Bruce Springsteen Becomes First Act With Top 5-Charting Albums in Each of Last 6 Decades

Springsteen - Publicity - H 2019
Kevin Mazur

Letter to You is Springsteen’s 20th studio effort.

As Bruce Springsteen’s new album Letter to You debuts at No. 2 on the new Billboard 200 chart, he becomes the first act with new top five-charting albums in each of the last six decades (1970s, ‘80s, ‘90s, ‘00s, ‘10s and the ‘20s). Letter to You is Springsteen’s 20th studio effort. Further, Letter to You is the top selling album of the week, debuts at No. 1 on the Album Sales chart and launches with Springsteen’s biggest sales week for any album since 2014.

Letter to You bows with 96,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Oct. 29, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data, marking Springsteen’s largest week, in terms of units, since the Billboard 200 began measuring in consumption units in December 2014. Of that sum, 92,000 comprise album sales, 4,000 comprise SEA units (totaling 5.37 million on-demand streams of the set’s songs) and less than 1,000 comprise TEA units.

Letter to You’s sales start of 92,000 is Springsteen’s best sales week since High Hopes debuted with 99,000 copies sold on the chart dated Feb. 1, 2014.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new Nov. 7-dated chart (where Letter to You debuts at No. 2) will be posted in full on Billboard's website on Nov. 3. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.

All told, Letter to You is Springsteen’s 21st top 10 and top five-charting album on the Billboard 200. (All 21 of his top 10 efforts also reached the top five.)

Springsteen logged two top five sets in the 1970s (Born to Run, No. 3 in 1975 and Darkness on the Edge of Town, No. 5 in 1978), five in the ‘80s (The River, No. 1 in 1980; Nebraska, No. 3 in 1982; Born in the U.S.A., No. 1 in 1984; the live album Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 1975-1985, No. 1 in 1986; and Tunnel of Love, No. 1 in 1987), three in the 1990s (Human Touch, No. 2 in 1992; Lucky Town, No. 3 in 1992; and Greatest Hits, No. 1 in 1995), six in the ‘00s (Live in New York City, No. 5 in 2001; The Rising, No. 1 in 2002; Devils & Dust, No. 1 in 2005; We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, No. 3 in 2006; Magic, No. 1 in 2007; and Working On a Dream, No. 1 in 2009), four in the ‘10s (Wrecking Ball, No. 1 in 2012; High Hopes, No. 1 in 2014; Chapter and Verse, No. 5 in 2016; and Western Stars, No. 2 in 2019) and now one in the ‘20s (Letter to You, No. 2 in 2020).

Letter to You sold well on vinyl, with 18,000 of its sales coming from the format -- the second-largest sales week for a vinyl album in 2020 (trailing only the debut week of Tame Impala’s The Slow Rush, with 26,000 sold; chart dated Feb. 29). Letter to You was also a hot seller with independent record stores, as it moved 16,000 of its total 92,000 via indie stores.

Letter to You launches at No. 1 both the Vinyl Albums and Tastemaker Albums charts. The latter list ranks the top selling albums of the week at indie and small chain record stores. Letter to You was led by its title track, which has risen to No. 2 on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart (through the most recently published chart dated Oct. 31).

This story first appeared on Billboard.com