October 27, 2010 / 7:21 PM / 7 years ago

Country duo Sugarland tops U.S. pop chart

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Country duo Sugarland claimed the No. 1 spot on the U.S. pop album chart Wednesday, beating rockers Kings of Leon for the honors.

Elton John, meanwhile, achieved his highest charting set since 1976, but Rod Stewart’s “Great American Songbook” series is running out of steam.

Sugarland sold 203,000 copies of “The Incredible Machine,” its third chart-topper, during the week ended October 24, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The duo, Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, previously topped the Billboard 200 with 2008’s “Love On the Inside,” which debuted at No. 2 with 313,000 copies and claimed the top spot the following week with 171,000. The Walmart-exclusive CD/DVD package “Live on the Inside” debuted at No. 1 in August 2009 after selling 76,000 copies.

Kings of Leon’s “Come Around Sundown” started at No. 2 with 184,000, earning the band both its highest charting album and best sales week.

Its last set, 2008’s “Only By the Night,” bowed at No. 5 with their best sales week (74,000 copies), but peaked at No. 4 nearly a year later, in September 2009. Each of the band’s albums have posted successively higher peaks: its 2003 debut, “Youth & Young Manhood,” topped out at No. 113, 2005’s “Aha Shake Heartbreak” hit No. 55, and 2007’s “Because of the Times” halted at No. 25.

Five other new entries made the top 10: Elton John and Leon Russell’s collaboration album, “The Union” (No. 3, 80,000), Rod Stewart’s “Fly Me To The Moon” (No. 4, 79,000), “Glee: the Rocky Horror Glee Show” (No. 6, 48,000), Shakira’s “Sale El Sol” (No. 7, 46,000), and Third Day’s “Move” (No. 9, 37,000).

For John, “Union” is his highest charting set since 1976’s “Blue Moves” peaked at No. 3. John last reached the top 10 with the greatest hits set “Rocket Man: Number Ones” in 2007, when it debuted and peaked at No. 9. And, with “The Union‘s” 80,000 start, it marks John’s best sales week since December 2002, when “Greatest Hits 1970-2002” shifted 108,000 units.

As for Russell, he last went higher with the No. 2 set “Carney” in 1972, which spent four weeks in the runner-up slot.

Stewart’s new disc marks the fifth installment in his smash “Great American Songbook” series. But its 84,000-unit start marks a hefty drop from the previous edition, which started at No. 2 in October 2005 with 193,000 units. He topped the chart with the third edition in 2004.

For the cast of “Glee,” the “Rocky Horror” set is both their lowest sales start and chart debut so far. However, since this album came out a week before its songs aired on its companion episode on October 26, it could gain on next week’s chart.

Shakira’s “Sale” is the Colombian diva’s second Spanish-language effort to reach the top 10. In 2005, “Fijacion Oral: Vol. 1,” debuted and peaked at No. 4 with 158,000.

Christian act Third Day’s last studio set, 2008’s “Revelation,” begin at No. 6 with 75,000.

Last week’s champ, Lil Wayne’s “I Am Not a Human Being,” fell to No. 5 with 65,000. Eminem’s “Recovery” slipped three to No. 8 with 43,000. Darius Rucker’s “Charleston, SC 1966” tumbled eight to No. 10 with a little under 37,000.

Overall album sales totaled 5.2 million units, up 3% compared to the previous week, but down 10% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009. Year to date album sales stand at 236.14 million, down 13% compared to the year-ago period.

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