Guess what, folks? For the first time in a month and a half, someone named Eminem does NOT have the week’s #1 album. Hard rock favorites Avenged Sevenfold nab the top spot on the Billboard charts with their new album “Nightmare”. 163,000 folks headed to record stores or their favorite online music outlet to purchase the band’s latest effort, putting them about 3,500 copies ahead of Eminem. “Recovery” holds strong at #2 with 157,000 copies sold. With the premiere of the “Love the Way You Lie” video this week, there’s a good chance that those numbers could go up and put him right at the doorstep of 2 million records sold, a feat that it took his last album a solid year to get to.
It’s yet another sleepy week elsewhere on the charts. You’d think that if record companies were so concerned about people not buying records, they’d put out some shit that was vaguely exciting, right? Three other albums debut in the Top 30 this week, starting with horrorcore-ish rapper Tech N9ne at #13 (how appropriate!). Apparently a few thousand folks still like Fat Joe, who checks in at #27, while reunited R&B quartet Dru Hill’s latest starts at #30.
The upper region of the chart remains pretty static this week, so…stealing a page from my friend Jason Hare, let’s take a look at an album chart from…25 years ago. What were Billboard’s Top 20 albums this week in 1985?
1) “Songs from the Big Chair” Tears for Fears
2) “Reckless” Bryan Adams
3) “No Jacket Required” Phil Collins
4) “Born in the U.S.A.” Bruce Springsteen
5) “Around the World in a Day” Prince & the Revolution
6) “The Dream of the Blue Turtles” Sting
7) “The Power Station” The Power Station
8) “Theatre of Pain” Motley Crue
9) “Invasion of Your Privacy” Ratt
10) “7 Wishes” Night Ranger
11) “Like a Virgin” Madonna
12) “Whitney Houston” Whitney Houston
13) “Beverly Hills Cop” Soundtrack
14) “Be Yourself Tonight” Eurythmics
15) “Brothers in Arms” Dire Straits
16) “Make it Big” Wham!
17) “Dream Into Action” Howard Jones
18) “Greatest Hits Vol 1 & 2” Billy Joel
19) “Vital Signs” Survivor
20) “Little Creatures” Talking Heads
A few things worth noting: first being that most of these artists or bands have held up very well over the years. Not a one-hit wonder among the bunch (unless you want to count The Power Station, and I don’t know that “supergroups” figure into that equation). 7 artists in the Top 20 are in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame today (and solid cases could be made for Motley Crue as well as Eurythmics/Annie Lennox), and (somewhat surprisingly) most of the artists listed here are still around and still somewhat viable (only Ratt’s Robbin Crosby and 2/4 of the Power Station are actually deceased). Classic albums? Hard to say. No album on this list is perfect, and most folks would say only “Born in the U.S.A.” is a must-have in anyone’s record collection (for what it’s worth, I own the entire Top 7 and 14 of the top 20), but the list is pretty solid. Doesn’t seem to be much of a comparison to a 2010-era Top 20, but let’s take a closer look.
1) “Nightmare” Avenged Sevenfold
2) “Recovery” Eminem
3) “Teflon Don” Rick Ross
4) “My World 2.0” Justin Bieber
5) “Thank Me Later” Drake
6) “Kidz Bop 18” Kidz Bop Kids
7) “Need You Now” Lady Antebellum
8) “100 Miles from Memphis” Sheryl Crow
9) “The Fame” Lady GaGa
10) “Now 34” Various Artists
11) “Foundation” Zac Brown Band
12) “Raymond v Raymond” Usher
13) “Gates Mixed Plate” Tech N9ne
14) “The E.N.D.” The Black Eyed Peas
15) “Jonas L.A.” Soundtrack
16) “To the Sea” Jack Johnson
17) “Mojo” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
18) “Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury” Jerrod Niemann
19) “Euphoria” Enrique Iglesias
20) “Live at the Troubadour” Carole King & James Taylor
Get rid of the one anonymous studio group (Kidz Bop Kids) and the two compilations. Petty, King and Taylor are already R&R HOF’ers, Eminem is a lock when he’s eligible, and I’d say Sheryl Crow will probably get in, too. Em, The Peas and Iglesias all have 10 years plus as commercially viable artists, Jack Johnson is closing in on the ten-year mark, and Usher and Sheryl Crow are actually closer to twenty years at this point (both artists debuted in 1993). There’s no one-hit wonder in the bunch (Niemann’s too new to tell), and it’s pretty safe to say that GaGa and the Zac Brown Band will be around for a while, as could Drake. As for Bieber? Well…stranger things have happened. Who thought we’d still be talking about the frizzy-haired kid from ‘Nsync 10 years later?
Certainly times change (hell, I only own 6 titles in this week’s Top 20), but if you’re wondering whether the top selling artists of today can compete with the top selling artists of yesteryear (at least when it comes to longevity), I think the comparison of these two charts offers concrete proof that they can.