SoundScanner: Bon Jovi Tops David Bowie For #1 Spot On The Charts (And Yes, It Is The Year 2013)

Bon Jovi tops David Bowie and debuts at No. 1 as the charts embrace for the pending arrival of Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience. Here’s a look at this week’s Nielsen SoundScan sales:

BECAUSE THEY CAN: Bon Jovi is living on more than prayers these days, as the New Jersey rockers debut at No. 1 with their latest album, What About Now. Here’s what about now: The new album sold 101,000 copies its first week in stores, a slower start than the band’s last several efforts (2009’s The Circle sold 163,000 copies its first week, 2007’s Lost Highway began with 292,000), but good enough to score the band its fifth No. 1 album. In the promotional run-up to the album’s release, Jon Bongiovi and the gang performed on last week’s American Idol results show, and as a result their single "Because We Can" sees a 128 percent performance boost on the Digital Songs chart.

BOWIE BOWS AT #2: One person not toasting Bon Jovi’s chart victory is David Bowie. The Next Day, Bowie’s first new album in 10 years, arrives at No. 2 with 85,000 first week sales, 16,000 less than Bon Jovi’s set. Had he hit No. 1, it would have been his first U.S. chart topper of his career. On the bright side, The Next Day marks Bowie’s highest chart showing ever on these shores. Behind Bon Jovi and Bowie, a slew of new releases land in the chart’s upper reaches, including the live album Passion: Let the Future Begin (No. 4, 48,000), boy band Mindless Behavior’s All Around the World (No. 6, 37,000), guitar legend Eric Clapton’s Old Sock (No. 7, 37,000*), and Dave Grohl’s Sound City: Real to Reel compilation (No. 8, 37,000). (*Only eight sales – eight sales! – separated the Mindless Behavior and Eric Clapton albums.)

THREE GO GOLD: Three albums hit gold status on this week’s chart: Ed Sheeran’s +, Alabama Shakes’ Boys & Girls and Jack White’s Blunderbuss. Sheeran (No. 22, 16,000) scoots by the gold marker by less than 500 copies, while Alabama Shakes (No. 26, 15,000) comfortably sails past the milestone, bringing Boys & Girls’ 49-week total to 511,000. Blunderbuss, released two weeks after Boys & Girls, lands at No. 120 on this week’s chart, inching its way to gold status and bringing its total sales to 502,000 copies.

REFLECTING SALES: Before Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience impacts next week’s chart – Billboard reports its first week sales could land upwards of 750,000 – his single "Mirrors" makes a big splash on this week’s Digital Singles chart. The single, which sold 121,000 copies this week, jumps up 40 spots to No. 8 on the chart, up 205 percent from last week and bringing its total sales to 387,000. Four spots higher on the chart at No. 4 is Timberlake’s "Suit & Tie," which sold an additional 201,000 copies this week, bringing its nine week total to a not-too-shabby 1.46 million sales. Meanwhile, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ "Thrift Shop" still reigns on the Digital Songs chart, as it approaches 5 million sales.

DROPKICKING THE CHARTS: St. Patrick’s Day isn’t all "Oh Danny Boy," and for those other instances, there’s Dropkick Murphys. The Celtic rockers see their single "I’m Shipping Up to Boston" – aka "That Song from ‘The Departed’" – re-enter the Digital Songs chart at No. 113 on 15,000 sales, up 255 percent from last week. The Boston band also sees its latest album Signed Sealed in Blood, released in January, jump back into the Top 100, with a No. 89 showing on the chart, selling 4,800 copies and bringing its total sales to 75,000. Hopefully the boys celebrated with a round of Shamrock Shakes.

[Photo: Getty Images]