Justin Timberlake Joins Exclusive Club
Justin Timberlake joined an exclusive club in 2013. This club has nothing to do with making bad movies (Runner, Runner) or hosting a television show (Saturday Night Live) or selling a bunch of Justin Timberlake tickets (he toured with Jay-Z and by himself in 2013). Timberlake joined the very exclusive club of having two number one albums in the same calendar year. His 20/20 Experience went to number one on April 6 (stayed there for three weeks) and his follow-up, The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2, claimed the top spot on the Billboard 200 on October 19.
You’ll hear lots of cuts from both of those top albums during Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience World Tour.” In 2014, Justin Timberlake is in Toronto on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14; Justin Timberlake performs in Chicago on Feb. 16 and Feb. 17; Justin Timberlake visits New York City on Feb. 19 and Feb. 20; and Justin Timberlake has a show in Philadelphia on Feb. 25. The final date of his first North American leg is March 5. On that night, Justin Timberlake takes the stage in Miami. The singer has nearly 30 dates planned for Europe before returning to North America in July for 15 more concerts, including a Justin Timberlake show in Boston.
Below is a list of other acts that have had two number one albums in the same calendar year. Membership to this club comes with several caveats. One, it starts in 1970. Artists released albums at a quicker pace in the 1960s and 1950s so we skipped those decades. Two, we didn’t count soundtracks unless the artist was responsible for the entire soundtrack. We did count greatest hits collections, live albums, holiday LPs, and remix collections. Remember, it’s not two different number one albums in a 12-month period but two different number one albums in the same calendar year.
Elton John founded the club in 1973 when Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player went to number one in March and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road went to number one in November. He did it again in 1974 with Caribou and Elton John’s Greatest Hits. The Rocket Man didn’t stop there. His Greatest Hits collection held the top stop into February of 1975. So do we count that for both 1974 and 1975? It doesn’t matter because later in the year John released Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy and Rock of Westies. Both went to the proverbial mountain top. To recap, John had two number one albums in ’73, ’74, and ’75. If you count the overlap of his Greatest Hits then he had three in 1975.
The year 1975 was a big one for the “Two Number One Albums In The Same Year Club.” Not only did John solidify his place in its hallowed halls, but he got some company. Chicago scored a number one in May with Chicago VIII. Then they scored another number one in December with Chicago IX – Chicago’s Greatest Hits.
Prince didn’t need the entire year to rack up two number ones. He needed just six months. Purple Rain was the first number one album of 1985. His Around the World In A Day reached the ultimate position on the Billboard 200 on June 1.
There were just nine number one albums in 1987 and Bruce Springsteen had two of them. Live/1975–85 was number one for the first two weeks of the year. Then in November, sandwiched between Michael Jackson’s Bad and The Dirty Dancing Soundtrack, Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love topped the chart for a week.
In 1992, Garth Brooks and Billy Ray Cyrus each held the foremost station on the main album log for 17 weeks. Cyrus’ 17 weeks were consecutive and all for one album, Some Gave All. Brooks’ 17 weeks were scattered throughout the year and split between Ropin’ the Wind and The Chase. Fast forward to 1998, Brooks starts a new club when he has three different albums go to number one: Sevens (January), The Limited Series (May), and Double Live (December).
The Beatles had four number one albums in 1964 and two each in 1965, 1966, and 1967, but like we said the industry was different then. In 1996, 35 years after splitting up, the Fab Four reached the promise land again… and again. Anthology 2 captured the top spot in April and Anthology 3 reached the charts’ acme in November. A quick note, in 1973 The Beatles’ greatest hits collection, 1967-1970, summited the Billboard 200. It was followed by Red Rose Speedway by Paul McCartney and Wings. That was followed by George Harrison’s Living in the Material World.
No male artist has had more number one albums than Jay-Z. So it’s fitting that he made this list. In fact, he made it twice. In 2000, he did it all by himself reaching number one with both Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter and The Dynasty: Roc La Familia. Four years later, he did the double again but this time with some help. R. Kelly and Jay-Z reached the pinnacle with Unfinished Business. Five weeks after that, Jay-Z was back on top thanks Collision Course, an EP he made with Linkin Park.
Eminem joined this exclusive club in 2005. His Encore was second to none for two weeks in January. Then from Christmas Eve to the end of the year, his Curtain Call: The Hits was the top opus in all the land.
Susan Boyle is the most unlikely member of this elite guild. In 2010, she started and ended the year at number one. I Dream A Dream was number one for the year’s first three weeks and her The Gift was número uno for the last two weeks of the year.
You tell us if this counts. In the spring of 2010, the cast of Glee saw three of their albums maneuver to the uppermost locus on Billboard’s main album chart: Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna; Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers; and Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals. They’re not really a band but a number one album is a number one album.
They’re not exactly new studio releases but like we said before they count. In early March of 2011, Biebs’ Never Say Never – The Remixes was chief among all releases. Justin Bieber returned to the apex for one more week in November thanks to his dubious Christmas record Under the Mistletoe.
Boy band extraordinaire One Direction crashed the party in 2012. Up All Night and Take Me Home spent one week each at number one. Counting Justin Timberlake, the club has grown each of the past four years. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues. In the 1970s and 1980s, artist stayed at number one for weeks. Nowadays, there’s a new number one every seven days. With so many number one albums floating around it should be easier to land two in the same calendar year.
By David B.