Prince Lands #1 And #2 Albums In Less Than Half A Day

NEW ORLEANS – JULY 2: Prince performs at the 10th Anniversary Essence Music Festival at the Superdome on July 2, 2004 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Prince Lands #1 And #2 Albums In Less Than Half A Day

NEW ORLEANS – JULY 2: Prince performs at the 10th Anniversary Essence Music Festival at the Superdome on July 2, 2004 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

On first glance, it’s not that surprising that Prince holds the #1 and #2 spots on the Billboard 200 albums chart this week in the wake of his unexpected death. After all, when David Bowie died earlier this year, people bought his albums like crazy, and unlike Prince, Bowie’s music was readily available all over the internet. But it’s still remarkable just how many albums Prince sold upon news of his passing, and how quickly it happened. News of his death broke just after noon on Thursday, less than 12 hours before the end of this week’s chart period. So the Purple One shot to #1 and #2 (plus #6, #31, #61, #95, #147, and #160) on less than half a day’s worth of sales.

Prince Albums Ranked
Revisit the Purple One's incredible discography.

The Very Best Of Prince tops the chart with 179,000 equivalent units; only 100,000 of those were traditional album sales, which means a lot of people were buying individual tracks and streaming that comp on Tidal. Following at #2 is the Purple Rain soundtrack with 69,000 units/63,000 in sales. And The Hits/The B-Sides clocks in at #6 with 41,000 units/24,000 sales. Also charting were 1999 (#31), Ultimate (#61), Sign ‘O’ The Times (#95), HITnRun: Phase One (#147) and Prince (#160). Billboard broke down some statistics of note:

The Very Best Of Prince becomes Prince’s fifth #1 album following Purple Rain (1984 and 1985), Around The World In A Day (1985), the Batman soundtrack (1989), and 3121 (2006).

•It’s also the first greatest hits album to go #1 since the Notorious B.I.G.’s Greatest Hits in 2007.

•Prince becomes the first artist to chart at #1 and #2 since Nelly’s simultaneous 2004 albums Suit and Sweat.

Purple Rain’s return to the Billboard 200 marks its 100th week on the chart.

Also worth noting: Sturgill Simpson’s fantastic A Sailor’s Guide To Earth enters at #3 with 55,000 units/52,000 sales and would have debuted at #1 if not for Prince. Bummer for Simpson, but I’m sure he understands.

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