The British diva, whose middle finger made headlines last night at the Brit Awards, sold an astounding 730,000 copies (a 207% increase) of her blockbuster album, bringing its total to over 7.3 million in the States. According to iTunes, it also became the first album to ever sell over 2 million digital copies. Remarkably, 21 achieved these feats in its 52nd(!) week of release.
That’s right, the critically beloved disc has been available to consumers for a full year now, and it has maintained exemplary sales levels during each and every frame. Altogether, 21 has topped the chart for 21 weeks — the same amount of time as MC Hammer’s 1990 disc Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, and the longest tally for any solo female artist ever.
Only seven albums have ever spent more time at number one:
West Side Story Soundtrack (54 weeks)
Thriller, Michael Jackson (37 weeks)
Calypso, Harry Belafonte (31 weeks)
South Pacific, Soundtrack (31 weeks)
Rumours, Fleetwood Mac (31 weeks)
Saturday Night Fever, Bee Gees/Soundtrack (24 weeks)
Purple Rain, Prince and the Revolution (24 weeks)
Adele’s debut album 19 also got a substantial boost after her Grammy sweep, with sales rising a whopping 144 percent to 87,000 — enough to put it in fourth place. Don’t be surprised if both 21 and 19 end up outselling many high-profile new releases in 2012. Adele’s success and enduring appeal are, quite simply, phenomenal.
Whitney Houston’s Whitney: The Greatest Hits rose into second place in the wake of the star’s death. The late singer’s collection sold 175,000 copies, up 174 percent from the previous week. Houston’s most iconic track, “I Will Always Love You,” which currently sits at no. 7 on the Hot 100, will likely see high placement on tomorrow’s singles chart as well. READ FULL STORY