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Paul McCartney achieved his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart in over 36 years, as his new studio effort, Egypt Station, bowed atop the list.
The set, which was released Sept. 7 via MPL/Capitol Records, launches with a larger-than-expected 153,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Sept. 13, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 147,000 were in traditional album sales.
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 are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Sept. 22-dated chart, on which Egypt Station debuts at No. 1, will be posted in full on Billboard‘s websites on Tuesday.
Of Egypt Station’s 153,000 units, the majority were powered by traditional album sales: 147,000 copies sold. The remainder was comprised of SEA units (5,000) and TEA units (1,000).
McCartney’s Eighth No. 1 Album: Egypt Station gives McCartney his eight No. 1 on the Billboard 200. He last led the list for three consecutive weeks in 1982 with Tug of War (on the May 29- through June 12-dated charts). McCartney’s tally of eight leaders includes his albums with Wings, some of which were credited to Paul McCartney & Wings (Red Rose Speedway; Band on the Run). Of course, McCartney was also a member of The Beatles, and they still own the record for the most No. 1s on the Billboard 200 with 19 chart-toppers. The Beatles last led the tally with the greatest-hits collection 1, which spent eight nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 in December 2000 through February 2001.
McCartney’s First Debut at No. 1: Egypt Station is Macca’s first album to bow at No. 1. He had previously logged a pair of No. 2-debuting sets with 1997’s Flaming Pie and 2001’s Wingspan: Hits and History. As an aside, The Beatles logged four No. 1 debuts, all with albums in the 1990s and 2000s: Anthology 1 (1995), Anthology 2 (1996) and Anthology 3 (1996) and 1 (2000). (It’s worth noting that before the chart began using Nielsen Music’s electronically tracked point-of-sale information in May 1991, only six albums debuted at No. 1.)
McCartney’s Biggest Sales Week in Over a Decade: As Egypt Station starts with 147,000 copies sold, it gives McCartney his largest sales week for an album in over 10 years. He last posted a larger sales frame when Memory Almost Full debuted at No. 3 with 161,000 copies sold on the chart dated June 23, 2007. Egypt Station’s launch was bolstered by sales from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer, as well as a number of merchandise/album bundle packages available on McCartney’s official website.
McCartney was in full-on promo mode during the album’s release week, though the campaign for the album really started with his Carpool Karaoke episode, which debuted June 21 during CBS’ The Late Late Show With James Corden. The 23-minute-long segment has been viewed more than 32 million times worldwide on YouTube. It was followed by an hourlong CBS special on Aug. 20 titled Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool, which included previously unreleased footage from their earlier karaoke shoot in June.
Around Egypt Station‘s release day, McCartney made stops on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show (Sept. 5), The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Sept. 6) and WTF With Marc Maron podcast (Sept. 6). He also partnered with YouTube for Live From NYC, a global live-stream performance from New York’s Grand Central Station on Sept. 7.
Egypt Station was led by its first single, “Come On to Me,” which became McCartney’s first top 10 hit on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart in over 20 years. The track has so far peaked at No. 6 (Sept. 1-dated chart).
A 36-Year Gap Between No. 1s: Egypt Station’s No. 1 arrival comes 36 years, 3 months and 10 days after Tug of War last led the list (June 12, 1982). That’s the longest gap between No. 1s for a living artist in the history of the Billboard 200 chart. The only act to have a longer wait between chart-toppers was Johnny Cash, who died Sept. 12, 2003. A little less than three years later, the posthumous release American V: A Hundred Highways bowed at No. 1 on the list dated July 22, 2006 — 36 years, 10 months and nine days after he was last atop the tally with Johnny Cash at San Quentin on Sept. 13, 1969.
No. 1s Spanning 48 Years: McCartney’s first No. 1 album came with his solo debut set McCartney, which topped the list dated May 23, 1970, and spent three weeks in a row at No. 1 (May 23 through June 6). Egypt Station ups McCartney’s span of No. 1s to 48 years, three months and 16 days. The longest span of No. 1s is owned by Barbra Streisand, with 51 years, nine months and 20 days between People in 1964 and Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway in 2016.
Back on the new Billboard 200 chart, Eminem’s Kamikaze slipped to No. 2 in its second chart week, earning 136,000 units (down 69 percent).
Lauren Daigle made a splashy debut at No. 3 with her new studio album, Look Up Child, earning the singer-songwriter her highest-charting album and first top 10.
Look Up Child, which also debuted at No. 1 on the Top Christian Albums chart, started with 115,000 equivalent album units. That’s the largest overall week for a Christian music album in 2018, and the biggest for any Christian set since the charts began ranking albums by equivalent album units in late 2014. Of Daigle’s unit start, 103,000 are in traditional album sales — the biggest sales week for a Christian album in nearly nine years. The last Christian set to sell more copies in a single week was Casting Crowns’ Until the Whole World Hears (167,000; Dec. 5, 2009-dated chart).
Look Up Child also logged the biggest sales week for a Christian album by a woman in over 20 years. The last larger sales frame for a Christian set by a woman was tallied by LeAnn Rimes’ You Light Up My Life — Inspirational Songs, which sold 117,000 copies over the Christmas holiday week in 1997 (reflected on the chart dated Jan. 17, 1998).
Look Up Child’s sales were enhanced by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer and merchandise/album bundles, though the set also sold handsomely through traditional retail stores.
Look Up Child is the highest-charting Christian music set (defined as a title that also charted on, or was eligible to chart on, the Top Christian Albums chart) since NEEDTOBREATHE’s HARDLOVE reached No. 2 on Aug. 6, 2016. Daigle has the highest-charting Christian album by a woman on the Billboard 200 since LeAnn Rimes’ You Light Up My Life ruled the chart for three nonconsecutive weeks in 1997 (Sept. 27, Oct. 18 and Nov. 1).
Daigle previously visited the Billboard 200 twice, with a pair of top 40-charting sets: Behold: A Christmas Collection (No. 29 in 2016) and How Can It Be (No. 28 in 2016).
Rapper Russ debuted at No. 4 with Zoo, entering with 79,000 units earned, of which 57,000 units were in traditional album sales — both figures representing high-water marks for the artist. Like McCartney and Daigle, Russ also profited from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer as well as merchandise/album bundle sales.
Zoo is Russ’ second top 10, following his first studio effort for Columbia Records, There’s Really a Wolf, which debuted and peaked at No. 7 with 49,000 units (24,000 in album sales) on the chart dated May 27, 2017.
Drake’s former No. 1 Scorpion fell from No. 3 to No. 5 in its 11th week on the list, earning 71,000 units (down 9 percent).
Mac Miller’s Swimming jumped back into the top 10, following Miller’s death on Sept. 7, as the album vaulted from No. 71 to No. 6 with 67,000 units (up 634 percent), of which 15,000 were in traditional album sales (up 874 percent). Swimming is Miller’s most recent studio release and debuted and peaked at No. 3 on the Aug. 18-dated chart.
Travis Scott’s Astroworld dipped from No. 2 to No. 7 with 66,000 units (down 18 percent), and Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys slipped from No. 6 to No. 8 with 48,000 units (down 5 percent).
Rap duo $uicideboy$ clocked the third and final debut in the top 10, as the act’s I Want to Die in New Orleans entered at No. 9 with 46,000 units (31,000 in traditional album sales). The album — the pair’s first visit to the Billboard 200 — got a sales boost from a variety of merchandise/album bundles.
Ariana Grande wrapped up the new top 10, as her Sweetener album descended from No. 5 to No. 10 with 44,000 units (down 21 percent).
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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