Van Halen’ s new album A Different Kind of Truth debuted at #2 on the Billboard chart, selling an impressive 187,000 copies it’s first week on the charts. A hard rock album hitting the #2 position is an incredible achievement these days. It’s even more impressive when you figure that record industry sales of albums are down 50% since 14 years ago, when Van halen’s last album was released.
Interestingly, if Van Halen’s album had been released just about ANY other week so far this year, it would have gone #1!
When Van Halen’s new album dropped, Adele’s album, 21, had been the #1 album for 19 weeks. Her album had recently been selling around 100,000 units per week. Under normal circumstances, Van Halen selling 187,000 units would be more than enough to bump reigning queen Adele from the top slot.
But last week was the perfect storm for megastar Adele. She was on the cover of People magazine, was interviewed on 60 Minutes, and not only performed on the Grammys, but won six Grammy trophies! Her sales immediately shot up 95%, surpassing Van Halen’s on the last day of the sales week. Now with 20 weeks at No. 1, this marks the longest run at the top of the chart since “The Bodyguard” spent 20 weeks at No. 1 in 1992-1993.
This reminds us of when Van Halen’s 10-million-plus-selling ‘1984‘ topped out at #2, never reaching the top of the charts…only because Michael Jackson‘s Thriller was cemented there. Ironically, one of the many reasons for Thriller‘s incredible success was that Eddie Van Halen contributed the blistering guitar solo to “Beat It”, which helped Jackson cross over to the rock and roll audience. At that moment in time, Eddie Van Halen performed on both the #1 and #2 albums on the Billboard chart.
A Different Kind of Truth is the band’s 14th consecutive top 10 album — stretching back to 1979’s Van Halen II, which topped out at No. 6. The only release in the veteran act’s catalog that missed the top 10 was its self-titled 1978 debut, which peaked at No. 19, yet went on to sell well over 10 million copies.