effort in 2002 -- and the second-biggest for any debut behind then-Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Doggystyle" in 1993.
Boyle's eye-popping bow aside, it was quite the busy Thanksgiving week for music shoppers as every record in the top 10 moved at least 100,000 units.
Andrea Bocelli's "My Christmas" holds at No. 2 with 218,000 scanned, followed by two debuts: "American Idol" champ Adam Lambert's rookie album, "For Your Entertainment" (No. 3, 198,000), and Rihanna's "Rated R" (No. 4, 181,000), her fourth disc and first since the Grammy night incident with then-boyfriend Chris Brown.
There are a couple of rarities in the top 10 this week: two EPs and two versions of the same record. Lady Gaga's new eight-song set "The Fame Monster" bows at No. 5 with 174,000, while her first album, "The Fame," rises to No. 6 (151,000, up 429% and 28 slots). The total for the original "Fame" jumps this week because it combines sales of Gaga's debut set with a two-disc deluxe "The Fame" package contains both "The Fame" and the new "Monster" disc.
Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus' Wal-Mart exclusive EP "The Time of Our Lives" vaults 22 rungs to No. 7 with 150,000, up 385% thanks in part to its $5 sale tag at the retailer last week.
Nine of the top 10 slots are held by solo women, as Taylor Swift's "Fearless" (No. 8, 125,000), Carrie Underwood's "Play On" (No. 9, 124,000) and Norah Jones' "The Fall" (No. 10, 110,000) round out the top tier.
Overall album sales were 10.7 million units, up 34% from last week's chart but off 12% for the same week in 2008.
Billboard analyst Keith Caulfield contributed to this report.