On the Charts: James Taylor Scores First Number One
Forty-seven years after his debut album, James Taylor has finally scored his first Number One record on the Billboard 200. The singer’s latest, Before This World, sold 97,000 copies in its debut week, giving the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee his first ever chart-topping album. In addition to being Taylor’s first collection of new music in 13 years, the surprise Number One was also aided by a vigorous promotional campaign by SiriusXM, who dedicated a channel to the singer and hosted a Town Hall with Taylor prior to Before This World‘s arrival.
Taylor had previously flirted with the Top Ten with nearly a dozen of his LPs, most notably 1970’s Sweet Baby James (Number Three) and, more recently, 2002’s October Road and 2008’s Covers (both reached Number Four). However, Before This World hitting the top spot marks the second-longest wait between a Billboard 200 debut and a chart-topping album, Billboard reports. Only Tony Bennett, who waited 54 years – from 1957’s Tony to the Number One album Duets II in 2011 – experienced a longer Number One holdout than Taylor. (Billboard doesn’t acknowledge Taylor’s 1968 self-titled debut in the equation since it never charted.)
According to Billboard, with his newly minted Number One, Taylor also exits an exclusive, but unfortunate, club of artists who have over 10 Top Ten albums yet never netted a Number One. The “Never Number One” crew includes Sting, the Who and Rush, who waited nearly as long for a Rolling Stone cover as Taylor waited for a chart-topping LP.
It was a Taylor-Taylor one-two punch on the charts as, despite briefly declaring war against Apple, Taylor Swift’s 1989 once again finished the week at Number Two on the strength of her “Bad Blood” single and reluctance to stream her smash album. Former American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert’s The Original High debuted at Number Three while Ed Sheeran’s X was bumped back into the Top Five at Number Four. Hilary Duff’s Breathe In. Breathe Out., the pop singer’s first album in eight years, entered at Number Five with 39,000 total albums sold.
Last week’s Number One, Muse’s Drones, dropped out of the Top Ten.