Green Day’s Idiot Goes To The Head Of The Billboard Class

Bay Area trio earn their first #1 debut on the Billboard albums chart.

A decade after they first found success with Dookie, Green Day are having the best week of their 16-year career with their latest album, American Idiot.

Their conceptual seventh LP sold more than 266,000 copies, according to Soundscan, to give the Bay Area trio their first #1 debut on the Billboard albums chart. Led by its first single, “American Idiot,” the album will also top the charts in the U.K., Canada, Japan and Australia. It moved more than a million copies worldwide.

For the bandmembers, next week’s #1 ranking is the pinnacle of increasingly improving their songwriting and musicianship every step of the way.

“When you look at all of our records, you can kind of see the progression,” bassist Mike Dirnt explained, “but this one definitely kind of stands on its own a little bit … or a lot. It’s something we look forward to playing for the rest of our lives.”

By comparison, Green Day’s last album, 2000′s Warning, bowed at #4, with more than 155,000 copies sold.

Green Day’s debut knocks previous chart champ Nelly from his perch, though the St. Louis rapper still has a foothold on #2 with Suit, the more popular of the pair of albums he released two weeks ago. Its companion, Sweat, which sold more than 127,000 copies versus Suit‘s more than 159,000-copy draw, will dip down to #4.

After two weeks, Suit, which features the single “My Place” with Jaheim, has outsold Sweat, which includes “Flap Your Wings,” by more than 86,000 copies.

Stuck in the middle of the Nelly sandwich is country star Keith Urban, whose third solo album, Be Here, moved more than 148,000 copies to take the #3 spot.

Chicago rockers Chevelle are making good on their anti-Ritalin-inspired single, “Vitamin R.” The trio’s third album, This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In) has also given them their personal best. It will debut at #8 with more than 88,000 copies sold.

Four albums in next week’s top 10 will drop a pair of spots to make room for the three new arrivals, as Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying will appear at #5 (with more than 101,000 copies sold); Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company will come in at #6 (93,000); Now That’s What I Call Music! 16 will take #7 (88,000); and Maroon 5′s Songs About Jane will bring up the rear at #10 (62,000).

Ashlee Simpson’s Autobiography will fall farthest of any top-10 album, though the 75,000 copies it sold last week parallels its previous weekly total more closely than its top-ranking peers.

Massachusetts metal quintet Shadows Fall will score a top-20 debut with their fourth album, War Within, which will take #20.

As the Killers continue to take their music to the people on their current tour, the Las Vegas quartet’s debut album, Hot Fuss, will jump up six spots on the chart, to #26, thanks to a 25 percent increase in sales.

Other notable debuts on next week’s chart include Creedence Clearwater Revival survivor John Fogerty’s Déjà Vu All Over Again at #23; Elvis Costello’s Delivery Man at #40; the Christina Aguilera/ Missy Elliott-bolstered soundtrack to “Shark Tale” at #42; Raven-Symone’s This Is My Time at #51; Willie Nelson’s Outlaws and Angels at #69; Lil’ Romeo’s Romeoland at #70; Ben Harper with the Blind Boys of Alabama’s There Will Be a Light at #81; the Alchemist’s 1st Infantry at #101; Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains’ Big Eyeball in the Sky at #118; and Skye Sweetnam’s Noise From the Basement at #124.

For a full-length feature on Green Day, check out “Green Day: Anatomy Of A Punk Opera.”