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On the Charts: David Bowie and Bon Jovi Debut Strong

Justin Timberlake already Number One on iTunes as pre-order

David Bowie
Jimmy King
March 20, 2013 12:25 PM ET

WINNER OF THE WEEK: David Bowie. Yes, technically, Bon Jovi's What About Now is Number One (95,000 copies sold) and Bowie's The Next Day (85,000) is Number Two. But be honest – given the choice, would you rather write 174 words about Bon Jovi or Bowie? Besides, Bowie beats Bon Jovi on the iTunes album chart – Number Four to Number Five (both surrendering to Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience pre-order, Luke Bryan's Spring Break . . . Here to Party and Imagine Dragons' Night Visions). The Thin White Duke's first album since 2003 gets him into the Top 10 for the first time since Let's Dance in 1983. It's mildly impressive in that Bowie did relatively little marketing for the new album, other than releasing a surprise single, "Where Are We Now?," on January 8th, when nobody else was putting out music and fans were still bleary-eyed from New Year's hangovers and whatnot. If codger-rocker chart trends stay consistent, both Bowie and Bon Jovi are almost certain to drop by next week, so enjoy these surges while you can.

Video: David Bowie, 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)'

LOSER OF THE WEEK: Jimi Hendrix. In a week of classic-rock winners, including Eric Clapton, whose Old Sock made its debut on the albums chart at Number Seven, with 37,000, the Undead Hendrix takes a perhaps unexpected tumble after a slow-week Number One. (Speaking of Clapton – Old Sock? That's the name of your album? Evocative! Although the follow-up title, Gas-Station Urinal, is more likely to appeal to the Katy Perry crowd.) The news here isn't so much about Hendrix, although it's a bummer that a nice combing-the-vaults release like People, Hell & Angels had to drop 58 percent in sales, with just 30,000, and plummet to Number 10. It's that new releases, at the end of a slow first quarter, are finally starting to come back – not only Timberlake but, in coming weeks, Lil Wayne, Eric Church, Paramore, Snoop Lion and Fall Out Boy.

BOLD PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience hits Number One next week. As mentioned, it's already at Number One on iTunes as a pre-order, and while "Suit & Tie" has been out since January, it gained strength at radio, hit Number Four on iTunes' Top Songs and jumped from Number Five to Number Four on Billboard's Digital Songs chart, selling 201,000, an increase of 33 percent. It helps, of course, that Timberlake has a comedy gear, and can host Saturday Night Live and reprise rap history with Jimmy Fallon, rather than just spewing out new songs on TV.

LAST WEEK: Jimi Hendrix Earns Highest Chart Debut Since 1969

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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