David Byrne & Judas Priest Lead Veteran Charge Atop Rock Album Charts
Photo by Jody Rogac
By Kevin Rutherford
Two veterans lead Billboard's rock albums charts (dated March 24), as David Byrne and Judas Priest assume the leads of the Top Rock Albums, Alternative Albums and Hard Rock Albums tallies.
Byrne, former frontman of Talking Heads, scores the No. 1 title on Top Rock Albums and Alternative Albums with American Utopia, his 11th solo studio set and first since 2012's Love This Giant with St. Vincent. The new album debuts with 63,000 equivalent album units (nearly all in traditional album sales), according to Nielsen Music, marking Byrne's first No. 1 on each list; Giant reached Nos. 11 and 6, respectively.
Byrne also banks his first top 20 album on the Billboard 200 in his solo career (No. 3) and his first top 10 overall, as Talking Heads hit a No. 15 best with Speaking in Tongues in October 1983. Additionally, Utopia's 63,000-copy start is Byrne's best sales week since Nielsen began tracking data in 1991.
The new album's lead single, "Everybody's Coming to My House," found success on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart prior to the LP's release, peaking at No. 5 on the ranking dated March 10 (a spot it's held in the two weeks since, reaching a new high in overall spins on the March 24-dated tally). Byrne has earned his first top five hit on a Billboard airplay chart since "She's Mad," which rose to No. 3 on Alternative Songs in 1992.
Hard Rock Albums is topped by Judas Priest, whose Firepower, the heavy metal veterans' 18th studio LP, starts with 49,000 units (48,000 in sales). It's the band's second leader on the ranking, following its last full-length, 2014's Redeemer of Souls (32,000 copies sold).
The new set's sales count marks Judas Priest's best since 2005, when Angel of Retribution bowed with 58,000.
Firepower is also the rockers' top-charting album on the Billboard 200, where they first charted, reaching No. 190, with Stained Glass in April 1978. The new album arrives at No. 5, becoming the group's first top five, surpassing Redeemer's No. 6 peak.
"Lightning Strike," the lead single from Firepower, has reached No. 21 on the Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart, hitting its high on the March 10-dated list; now at No. 22, it logs a new weekly best in plays. Judas Priest boasts its highest-charting song on the ranking (which began in 1981) since "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," which hit No. 4 in September 1982.