On the Charts: The Beach Boys' Best Debut Ever - Rolling Stone
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On the Charts: The Beach Boys’ Best Debut Ever

Plus: Phillip Phillips is no Kelly Clarkson

The Beach BoysThe Beach Boys

The Beach Boys

Robert Matheu

WINNER OF THE WEEK: The Beach Boys. Unbelievably, That’s Why God Made the Radio is the first Beach Boys album to debut in the Top 10. It sold 61,000 copies and finished at Number Three, behind Adele’s resurgent 21 (75,000 copies) and country veteran Alan Jackson’s new Thirty Miles West (73,000 copies). How did it happen after 50 years? The obvious answer is that the Boys have always been a singles band – only in the last few decades have their Sixties albums like Pet Sounds and Good Vibrations been remembered as classics. Also, albums-wise, they’re slow starters. Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!!) eventually rose to Number Two in 1965, and Endless Summer, a greatest hits collection, went to Number One in 1974.

LOSER OF THE WEEK: Chart consistency. With few exceptions, the weekly iTunes albums chart tends to parallel the Billboard 200 albums chart. This week is a weird outlier, and we have no official explanation. The Beach Boys are nowhere to be found on iTunes’ Top 10, while Alan Jackson is down at Number Nine. Neil Young, whose Americana LP sold 44,000 copies and hit Number Four on the Billboard chart, isn’t on the iTunes chart either. On the flipside, Big K.R.I.T.’s Live from the Underground is at Number Two on iTunes and Number Five on Billboard (with 41,000 copies sold), while John Mayer’s Born and Raised holds at Number One on iTunes but drops to Number Seven overall, selling 39,000 copies for a decrease of 41 percent. More proof that older rockers sell mostly CDs, while young hipsters like Mayer (he was dissed by Taylor Swift, OK?) and K.R.I.T. are big with the YouTube-iTunes crowd.

PROBABLY NOT THE NEXT KELLY CLARKSON: With this season’s “American Idol” receding into TV history, winner Phillip Phillips’ easygoing rock single “Home” has dropped out of the Billboard Top 10 and fallen eight slots (it’s now Number 11) on BigChampagne’s Ultimate Chart, which measures online criteria. We doubt Phillips cares. We spoke with him last week by phone as he was prepping for the American Idols Live! tour, and he envisioned his upcoming album as “jazz kind of rock stuff” – not an obvious formula for chart success. “I know what kind of music I want to put out. I’m really passionate about it, and I know what kind of artist I am,” he said. “They [Interscope Records, his label] seem really respectful about it. They know I’m going to stick to my guns.”

LAST WEEK: Prepare for the Summer of Bieber


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