SoundScanner: 96-Year-Old Widower’s Song About His Late Wife Makes A Big Chart Debut
While Avenged Sevenfold leads this week’s albums chart, the real story of the week involves a 96-year-old widower who’s making a big impact on the singles chart. As usual, #SoundScanner is all over it:

96-YEAR-OLD CRASHES CHARTS: Look out you young whipper snappers, there’s a new chart force to be reckoned with: 96-year-old Fred Stobaugh, whose original song “Oh Sweet Lorraine” sold 100,000 units this week and arrives at No. 14 on this week’s Digital Songs chart. Stobaugh entered a songwriting contest through Green Shoe Studio in East Peoria, Ill., with a song he had written about his recently deceased wife, to whom he was married for 72 years. Stobaugh had no singing or songwriting experience, but studio head Jacob Colgan was so moved by his story that he decided to record the song (which is credited to Green Shoe Studio featuring Jacob Colgan and Fred Stobaugh). A documentary about the song (which you can watch above) has gone viral, racking up 3.3 million views on YouTube.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD LEADS DEBUTS: California rockers Avenged Sevenfold lead this week’s albums chart with the aptly titled Hail to the King, which sold a mighty 160,000 copies its first week – roughly one copy for every tattoo on the band members’ bodies. It’s the second No. 1 album for A7X (that’s what the cool kids call them), following 2010’s Nightmare, which got a 163K start. The album is one of four debuts inside the Top 10; also making a splash are new albums from Big Sean (No. 3, 72,000), Juicy J (No. 4, 64,000) and the Alabama tribute album Alabama & Friends (No. 8, 32,000).

VMAS PROVIDE BOOST: The immediate effect of MTV Video Music Awards was felt on last week’s charts, but this week’s chart shows the full impact of the show. Performers who received boosts from the telecast include Justin Timberlake (his The 20/20 Experience jumps back into the top 10 on a 148 percent sales spike, while his single “Take Back the Night” is up 97 percent), Robin Thicke (his album Blurred Lines is up 20 percent, while his single “Give It 2 U” is up a massive 251 percent), Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (their album The Heist is up 34 percent, the single “Same Love” is up 31 percent), Bruno Mars (his Unorthodox Jukebox album is up 29 percent, while sales of “Gorilla” are up a whopping 183 percent), Lady Gaga (“Applause” received a 31 percent boost), Miley Cyrus (sales of “We Can’t Stop” are up 10 percent and her follow-up “Wrecking Ball” is up 124 percent; both are in this week’s Top 10) and Drake (who sees sales of his “Hold On, We’re Going Home” shoot up 57 percent and “Started from the Bottom” increase by 96 percent).

‘’BERZERK’ CAN’T STOP ’ROAR’: Eminem’s “Berzerk,” the first single from his upcoming The Marshall Mathers LP 2, is off to a strong start, selling 362,000 downloads its first week. But it’s not enough to put a stop to Katy Perry’s No. 1 reign, as “Roar” sold 448,000 downloads this week – up 14 percent from last week, she was another benefactor from the VMAs – bringing its three-week total to 1.4 million sales. The Rick Rubin-produced “Berzerk,” which utilizes a sample from Billy Squier’s “The Stroke,” didn’t kick off as well as the first offerings from Em’s last two albums; “Crack a Bottle,” from 2009’s Relapse, kicked off with 418,000 sales, and “Not Afraid,” the first taste from 2010’s Recovery, began with 380,000 downloads.

LUKE HITS GOLD: Luke Bryan has had plenty to celebrate this summer, and his Crash My Party falls just one spot to No. 2 this week, bringing its three-week total to 779,000 sales. Now the Academy of Country Music Awards’ Entertainer of the Year has another notch in his belt: His Spring Break… Here to Party album (No. 87 this week) has just crossed the 500,000 sales marker. In its 26th week on the chart, the set sold 4,800 copies, bringing its total sales to just over 500,000. It’s Bryan’s third album in this week’s top 100; his 2011 album Tailgates & Tanlines is No. 26 this week and has sold 2.1 million copies to date.