Chart Moves: 'Newsies' Cast Album Debuts, 'MTV Unplugged' Returns, and a Video Game Soundtrack Sizzles
The Billboard 200:
This week on the Billboard 200, Lionel Richie claimed his third No. 1 album with the rise of "Tuskegee" (129,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, up 35%). He might even stick around for a second week on the list if he can fight off Jason Mraz's new album, "Love is a Four Letter Word." Both sets could sell around 100,000 by week's end on April 22, industry sources say.
Lionel Richie's 'Tuskegee' Album Hits No. 1 On Billboard 200
However, let's look at some of the movers and shakers farther down this week's list:
-- Original Broadway Cast of "Newsies": The original Broadway cast recording of Disney's "Newsies" makes headlines, debuting at No. 74 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on Cast Albums with 6,000 copies sold. Presently, it's a digital-exclusive set until the physical version arrives May 15.
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"Newsies" marks the highest-charting cast album on the Billboard 200 since "The Book of Mormon" reached the top 10 on June 25, 2011. "Mormon" re-entered the tally at No. 3 on June 25, 2011, with 61,000 sold (up 2,116%) following the show's nine Tony Award wins. It's the highest-charting Broadway cast album -- and first top 10 -- since 1969, when "Hair" spent 13 straight weeks at No. 1.
"Newsies" is based on the flop 1992 musical film (it grossed just $2.8 million in the U.S. and Canada), which starred a young Christian Bale as Jack Kelly. In the new stage production, Kelly is played by buzzed-about leading man Jeremy Jordan (not to be confused with the 1990s pop singer of "The Right Kind of Love"). Jordan recently appeared on the big screen, co-starring with Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah in "Joyful Noise."
-- Florence + the Machine: The act's "MTV Unplugged" debuts at No. 51 on the Billboard 200, marking the acoustic franchise's best showing since 2007. That year, Korn's "MTV Unplugged" debuted at No. 9 (March 24) and spent three weeks in the top 50. The first charting MTV concert set to sport the word "unplugged" in its title was Paul McCartney's "Unplugged -- The Official Bootleg" on June 22, 1991.
-- James Durbin: After the former "American Idol" contestant returned to the Fox TV show's stage on April 12, performing "Higher Than Heaven," his album "Memories of a Beautiful Disaster" re-enters with 6,000 at No. 72 (a 520% gain). "Higher" moves 5,000 downloads, up from basically nothing the previous week.
-- "Journey" Soundtrack: As the soundtrack to the video game "Journey" debuts at No. 116 on the Billboard 200 chart, it marks the second-highest charting video game soundtrack ever. The effort, composed by Austin Wintory, is second only to the No. 107 peak of 2007's "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock -- Companion Pack." Game soundtracks rarely dent the big chart, though four different "Halo" efforts have reached the list. Over on the Top Soundtracks chart, "Journey" -- which sold 4,000 copies last week -- debuts at No. 8. … Developed by thatgamecompany for the PlayStation Network, the "Journey" game is exclusive to the PlayStation 3 and was released on March 13.
-- Guns N' Roses: Perhaps frontman Axl Rose's decision not to attend the band's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 14, along with the ceremony itself, helped goose sales of their classic debut album in 1987. "Appetite for Destruction's" sales are up by 76% this week; it re-enters at No. 193.