Elvis rolled the Stones on the U.S. pop album charts, depriving the veteran rockers of what would have been their first No. 1 album in 21 years, according to sales data issued on Wednesday.
The Elvis Presley (news) retrospective “Elvis: 30 #1 Hits” sold nearly 337,000 copies in the week ended Oct. 6, its second week of release, while the Rolling Stones’ hits package “Forty Licks” opened at No. 2 with sales of 310,000 units, according to tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan.
The Stones’ tally marks the best album debut of their career since SoundScan started tabulating the charts with point-of-sales data a decade ago. The band’s previous best opening was in 1997, when their studio album “Bridges to Babylon” opened at No. 3 with 160,000 units.
“Forty Licks,” a double-CD set that boasts 36 career-spanning hit tunes and four new songs, marks the first joint venture between the Stones’ current label, Virgin Records and their old label, closely held ABKCO Records.
“We’re very pleased with such strong first-week sales for ‘Forty Licks,”‘ said a spokeswoman for EMI Group Plc, the parent company of Virgin.
She added that the label expected the album to sell strongly through the holiday period, helped by the Stones’ current tour.
Presley, whose two-week total rose to 838,000 units, has benefited from aggressive pricing at mass-market retailers. The single-disc RCA Records package carries a list price of $18.98, but is currently selling for $13.99 at KMart Corp. and $14.99 at Best Buy Co. Inc.. “Forty Licks,” with a $29.98 list price, is selling for $19.99 at Kmart and $24.99 at Best Buy, spokeswomen at the chains said.
RCA Records is a unit of German media giant Bertelsmann AG.
The Rolling Stones last topped the album charts in 1981 when “Tattoo You” led the field for nine weeks. In all they have sent nine records to the top since 1965. “Forty Licks” also debuted at No. 2 in Britain and at No. 7 in Japan.
The latest top 10 contained three other new entries: West Coast rapper Xzibit’s “Man vs. Machine” at No. 3; “American Idol Greatest Moments,” a collection of performances by the 10 finalists on the hit talent show, at No. 4; and Maryland rock band Good Charlotte’s second album “The Young and the Hopeless” at No. 7.