Since its initial release 10 short weeks ago, Josh Groban's Noël has unexpectedly gone from being just another in a long list of forgettable Christmas-centric LPs to the best-selling album of 2007. With nearly 2.8 million copies sold -- most coming within the last four weeks -- Noël has usurped the "High School Musical 2" soundtrack (which has sold just over 2.7 million units) and Daughtry, the 2006 self-titled debut by "American Idol" finalist Chris Daughtry's band, (2.3 million) for that title.
What's more, Noël, which has increased in sales each week and has remained in the Billboard top 10 all those weeks, has shattered several sales records, thanks in large part to Oprah Winfrey's recent endorsement of the album as "the one Christmas CD every family should have."
According to the latest SoundScan totals, Noël, which sold another 669,000 copies, is the first Christmas album to spend four consecutive weeks on top in the chart's 51-year history. It's also only the second Christmas album to ever spend a total of four weeks at #1, tying it with Elvis Presley's 1957 LP Elvis' Christmas Album.
Noël is also the first album of any kind to spend four consecutive weeks at #1 and experience a sales increase each of those weeks since No Doubt's 1995 outing Tragic Kingdom, and the 669,000 copies the Groban album sold last week denotes the biggest single-week tally for a Christmas album since Kenny G's Miracles: The Holiday Album sold 819,000 copies during one of the last weeks of 1994. Plus, Noël is on pace to pass the 3 million-sold mark, which would make it the only album released in 2007 to reach that plateau.
Needless to say, everything's coming up Groban on Billboard's weekly albums chart. But Noël's sales aren't the only interesting development on next week's chart. For starters, a total of 10 new records enter next week's top 200, though none debut in the chart's top 10. The highest-charting debut of the week comes in at #11: Face Off, a collaborative album from rapper Bow Wow and R&B singer Omarion, sold 107,000 copies during its first week in stores, falling about 13,000 scans short of #10 finisher Garth Brooks' Ultimate Hits, which sold 119,400 copies.
Behind Groban at #2 is Alicia Keys' As I Am, with sales reported at 292,300, and the Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden follows her at #3 with 241,000 scans. Meanwhile, the 26th addition to the Now That's What I Call Music! compilation series comes in at #4 with 191,800 sold, and at #5, with 180,000 scans, it's Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas Song. The aforementioned "High School Musical 2" soundtrack holds at the #6 position with sales of 178,000, and Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus trails in the #7 spot, having sold another 177,500 units. Country crossover artist Taylor Swift's self-titled debut climbs one spot to #8 with 138,700 sold, and Carrie Underwood's Carnival Ride falls two spots to #9 with sales of 137,500.
Rapper Birdman's 5 * Stunna was the top 200's second-highest charting debut offering, coming in at #18 with 86,000 sold. Mario's Go follows at #21 with 76,900 scans, and coming in at #25 with 68,500 copies snatched up, it's the Wu-Tang Clan's 8 Diagrams. The-Dream's Love/Hate bows at #30 with sales of 58,900, and rapper Beanie Sigel returns to the chart at #37, having sold 49,300 copies of his latest, Solution.
The Wal-Mart exclusive High School Musical: Hits Remixed enters the chart at #42 with 42,300 scans, while Gucci Mane's Back to the Traphouse debuts at #57 with 31,700 sold. The Dave Matthews Band's Live at Piedmont Park occupies the #68 slot, thanks to 27,400 scans, while Puerto Rican songstress Ednita Nazario's Real opens at #101 with 18,000 sold.