Pop quiz. How many times has Bob Dylan, celebrated icon of American music for going on five decades, reached the top of the Billboard 200 chart? The answer up until this week was a mere four: 1974’s Planet Waves, 1975’s Blood on the Tracks, 1976’s Desire, and 2006’s Modern Times. His latest, Together Through Life, made it five this week, hitting No. 1 with 125,000 copies sold according to Nielsen SoundScan. That’s not an especially mighty opening number — it’s about 67,000 less than Modern Times, for instance, put up in week one — but Together Through Life was lucky enough to show up during a lull in new releases. Break out the bubbly, Bob!
The next debut to appear on this week’s chart is Black Sabbath spinoff Heaven & Hell’s The Devil You Know, down at No. 8 with 30,000 copies sold. The Playing For Change charity CD/DVD, featuring contributions from musicians around the globe, came in at No. 10 with 26,000. Houston rapper Mike Jones found that 25,000 fans still know who he is; his sophomore album, The Voice, turned up at No. 12. And that was it for Top 20 debuts this week. Any numbers you’re particularly surprised or pleased with?