When ’80s pop icons Madonna and Lionel Richie both released new albums on March 5, it was no surprise when the Material Girl topped the charts the following week just ahead of the former Commodores singer, who came in at a respectable No. 2. The pop stars (and former neighbors) even acknowledged it on Twitter, with Madonna joking about being “on top” and Richie kindly noting that he “wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Now the tables have turned, as Richie’s Tuskegee tops the Billboard 200 album chart for a second week in a row (making it his third No. 1 album ever). Madonna’s MDNA, on the other hand, slips further down the chart, moving from No. 18 to No. 33 this week. To date, Richie’s latest has sold 536,967 copies, while MDNA has sold 440,393 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Their albums couldn’t be more different: Madonna dances away the pain of her divorce, rave-style, while Richie turns his biggest hits into duets alongside country stars like Willie Nelson and Tim McGraw. But for his comeback of sorts, Richie and his team at Mercury Nashville got creative, going so far as to sell Tuskegee on-air at the Home Shopping Network.
Richie fends off new stars like Jason Mraz and the ever-present Adele atop the Billboard 200 this week, and we find just one other legacy artist sitting in the top 10. Bonnie Raitt‘s Slipstream comes in at No. 9, down just three spots from her No. 6 debut on the chart last week. The album, the “I Can’t Make You Love Me” singer’s first in seven years, has sold 99,677 copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Further down the albums chart sits Bruce Springsteen‘s Wrecking Ball, which hit No. 1 upon its release last month. The album slips just one spot, from No. 29 to No. 30 this week, with 368,134 copies sold to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Can Richie hold back the new class of boy bands atop the Billboard 200 for a third week in a row? We’ll find out next week, and we’ll see which other classic artists make chart moves.
–Jillian Mapes, CBS Local