Smooth Operator Neil Diamond Lands First Ever #1 Album

It’s hard to imagine an artist as accomplished and beloved as Neil Diamond (trust us — your mom digs him) has never, over the course of his more than forty-year career, known the feeling of having an album hit the chart at #1. Hard to imagine, but true.

That’s why this week is so sweet for the Solitary Man, because according to the latest SoundScan figures, Diamond’s Rick Rubin-produced Home Before Dark has broken that bad-luck streak, selling close to 146,000 copies to top next week’s chart. This was no doubt made possible by the tremendous boost of having some of his classic tunes featured (and, you know, mostly murdered) on that popular singing contest “American Idol.”

Check out some other twists and turns in the chart, after the jump.

Other mad, mad business in this coming Top 200 include Clay Aiken’s On My Way Here, which bows at #4. The Claymates predictably snatched up the former Idol’s latest, placing Aiken just 100 fewer copies behind Madonna’s Hard Candy at #3 (94,000). (Um, how does Madge feel coming in just behind Clay in only her second week on the chart…?)

Hipster-cred acts the Last Shadow Puppets (see: Arctic Monkeys) and No Age (see: LA lo-fi punk scene) did kinda fine: LSP’s Age of the Understatement debuted at #111 (7,000), while No Age’s Nouns just made the cut at #196 (4,000).

But what the heck happened to tween-beloved emo-pop sensation Tokio Hotel?? All evidence — freaked-out, shrieking fans packing shows before the little Germans’ CD even dropped Stateside — pointed to a stellar debut. But their debut, Scream, enters the chart at #39, with sales reported at 15,800. We say, “Meh.” Perhaps it’ll be a slower build for these kleine pop-punks after all.