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Grammys Give Adele’s ’21’ Mind-Boggling Sales Boost


If she’d been making music a few decades ago — hell, not even two decades ago — we wouldn’t be asking this question, but, considering the current state of the music industry, we have to: Where the hell is Adele finding the better part of a million more people who haven’t bought 21 yet? The British Girl Wonder who obliterated the Grammys and the Brit Awards broke even more sales records this week, and today is the one-year anniversary of 21‘s U.S. release.

As of last night, thanks to a mind-boggling 730,000 copies sold in the week ending February 19 (also known as The Week After Adele Won Six Grammys For the Album), Adele’s21 has officially come in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for 21 non-consecutive weeks, passing the late Whitney Houston’s record-setting Bodyguard soundtrack, which held for only 20. Ha! 21 for 21 weeks! Happy flipping birthday, you crazy songstress, you.

Remember the Grammys? Here’s a reminder of what went right, and what went terribly wrong.

According to Billboard, 21‘s sales this week make it Adele’s best sales week ever — even counting the holiday season this past December, which only moved 399,000 copies. If you exclude the Christmas holiday season or the first month of an album’s release, this is the second-best sales week for an album ever, behind the Titanic soundtrack (which sold 848,000 over Valentine’s Day week in 1998). And according to Nielsen SoundScan, the bump Adele got after the Grammys is the largest since they started keeping track in 1991.

Now, though no one could have guessed that the bird-flipping singer would ever be neck-and-neck with this guy for something, 21 is hilariously tied with M.C. Hammer’s 1990 record, Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, on the number-of-non-consecutive-weeks-at-number-1 ranking. Others she’s seriously in the running to overtake: the soundtracks for Saturday Night Fever (1978) and Prince’s Purple Rain (1984), both of which held down No. 1 for 24 weeks; the South Pacific soundtrack and Harry Belafonte’s Calypso (1956), both at 31 weeks; and of course, the ever-elusive 37-week beast (see what we did there?), Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983). Shockingly, though, the record-holder is not Thriller, but the West Side Story original soundtrack, which boasted a beastly 54 weeks starting back in 1962. So basically, 54 weeks is quite a long way off in an age of Mediafire, but maybe, just maybe, if we believe hard enough…and find some folks out in Montana who haven’t picked up 21 yet.