Andrea Bocelli achieves his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as his new studio effort, Si, debuts atop the tally. The set, which was released via Sugar/Decca Records/Verve Label Group on Oct. 26, earned 126,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Nov. 1, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 123,000 were in album sales.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Nov. 10-dated chart –where Si starts at No. 1 — will be posted in full on Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Andrea Bocelli’s First No. 1: The 26th time’s the charm, as Bocelli bows atop the Billboard 200 with his 26th charting album, Si. The singer has charted on the tally since Dec. 20, 1997, when Romanza debuted at No. 114, on its way to a No. 35 peak on Dec. 19, 1998. All told, Si marks Bocelli’s ninth top 10 effort.
Bocelli has come quite close to No. 1 previously: he’s peaked at No. 2 twice, with My Christmas (five weeks at No. 2 in 2009) and Passione (one week at No. 2 in 2013). The former spent five consecutive weeks stuck in the runner-up slot. In its first two weeks at No. 2, Bon Jovi’s The Circle and John Mayer’s Battle Studies debuted at No. 1, respectively. Then, in My Christmas’ third week at No. 2, Susan Boyle’s debut album I Dreamed a Dream bowed at No. 1 and spent six straight weeks at No. 1.
20-Year Wait for First No. 1 Album: Bocelli waited a little more than 20 years and 10 months for his first No. 1, dating back to when Romanza bowed on the list dated Dec. 20, 1997. That’s the longest wait for a chart-topper since January of 2016, when the late David Bowie tallied his first leader 43 years and nine months after his chart debut. He hit No. 1 with Blackstar on the Jan. 30, 2016-dated chart, and he made his chart debut on the tally way back on April 15, 1972 with Hunky Dory. (Bowie died of cancer on Jan. 10, 2016, two days after Blackstar was released.) Before Bocelli, the last living artist to wait longer for their first No. 1 was James Taylor, who notched his first leader with Before This World on July 4, 2015 — 45 years after his chart debut on March 14, 1970 with Sweet Baby James.
Bocelli’s Largest Sales Week Since 2009:Si sold 123,000 copies (of its 126,000 total units), marking the singer’s best sales week since My Christmas sold 284,000 copies over the Christmas week of 2009 (reflected on the chart dated Jan. 9, 2010). Si’s significant debut was powered by sales generated by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer tied to a series of Bocelli shows in 2018 and early 2019. (Si also nabs the largest sales week for any classical album since July 2, 2011, when Jackie Evancho’s classical crossover set Dream With Me sold 161,000 copies in its first week and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.)
First Classical No. 1 in 10 Years: Si also debuts at No. 1 on both the Classical Crossover Albums chart and the overall Classical Albums chart. (The latter tally combines both classical crossover and traditional classical efforts.)
In turn, Si is the first classical album to be No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart since Jan. 5, 2008, when Josh Groban’s classical crossover holiday effort Noel spent its fifth and final week atop the tally. Si is the first classical set to debut at No. 1 since the vocal quartet Il Divo bowed at No. 1 with Ancora, another classical crossover effort, on the Feb. 11, 2006-dated chart.
First No. 1 for Sugar Music & First No. 1 for Decca Records in 10 Years:Si was released through Sugar Music/Decca Records, and marks the first leader for Sugar, and the first chart-topper for Decca, since 2008. Decca last led the list with the soundtrack to the film Mamma Mia!, which was released via Decca/UMe, and spent one week at No. 1 on the Aug. 23, 2008-dated tally.
A Non-English Album at No. 1: Si is a mostly all-Italian-language album, making it one of the few non-English efforts to hit No. 1. It’s actually the third primarily non-English album to lead the list in 2018, following two mostly Korean albums from BTS: Love Yourself: Answer (Sept. 8) and Love Yourself: Tear (June 2). Before BTS, the last mostly non-English album to lead the list was Il Divo’s Ancora on Feb. 11, 2006. (The album is comprised of songs performed in Spanish, Italian and French, along with a track sung partially in English.)
As for Si, it includes collaborations with Josh Groban, Dua Lipa, Russian soprano Aida Garifullina, Ed Sheeran and Bocelli’s 21-year-old son Matteo Bocelli. (Groban, Lipa and Sheeran all sing in Italian on Si.) The album benefits from a variety of available versions of the set, including an edition of the album with Spanish-language versions of seven songs.
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s soundtrack to A Star Is Born falls to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 after three weeks at No. 1. The set earned 93,000 units in the week ending Nov. 1 (down 15 percent).
Coming in at No. 3 is Joji’s BALLADS 1, with 57,000 units earned (with 34,000 of that sum in album sales). Joji (real name: George Miller) is a former YouTuber who previously logged an entry on the Billboard 200 with the In Tongues EP (peaking at No. 58 on the Nov. 25, 2017-dated list). BALLADS 1’s sales were bolstered by a range of merchandise/album bundles.
Tory Lanez clocks his third consecutive top five-charting album, as his third release, Love Me Now?, starts at No. 4 with 54,000 units (5,000 in album sales). The bulk of Love’s first-week units were driven by streams, as it tallied 48,000 SEA units (translating to 62.5 million on-demand audio streams for the album’s tracks). Lanez previously hit the top five with his two earlier albums: Memories Don’t Die (No. 3; March 17) and I Told You (No. 4; Sept. 10, 2016).
At No. 5 on the new Billboard 200, Lil Wayne’s former No. 1, Tha Carter V, is a non-mover with 52,000 units (down 20 percent). Lil Baby and Gunna’s Drip Harder is stationary at No. 6 with just over 49,000 units (down 13 percent) and Drake’s former leader Scorpion is steady at No. 7 with 49,000 (down 13 percent).
Future and Juice WRLD’s collaborative effort WRLD ON DRUGS falls 2-8 in its second week (just over 45,000 units; down 54 percent), while a pair of former No. 1s round out the top 10: Travis Scott’s Astroworld sits still at No. 9 (45,000 units; down 4 percent) and Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys is steady at No. 10 (41,000 units; down 2 percent).