Eric Church replaces himself at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart — and scores back-to-back debuts atop the list –– as his new album Soul starts at No. 1. Soul replaces Church’s Heart, which debuted at No. 1 a week ago, down to No. 9.
Soul sold 42,000 copies in the U.S. in the week ending April 29, according to MRC Data. It’s Church’s fourth No. 1, following Heart, The Outsiders (in 2014) and Chief (2011).
The last act to have back-to-back No. 1 debuts in successive weeks was Future, when his self-titled album debuted at No. 1 on the March 11, 2017-dated chart and was followed a week later with another No. 1 debut, HNDRXX (March 18).
Heart was released on April 16 as the first of three new albums from Church, collectively referred to as Heart & Soul. The & album was released exclusively to members of Church’s Church Choir fan club, while the Soul album was released widely on April 23.
Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart ranks the top-selling albums of the week based only on traditional album sales. The chart’s history dates back to May 25, 1991, the first week Billboard began tabulating charts with electronically monitored piece count information from SoundScan, now MRC Data. Pure album sales were the measurement solely utilized by the Billboard 200 albums chart through the list dated Dec. 6, 2014, after which that chart switched to a methodology that blends album sales with track equivalent album units and streaming equivalent album units. The new May 8, 2021-dated chart (where Soul debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s website on May 4. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Of Soul’s debut sales of 42,000, physical album sales comprise nearly 27,000 of that figure (14,000 CDs and 13,000 vinyl LPs) while digital album sales comprise a little under 15,000.
As Soul starts at No. 1, Church’s fan club-exclusive & album bows at No. 3 with 11,000 sold. Not only was it exclusively sold to fan club members, but it was also available only to purchase on vinyl LP. Soul and & also launch at Nos. 1 and 2 on the Vinyl Albums chart. Meanwhile, the Heart album falls from No. 1 to No. 9 on Top Album Sales in its second week with nearly 8,000 sold (down 81%).
John Lennon’s 1970 studio album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band bows at No. 4 on Top Album Sales following the set’s lavish reissue and rerelease on April 23. The album sold 10,000 copies (up from a negligible sales figure the previous week) and was reissued in an array of configurations, ranging from a basic single-CD edition to an expansive six-CD/two-Blu-ray boxed set. The latter, which sells for over $100, is bolstered with over 100 new mixes of the album’s songs and additional tracks. All versions of the album are combined for sales tracking and charting purposes.
Though this is the first week for John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band on the nearly 30-year-old Top Album Sales chart, the set peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 in January of 1971. The album re-enters the latest Billboard 200 at No. 94, marking its first week on the list since 1981 (having re-entered that January following Lennon’s Dec. 8, 1980, murder).
Greta Van Fleet’s The Battle at Garden’s Gate falls 2-5 in its second week on Top Album Sales, with 9,000 sold (down 78%).
Dinosaur Jr. claims its highest charting album and first top 10 on Top Album Sales as the band’s new studio set Sweep It Into Space bows at No. 6 (nearly 9,000 sold). The group had previously gone as high as No. 24 with 2016’s Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not. The new album also marks the act’s best sales week since 2012, when I Bet on Sky bowed with 9,000 sold (Oct. 6, 2012-dated chart). Sweep also debuts at No. 1 on the Tastemaker Albums chart, which ranks the week’s top-selling albums at independent music stores. It sold nearly 5,000 copies through indie stores.
Taylor Swift’s former No. 1 Fearless (Taylor’s Version) falls 3-7 on Top Album Sales in its third week on the list, with a little over 8,000 sold (down 57%).
Another reissued classic album debuts in the top 10, as The Who’s 1967 release The Who Sell Out bows at No. 8 with 8,000 (up from essentially nothing sold in the previous week). Like the Lennon album, The Who Sell Out was reissued in a variety of permutations, including a five-CD super deluxe edition for over $100. The Who Sell Out peaked at No. 48 on the Billboard 200 in 1968, and the album re-enters the newest tally at No. 134 – its first week on the list since 1968.
As mentioned above, Church’s Heart falls 1-9 in its second week on Top Album Sales, with nearly 8,000 sold (down 81%).
Closing out the new top 10 is Kaleo’s new album Surface Sounds, bowing at No. 10 with a little over 7,000 sold. It’s the rock band’s first top 10 on the list, surpassing the No. 11 peak of A/B in 2016.