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Tony Bennett Becomes Oldest Living Artist to Top Albums Chart

Tony Bennett Birthday - P 2011
Larry Busacca/Getty Images

“Duets II” is the crooner’s first album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Legendary pop singer Tony Bennett achieves his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with Duets II, making the 85-year-old the oldest living act to reach No. 1. His all-star collaborations album bows in the top slot with 179,000 sold in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

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The 14-time Grammy Award winner's previous high on the chart came in 2006, when his first Duets set debuted and peaked at No. 3 with 202,000. Bennett has been charting on Billboard's charts since 1951 and notched his first hit on the Billboard 200 six years later. Until today, the oldest living artist to top the Billboard 200 was Bob Dylan, whose Together Through Life debuted at No. 1 in 2009 when he was 67 years old.

Bennett's Duets II features 17 pairings with such stars as Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Carrie Underwood and the late Amy Winehouse. Last week, Bennett made news as the oldest living artist to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, when his duet with Winehouse, "Body and Soul," debuted at No. 87.

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Last week's No. 1 album, Lady Antebellum's Own the Night, falls to No. 2 with 125,000 (down 64%) while Adele's 21 also drops a spot to No. 3 with 117,000 (down 2%). Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV descends 3-5 in its fourth week with 84,000 (down 28%).

The second-highest debut this week belongs to Demi Lovato's third album, Unbroken, which opens at No. 4 with 96,000 sold. Her last release, 2009's Here We Go Again, opened at No. 1 with 108,000. Her first set, 2008's Don't Forget, debuted and peaked at No. 2 with 89,000.

Bennett and Lovato lead a total of six new arrivals in the top 10 this week. They are joined by rock act NeedToBreathe, Mindless Behavior, Gavin DeGraw and Pearl Jam.

NeedToBreathe's The Reckoning starts at No. 6 with 49,000 -- the band's first top 10, highest-charting set and best sales week. Its last release, 2009's The Outsiders, debuted and peaked at No. 20 with 21,000.

Some of the sales for The Reckoning can be attributed to two high-powered friends of the band: Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. The singers -- two of the top 10 most-followed people on Twitter -- tweeted about The Reckoning during release week: Bieber on Sept. 20 and Swift on Sept. 24. (Bieber has 12.9 million followers and Swift has 8.2 million.) It makes sense that Swift would alert her followers about NeedToBreathe, as the band has been opening for the singer on her Speak Now tour since it launched May 27.

R&B vocal group Mindless Behavior rides in at No. 7 with its debut album, #1 Girl, selling 36,000 copies in its first week. The teen quartet -- who ranks at No. 16 on Billboard.com's 21 Under 21 list -- will hit the road with the Scream tour, featuring Diggy and New Boyz, beginning Sept. 30 in Augusta, Ga.

DeGraw's Sweeter lands the singer/songwriter his second top 10 set as it starts at No. 8 with 34,000. His last release, 2009's Free, debuted and peaked at No. 19 (26,000) and spent just three weeks on the chart. His first top 10 came with his 2008 self-titled set, which bowed at No. 7 off a 66,000 start.

The final new entry in the top 10 is Pearl Jam, with its soundtrack to its Pearl Jam Twenty film, bowing at No. 10 with 27,000. The companion piece to the Cameron Crowe-directed documentary includes demo recordings, live tracks and rare cuts. It's the band's tenth top 10 album. Pearl Jam is one slot behind the final holdover in the top 10: Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne, which holds at No. 9 with 31,000.

Moving over to the Digital Songs chart, Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" (featuring Christina Aguilera) holds at No. 1 with 233,000 downloads sold (up 5%). Nos. 2 and 3 on the tally are also stationary: Adele's "Someone Like You" at No. 2 with 201,000 (up 1%), and Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" at No. 3 with 177,000 (down 5%).

A pair of acts claim double top 10 honors this week, as both LMFAO and Rihanna occupy two slots each in the region.

LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" rises 5-4 (149,000; up 4%) while its new single, "Sexy and I Know It," flies 15-6 (139,000; up 97%) as its racy music video continues to make waves.

Rihanna's new single, "We Found Love" (featuring Calvin Harris), debuts at No. 7 with 117,000 after only four days of sales. The single was released Sept. 22, while the chart tracking week ended Sunday, Sept. 25. "Found" is the first single from Rihanna's sixth studio album, due later this year. Meanwhile, "Cheers (Drink to That)," the final single from her previous album, "Loud," slips 9-10 with 114,000 (down 5%).

Gym Class Heroes' "Stereo Hearts" (featuring Adam Levine) falls 4-5 (140,000; down 3%), David Guetta's "Without You" (featuring Usher) climbs 10-8 (116,000; up 12%), and Lady Gaga's "You and I" slips 8-9 (114,000; down 6%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Sept. 25) totaled 5.3 million units, down 5% compared with the sum last week (5.6 million) and up 5% compared with the comparable sales week of 2010 (5 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 222.9 million, up 3% compared with the same total at this point last year (215.8 million). It is the 18th week in a row where year-to-date album volume is greater than the same time in the prior year.

Digital track sales this past week totaled 20.8 million downloads, down 1% compared with last week (21 million) and up 8% stacked next to the comparable week of 2010 (19.18 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 931.4 million, up 11% compared with the same total at this point last year (840.9 million).

Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2010 when: Kenny Chesney's Hemmingway's Whiskey debuted at No. 1 with 183,000 and Lil Wayne's I Am Not a Human Being bowed at No. 2 off a digital-only sales start of 110,000. The previous week's leader, Zac Brown Band's You Get What You Give, slipped to No. 3 with 70,000 (down 54%).