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The late, great Etta James makes a powerful impact on the Billboard charts this week, following her death on Jan. 20.
On the Billboard 200 chart, she nets her highest-charting album ever as The Best of Etta James – 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection rises from No. 162 to No. 46 with 8,000 sold (up 149 percent over the previous week), according to Nielsen SoundScan, in a tracking week that reflected only two days of sales after her passing. Until this week, the R&B/blues legend had never gone higher than No. 68, when At Last! rose to that position in 1961.
For the week ending Sunday, Jan. 22, James’ overall catalog of albums sold 30,000 copies. That marks a 378 percent increase over the previous week, when her collected albums moved just over 6,000 units.
James also debuts on the Billboard 200 at No. 59 with the 1997 hits collection Her Best (7,000; up 4,226 percent) and re-enters at No. 96 with the aforementioned At Last! (5,000; up 907 percent).
Her famed single “At Last” was her best-selling song of the week as well. It shifted 63,000 downloads, enabling its debut at No. 29 on the Digital Songs chart, with a weekly gain of 1,361 percent. “At Last” is one of James’ 26 charting hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart — it rose to a peak of No. 47 on Feb. 11, 1961. Though she’s had higher-charting Hot 100 singles, “At Last” is arguably her signature recording — even though she wasn’t the first to sing it.
For the week, James’ catalog of songs sold 118,000 downloads (more than half of that were “At Last’s” sales) — for an overall gain of 1,091 percent compared to last week.
Meanwhile, on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week, James’ voice continues to be heard on two different hits — by way of a sample.
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