×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

James Taylor Finally Hits No. 1 on U.S. Album Chart

Sweet, Baby James! Singer-songwriter hero James Taylor has scored his first No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with “Before This World” after nearly half of a century in the music business. Taylor’s latest effort moved 97,000 copies in the week ending June 21, according to data from Nielsen Music.

In the 45 years since Taylor’s breakout record — “Sweet Baby James” was released in March of 1970 — 11 of Taylor’s albums have made it into the top 10 without ever making it to first place. According to Billboard, the only artist to achieve a No. 1 later into his career than Taylor is Tony Bennett, whose “Duets II” claimed the top spot in 2011, a mere 54 years after the 1957 debut of “Tony.”

Taylor’s milestone is a win for aging musicians. His album debuted in the same frame as new releases from three young solo artists — Adam Lambert, Hilary Duff and Nate Ruess, all under age 35 — and left them all in the dust.

Adam Lambert’s “Original High” moved 47,000 units, good for a third-place finish. The former “American Idol” contestant has enjoyed something of a resurgence with the success of the album’s lead single, “Ghost Town.”

Hilary Duff’s “Breathe in Breathe Out” finished at No. 5, moving 39,000 units. Duff’s latest cuts offer a mature take on the pop territory she famously explored on 2003’s “Metamorphosis,” which reached No. 1.

The fourth new release of the week came from former fun. frontman Nate Ruess. The singer’s “Grand Romantic,” his solo debut, finished at No. 7, having moved 31,000 units. The comparisons to Ruess’ former bandmate Jack Antonoff and his “Bleachers” (which debuted at No. 11 last year) are inevitable.

Apparently the top 10 can accommodate more than one Taylor. Taylor Swift — who, according to Swifty legend, was named after James Taylor — finished at No. 2 for the fifth week running. Sales for Swift’s “1989” were down 11% with 57,000 units moved.

Ed Sheeran’s “X” finished in fourth place, demonstrating remarkable staying power — the album dropped more than a year ago on June 20, 2014. Thanks to a well-publicized hosting stint at the Much Music Video Awards, Sheeran’s sales were up 17%, with “X” moving 39,000 units.

Country artist Sam Hunt’s “Montevallo” continues its slow climb up the chart, this time finishing at No. 6 with 32,000 units moved.

The lower portion of the top 10 is occupied by recent stand-bys. Meghan Trainor’s “Title” nabbed No. 8 with 27,000 units on the week, holding steady from the previous week. Maroon 5 was down 5%, reaching ninth place with “V” moving 27,000 units. Tenth place was claimed by Mumford & Sons, whose “Wilder Mind” was up 29%, leaping back into the top 10 after dwelling in the low teens for a few weeks.

More Music

  • Bette Midler12th Annual God's Love We

    Bette Midler to Perform on the Oscars (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at the Oscar ceremonies on Feb. 24, Variety has learned. Midler, a longtime friend of composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman, will sing the song originally performed by Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns.” The song, by Shaiman and his lyricist partner Scott Wittman, is one of five [...]

  • Kacey Musgraves, winner of the awards

    Kacey Musgraves to Present at the Oscars

    Hot off her album of the year award at last weekend’s Grammys, Kacey Musgraves has been tapped to present at the Oscars on Feb. 24, Variety has learned. She joins previously announced presenters Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Awkwafina, Daniel Craig, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Amandla Stenberg, Charlize Theron, Tessa Thompson, [...]

  • Olmo Teodoro Cuaron, Alfonso Cuaron and

    Alfonso Cuarón Tells Why His Scoreless 'Roma' Prompted an 'Inspired' Companion Album

    Back around the ‘90s, “music inspired by the film” albums got a bad name, as buyers tired of collections full of random recordings that clearly were inspired by nothing but the desire to use movie branding to launch a hit song. But Alfonso Cuarón, the director of “Roma,” is determined to find some artistic validity [...]

  • Panic at the Disco Concert Review

    Concert Review: Panic! at the Disco Brings Theatrical Flair to Forum

    At one particularly crowd-pleasing point during Panic! at the Disco’s show Friday at the Forum, Brendon Urie played the group’s cover of one of the “Greatest Showman” songs, from the recent tribute album devoted to that film, and it’s not hard to see why he would gravitate to the musical. Urie’s so much of a [...]

  • Ludwig Goransson Black Panther Composer

    Complete Guide to This Year's Oscar-Nominated Scores

    Unlike the song category, it’s impossible to predict the winner from this year’s quintet of original-score nominees. It’s almost anyone’s game. Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson spent a month in Africa recording unusual drums, flutes and vocals, then adding them to a massive London orchestra and choir to create a unique soundscape for the fictional land [...]

  • Oscars Best Song Nominees

    Complete Guide to This Year's Oscar-Nominated Songs

    This year’s crop of Oscar-nominated songs may be the most diverse in years: a ballad and a pop-rap from two of the year’s biggest films, plus a delicate lullaby from a Disney musical, a political themed anthem, and a novelty tune for singing cowboys. “Shallow,” the top-10 hit from “A Star Is Born,” is widely [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content