'Tuskegee' is R&B vet's first album chart topper since mid-'80

Lifted by a top-rated CBS special, Lionel Richie’s “Tuskegee” bounces up to No. 1 in its third week on the U.S. album chart.

Collection reached the apex with a 129,000-unit sales week and a 35% gain, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures for the week ending April 15. “Lionel Richie & Friends in Concert,” which won the night for the Eye, aired last Friday.

The Mercury Nashville collection of duets with country stars, which entered at No. 2 two weeks ago, is Richie’s first chart-topping album since his ’80s heyday: He last appeared at the apex with “Dancing on the Ceiling,” which Motown released in July 1986.

“Tuskegee” was the only album to sell in excess of 100,000 units for the week.

Adele’s “21” (Columbia) held the No. 2 position with sales of 92,000 (off 40%), while last week’s No. 1 debut, Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” (Cash Money) slipped to No. 3, moving 81,000 in a 68% decline.

R&B star Monica logged her fifth top-10 album with “New Life” (RCA). The week’s top new entry, it debuted at No. 4 with a 69,000-copy bow.

Next two chart slots are a study in demographic contrast: Brit boy band One Direction’s “Up All Night” (Columbia) holds at No. 5 with 66,000 (off 28%), succeeded by vet singer-guitar slinger Bonnie Raitt’s “Slipstream” (Redwing), bowing at No. 6 with 64,000 sold

Raitt’s new collection, which benefited from pre-release support on NPR, is her first to reach the top 10 since “Longing in Their Hearts” hit No. 1 in 1994. Largely self-produced title is also her first independent release.

Another act received a TV boost this week: Gotye’s “Making Mirrors” (Universal Republic) bounded back into the top 10, reaching No. 7 with 54,000 sold (up 111%) behind a “Saturday Night Live” appearance and a “Glee” cover of his ubiquitous hit “Somebody That I Used to Know.”

Alabama Shakes’ “Boys & Girls” (ATO) rose to No. 8, moving 43,000 (up 72%). Debut album by the 2012 South By Southwest fest’s biggest buzz band edged onto the chart last week at No. 16 as an iTunes exclusive.

Swinging in behind country trio Rascal Flatts’ “Changed” (No. 9, 41,000 sold, down 68%), rapper Hoodie Allen’s EP “All American” moved in at No. 10 with a 28,000-unit debut.

Fresh titles by Train and Jason Mraz are the top contenders for next week’s chart.

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