News Segment


June 20, 2004

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) – It has been a full year since a rock band stood at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart (Metallica’s “St. Anger” in the week ended June 8, 2003). Suddenly, rock bands own half of the top 10, with supergroup Velvet Revolver leading the charge in the week ended June 13.

The band, which contains three former Guns N’ Roses members and one Stone Temple Pilots alumnus, delivers an echo of those earlier groups’ chart histories, as Velvet Revolver draws first-week sales of 256,000, a higher sum than was hinted by its opening-day numbers.

The total by Scott Weiland, Slash and crew beats the best week of either former band’s last studio album: STP’s 98,000-unit start in 2003 or Guns’ 190,000 copies in 1993. The start for Revolver’s “Contraband” also tops STP’s best week but falls shy of Guns’ glory days.

Guns blew through 1.4 million copies in one week in 1991 when its simultaneously released “Use Your Illusion” albums bowed in the chart’s first two slots, with “Use Your Illusion II” piling up 770,000 of those. STP’s biggest sum came in 1994, when sophomore effort “Purple” bowed at No. 1 with 252,000 sold.

The top 50 reveals career-best ranks for PJ Harvey (No. 29, 34,000 copies) and Bad Religion (No. 40, 27,000). Harvey, who played “Late Show With David Letterman” during this album’s release week, had previously peaked at No. 42, while Bad Religion’s high was No. 49.

A best-of by 311 enters at No. 7. That matches the rank of its last album, “Evolver,” although at 87,000 copies, that 2003 set sold almost 24,000 more in its first week than this one does.

“Vans Warped 2004 Tour Compilation” begins at No. 8, by far the best showing of samplers culled from that concert series (61,000). The 2002 “Vans Warped” album peaked at No. 55, while the one from last year’s tour entered at No. 21. The Early November, Simple Plan and Bad Religion are among the acts on this year’s edition.

Almost 32% of the “Vans Warped” sales came from a bundling with ticket sales. But unlike the current Prince deal, the consumer had the option to forgo the CD.

And don’t get the idea that label Side One Dummy got inspired by all the recent yammering about Prince’s “Musicology,” because about 37% of opening-week sales for last year’s edition were also tied to ticket sales.

Two incumbents also represent rock in the top 10, with Hoobastank holding at No. 6 (down 13%) and Slipknot slipping to No. 10 (down 31%). Another band looks like it might be there in a minute, as Los Lonely Boys rack up their eighth consecutive increase.

This time, the Boys garner the largest unit growth on the chart, good for a 23-13 jump and the Greatest Gainer award. Steady boosts in radio spins for “Heaven” from more than one format; plays on VH1, CMT and GAC; the recent Willie Nelson special on USA Network; and Bob Costas’ HBO show “On the Record” have kept fanning Los Lonely Boys’ flame.

Geoff Mayfield courtesy of Billboard