Tony Bennett scores first No. 1 album

85-year-old's 'Duets II' tops chart

Tony Bennett, in his 61st year as a recording artist, proved his timelessness last week as his “Duets II” became the pop vocalist’s first No. 1 album.

The 85-year-old singer’s all-star Columbia set bowed at the top of the U.S. album chart with 179,000 copies shifted, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ended Sept. 25. Sales were undoubtedly heated by widespread airing of Bennett’s “Body and Soul” video with Amy Winehouse, the late British singer’s last recorded performance.

Bennett’s previous personal best was “Duets: An American Classic,” which debuted at No. 3 in 2006 with a 202,000-unit week. In his ’60s heyday, Bennett peaked with his “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” album, which hit No. 5 in 1962.

Historically, “Duets II” outpositions a couple of other celebrity singoffs — Frank Sinatra’s 1993 “Duets,” which topped out at No. 2, and its No. 9 successor of 1994. Only similar recent project to reach the top slot was Ray Charles’ posthumous “Genius Loves Company” (2004), which debuted at No. 2 and finally reached No. 1 in March 2005 after its multiple-Grammy triumph.

Week’s other top five debut was Demi Lovato’s “Unbroken” (Hollywood). Teen Disney star’s third set launched at No. 4, just missing the six-figure mark with 96,000. Her previous album, “Here We Go Again,” debuted at No. 1 two years ago.

After just a one-week reign, country threesome Lady Antebellum’s “Own the Night” (Capitol Nashville) fell to No. 2, down 64% with 125,000 sold. Adele’s still-puissant “21” (Columbia) dipped one position to No. 3, losing just 2% and selling 117,000. Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter IV” (Cash Money) dropped two posts to No. 5 with sales of 84,000 (off 28%).

Four other acts made comparatively mild top-10 debuts this week.

Needtobreathe’s “The Reckoning” (Atlantic) moved in at No. 6 with 49,000 sold out of the box. Christian rock band, which has moved no higher than No. 20 on the chart in three previous tries, has been opening for Taylor Swift.

Young R&B boy band Mindless Behavior made its first album chart appearance with “#1 Girl” (Interscope). L.A. act’s debut set reached No. 7 with a 36,000-unit stanza.

Soulful vocalist Gavin DeGraw’s “Sweeter” (RCA) took the No. 8 slot with a 34,000-unit opening. Singer received the sort of pre-release publicity no one wants when he was assaulted in New York’s East Village in August.

Pearl Jam’s “Twenty” (Columbia), the soundtrack for Cameron Crowe’s docu about the Seattle band, arrived at No. 10 with 27,000. It slipped into the top 10 just behind Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Watch the Throne,” holding its No. 9 position with 31,000 (down 14%).

Headed for the chart in the coming week are fresh albums by J Cole, Blink-182, Wilco and Switchfoot.

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