Bette Midler has officially scored the highest charting non-soundtrack album of her career as It’s the Girls! debuts at number 3. Only the soundtrack to Beaches, which contains a number of Midler songs, has done better, going to number 2.
Midler’s previous best was shared by 1973’s Bette Midler and 1990’s Some People’s Life, both of which peaked at 6.
The next highest charting album by a veteran artist goes to Barbra Streisand whose Partners returns to the top ten, jumping 11 to 7. The album is one of the few to go Gold this year and has been in the top ten for seven of its eight weeks in release.
The Doobie Brothers have their highest charting album in 34 years as Southbound, re-recordings of many of their hits in duets with country artists, debuts at 16. The last time they were that high on the Albums chart was in 1980 with Cycles, which went to number 3.
In the opposite direction, Neil Young has the worst showing for a studio album in 25 years with a number 33 start for Storytone. You have to go back seventeen studio albums to find one that peaked that low on the charts when 1989’s Freedom went to number 35.
Bob Dylan’s The Basement Tapes Raw: The Bootleg Series Volume 11, the two disc version of the new album, premiers at 41 while The Basement Tapes Complete, the six-CD version, starts at 42. Only Volume 5 in the series, Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Review, has done worse, topping out at 56.
Paul McCartney and Wings‘ deluxe versions of their albums Venus and Mars and Wings at the Speed of Sound debut at 31 and 45, respectively.
Veteran Christian group, newsboys, start at 79 with Hallelujah for the Cross, the twelfth top 100 album of their career.
The Rolling Stones debut at 120 with From the Vault: Hampton Coliseum (Live in 1981). Although low, that is better than the last two archive concerts that the group released. Neither Some Girls: Live in Texas ’78 or Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago 1981 made the top 200.
Ani DiFranco premiers at 155 with Allergic to Water. That is exceedingly low for the singer whose last album, Which Side Are You On?, went to 26. Every one of her eleven studio albums released since 1996’s Dilate has made 89 or higher.
Mannheim Steamroller, who turns up every year at this time on the charts, start at 157 with 30/40, rounding out the debuts by veteran artists on this week’s chart.
The top five albums:
1989 – Taylor Swift
Now 52 – Various Artists
It’s the Girls! – Bette Midler
Old Boots, New Dirt – Jason Aldean
Motion – Calvin Harris
The top five singles:
Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
All About That Bass – Meaghan Trainor
Animals – Maroon 5
Habits (Stay High) – Tove Lo
Bang Bang – Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj
Veteran artists at the top of other Billboard charts:
Bluegrass Albums – Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn – Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn
Jazz Albums – Cheek to Cheek – Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
Catalog Albums – Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin
Tastemaker Albums – The Basement Tapes Raw: The Bootleg Series, Volume 11 – Bob Dylan and the Band
Rock Airplay – Something For Nothing – Foo Fighters
Adult Alternative Songs – The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) – U2
Mainstream Rock Songs – Something For Nothing – Foo Fighters
Smooth Jazz Songs – Head Over Heals – Peter White