On the Charts: Adele Returns to a Familiar Perch

'21' is back at Number One, for a total of 12 weeks on top

August 10, 2011 3:50 PM ET

WINNER OF THE WEEK: Consistency, as Adele's 21 returns to Number One on Billboard's albums chart. Even though it sold just 76,000 copies, a drop of eight percent this week, the singer nonetheless has spent 12 weeks at the top – the most since Santana's Supernatural in 1999 and 2000. Meanwhile, on both Billboard's digital-singles chart and BigChampagne's Ultimate Chart, dance-pop duo LMFAO has been Number One for the past seven weeks, selling 185,000 copies this week (also an eight percent drop). Why so little fluctuation on the charts so far this year? Could be simple: Adele is just a great album artist (although her single "Rolling in the Deep" is at Number Eight on BigChampagne and Number Six on Billboard, indicating she's big on the Internet and among people who actually buy stuff rather than just listening to it repeatedly for free); and LMFAO makes great party singles. It could also be that radio playlists are narrowing even further than usual – there's the new Portable People Meter, which surveys listeners and determines ratings in a way that seems to reward familiar hits (not to mention giant media companies such as Clear Channel controlling the airwaves and streamlining song selection). More than ever, success begets success, and only a select few rookies get to break into the big leagues.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Anybody hoping to hit Number One on the charts next week, when the Jay-Z/Kanye West collaboration Watch the Throne kicks in. It hit Number One on iTunes, a week after hitting Number Four when it wasn't even out yet. That indicates huge demand, and Billboard predicts it will sell 500,000 in its first week – perhaps breaking iTunes' one-week album-sales record set by Coldplay's 2008 album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, which sold 282,000 copies. On the most recent Ultimate Chart, which measures online-focused criteria such as YouTube views and Facebook likes, the album's first single, Otis Redding-sampling "Otis," jumped 72 spots, from Number 82 to Number 10; on Billboard's singles chart it jumped from Number 47 to Number 12; on iTunes, weirdly, it dropped out of the Top 10 after hitting Number Seven last week.
IN DRAKE'S ROOM: Internet phenomenon of the week is Drake's "Marvin's Room," which came out in early June to more or less tepid reaction, but has surged in the past two weeks, from Number 87 to Number 16 on the Ultimate Chart and from Number 68 to Number 21 on Billboard's singles chart. Why? The main boost seems to have come from a variety of remixes by popular stars and producers. The video is up to 9.7 million YouTube views (not counting an unofficial audio-only post that adds 14.4 million), while Chris Brown's remix is at 2.7 million and JoJo's recently hit 7.9 million. It's going viral, for sure, so watch this track for a potential surge into the Top 10 next week.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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