A solid year for country music on the charts continues this week, as Lady Antebellum takes the top spot on the Billboard 200 album chart. The three-piece vocal group, perhaps best known for the crossover hit “Need You Now” and a slew of popular country singles, sold 167,000 copies of its fourth studio album, Golden, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The country trio succeeds Kenny Chesney from the top of the chart. His new effort, Life on a Rock, drops seven spots to No. 8 on the chart this week, moving 48,000 to bring the album’s overall numbers to over 200,000 sold.
According to Billboard, Golden actually sold better than initially expected, with initial estimates coming in at 150,000. The bump in sales could be due to the Mother’s Day weekend, often a boon for shopping particularly among a demographic that’s embraced Lady A.
Golden is Lady Antebellum’s third No. 1 on the chart and becomes its fourth No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart, meaning that all of its studio albums have gone to the top spot in some capacity. Own the Night, released in 2011, and 2010′s Need You Now also topped the Billboard 200, while the trio’s 2008 self-titled debut peaked at No. 4 but paced the country-specific album chart. However, Golden can’t exactly match the sales success of its predecessors. According to Billboard, Own the Night opened with 347,000 sold in its first week, while Need You Now sold a whopping 480,000.
Lady Antebellum becomes the fifth country act to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 2013, following Chesney, Luke Bryan, Gary Allan and Taylor Swift.
A soundtrack took the second spot on the chart, with the Jay-Z-helmed Great Gatsby soundtrack pulling in first-week sales of 137,000. It’s the highest debut sales week for a movie-inspired set since The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond moved 175,000 over a year ago.
The long-running Now compilation series took third, with NOW 46 selling 91,000. Another country act, the Miranda Lambert-led Pistol Annies, debuted at No. 4 with sales of 83,000 for the trio’s sophomore release, Annie Up.
Michael Buble’s To Be Loved dropped from No. 2 to No. 5 with 74,000 sold, while Justin Timberlake fell out of the top three for the first time since the release of The 20/20 Experience, dropping to No. 6 with album sales of 65,000.
The top 10 debut this week is Rod Stewart’s newest offering, Time, which bowed at No. 7 with 52,000 sold.
-Kevin Rutherford, Radio.com