Chart Watch: Harry Styles Makes Impressive No. 1 Debut, Beats Sam Smith’s Record

Paul Grein
Writer
Harry Styles

Harry Styles‘s eponymous debut album enters the Billboard 200 at No. 1 this week, moving 230K “equivalent units,” including 193K in traditional album sales. (The balance reflects streaming and digital track sales.) This is the second-best sales week for a pop or rock album so far this year. Ed Sheeran’s ÷ debuted at No. 1 in March with equivalent sales of 451K (including traditional album sales of 322K).

Related: Harry Styles Resurrects Rock ’n’ Roll on Magnificent, Stardust-Sprinkled Debut

That 193K sales total is the largest debut sales tally for the first full-length album a U.K. male artist since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991. The old record was held by Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour, which sold 166K (in traditional album sales) in its first week in July 2014. “Stay With Me,” the biggest hit from Smith’s album, went on to win Grammys for both Record and Song of the Year. I expect “Sign of the Times,” the excellent lead single from Harry Styles, to be nominated in both categories later this year.

Styles tops the chart 14 months after Zayn’s debut album, Mind of Mine, opened in the No. 1 spot. Both artists, of course, were founding members of One Direction, who now join a short list of groups that have had more than one member achieve a No. 1 album as a solo artist. Three members of the Beatles — Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and John Lennon — achieved that feat. Two members of Destiny’s Child — Beyoncé and LeToya (Luckett) — have had solo No. 1s, as have two members of Blind Faith — Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood.

Styles is also just the second male solo artist from the U.K. to enter the Billboard 200 at No. 1 with his debut album. Zayn was the first.


Related: Watch Stevie Nicks and Harry Styles Duet on ‘Landslide’

With this debut, Styles regains his chart-topping mojo. One Direction’s first four studio albums debuted at No. 1. The group’s fifth studio album, Made in the A.M., debuted and peaked at No. 2 in December 2015. It lost a fierce first-week sales battle with Justin Bieber’s Purpose.


Styles’s album also enters the Official U.K. Albums Chart at No. 1. 1D’s last four studio albums also topped that chart. Harry Styles is the fifth solo debut album (meaning, the first solo album by someone who achieved fame in a group or duo) to reach No. 1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. It follows George Michael’s Faith, Beyoncé’s Dangerously in Love, Jack White’s Blunderbuss, and Zayn’s Mind of Mine.


Top Songs

Miley Cyrus lands her ninth top 10 hit on the Hot 100 as her soft, pretty folk/pop ballad “Malibu” vaults from No. 64 to No. 10 in its second week. This is Cyrus’s first top 10 hit since “Wrecking Ball” in 2013, which took her to the top tier of pop stardom. It is her only No. 1 hit to date.
Cyrus’s top 10 count includes her 2009 hit, “He Could Be The One,” which she recorded under her Hannah Montana alter-ego. All nine of Cyrus’s top 10 hits are solo recordings (no collaborations). Her biggest hit on which she shares billing is Mike Will Made It’s “23,” on which she was featured (along with Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J). That song reached No. 11.

Justin Bieber is featured on two of the top three songs for the second week. Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” (featuring Bieber) holds at No. 1 in its 18th week. DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” (featuring Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Wayne) holds at No. 3 in its third week. The song debuted at No. 1 two weeks ago.

“Despacito” sold 115K digital copies this week, which puts it at No. 1 on Top Digital Songs for the third week.

“I’m the One” name-drops not one, not two, but three former chart-toppers: Kris Kross, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown.

“Despacito” and “I’m the One” also hold down the top two spots on the Official U.K. Singles Chart for the second straight week.

Bruno Mars’s “That’s What I Like” holds at No. 2 in its 18th week. The song hit No. 1 two weeks ago. Two other former No. 1 hits appear in this week’s top five. Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” holds at No. 4 in its 19th week. Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.” holds at No. 5 in its seventh week.

“Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay rebounds from No. 7 to No. 6 in its 13th week. The song has climbed as high as No. 3. The song trades places with Future’s “Mask Off,” which dips from No. 6 to No. 7 in its 13th week. The song has climbed as high as No. 5.

Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO TOUR Llif3” holds at No. 8 in its eighth week. This matches its highest ranking to date.

“Stay” by Zedd & Alessia Cara holds at No. 9 in its 12th week. The song has climbed as high as No. 7.

KYLE’s “iSpy” (featuring Lil Yachty) drops out of the top 10 this week.

Soundgarden’s 1994 classic “Black Hole Sun” sold 17K digital copies in the immediate aftermath of Chris Cornell’s death. (He died on May 17. The tracking week ended May 18.) It re-enters Top Digital Songs at No. 45. Look for the song to finally make its first appearance on the Hot 100. It was ineligible to make the chart in 1994 because it wasn’t released as a physical commercial single (as rules in place at the time required).

Top Albums

Logic’s Everybody, which debuted at No. 1 last week, tumbles to No. 11 its second week. It’s the first album to drop out of the top 10 in Week 2 since The Hamilton Mixtape, which dove from No. 1 to No. 14 in its second week in December.

Three other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Russ’s There’s Really a Wolf drops from No. 7 to No. 25. Gorillaz’s Humanz dives from No. 9 to No. 35. The compilation EPIC AF (Yellow/Pink) drops from No. 10 to No. 12.

Seether’s Poison the Parish debuts at No. 14. The group’s last four studio albums made the top 10.

New Kids on the Block’s Thankful EP debuts at No. 17. The veteran boy band first cracked the top 20 (with Hangin’ Tough) way back in March 1989.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 drops from No. 20 to No. 23 in its 95th week. The album holds at No. 1 for the second week on Top Catalog Albums. That’s the longest run at No. 1 for a soundtrack since Pitch Perfect had four straight weeks on top in the spring of 2015.

Soundgarden’s Superunknown re-enters the chart at No. 32 in the wake of Chris Cornell’s shocking death last week. The album debuted at No. 1 in March 1994, making Soundgarden the fourth act associated with the Seattle grunge scene to land a No. 1 album. Nirvana was the first, followed by Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. Superunknown has sold 3,869,000 copies (in traditional album sales).

Coming Attractions: Look for Linkin Park’s One More Light and Rascal Flatts’s Back to Us to be next week’s top new entries.

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