Meet the Terrible Rock Bands Who Lurk on the Album Charts For Years at a Time


This week’s Billboard album charts stayed pretty static, all things considered; Sade’s Soldier Of Love held on at No. 1 for a second week, selling 190,000 copies (a 62% drop from its first-week tally of 502,000 sales), and the rest of the top 10 stayed the same, with albums trading places.

In honor of this week of relative stasis, I figured it would be a good time to look at the albums that have stayed on the Billboard 200 for longer than a year. The list has a lot of your usual suspects — Taylor Swift, Lady GaGa, Beyoncé — and a few albums by bands that could be called stealth rock stalwarts.

Here are all the albums on this week’s “Top Current Albums” chart that have remained for longer than 52 weeks, ranked by longevity. (Their current chart position and cumulative sales totals are in parentheses.)

174 – Taylor Swift (No. 80, 4.686m)
97 – Lady Antebellum (No. 26, 1.522m)
97 – Theory Of A Deadman, Scars & Souvenirs (No. 144, 828k)
87 – Shinedown, Sound Of Madness (No. 67, 948k)
77 – Hollywood Undead, Swan Songs (No. 148, 638k)
75 – Darius Rucker, Learn To Live (No. 54, 1.326m)
74 – Kings Of Leon, Only By The Night (No. 41, 1.822m)
69 – Pink, Funhouse (No. 25, 1.588m)
69 – Lady GaGa, The Fame (No. 4, 2.865m)
68 – Twilight OST (No. 85, 2.466m)
67 – Taylor Swift, Fearless (No. 10, 5.601m)
67 – Rascal Flatts, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (No. 133, 842k)
66 – Nickelback, Dark Horse ((No. 47, 2.624m)
66 – Beyoncé, I Am… Sasha Fierce (No. 44, 2.776m)
66 – Zac Brown Band, The Foundation (No. 17, 1.634m)
55 – The Fray (No. 195, 802k)

The long shelf life of Grammy staples like Swift, GaGa, and Lady Antebellum is to be expected. But more curious are the non-country albums that take up 60% of this list’s top five — all by bands that are rock staples, all with cumulative sales below the million mark that nearly every other album on this list has vaulted past. Who are they?

Theory Of A Deadman is a Canadian post-grunge band who share a label with countrymen Nickelback; they were the halftime entertainment for the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup in 2008, and their songs often appear in sports-related video games. This week Scars & Souvenirs, their third album, sold 4,100 copies. A whopping eight tracks from the album have been released as singles, with the most recent, “Little Smirk,” being released to radio last month:

Shinedown started in the early ’00s in Florida and have been something of a secret rock-radio staple. Oh, and lead singer Brent Smith actually appears on the Theory Of A Deadman record. (Synergy!) Sound Of Madness is the band’s third studio album, and this week it sold 8,700 copies. “Second Chance” is probably their biggest “hit,” having spent 10 weeks at the top of the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and three (non-consecutive) weeks at the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart’s summit. It also got airplay during Vh1’s rarer-than-ever video blocks. Can you hum it?

Hollywood Undead is a hybrid of rap-rock and crunkcore — think brokenCYDE meets Limp Bizkit, with the added bonus (?) of makeup. The band was originally signed by the ill-fated dot-com tie-in imprint MySpace Records, but a debate over censorship resulted in them moving to Octone, which is also known as the label that dropped a lot of cash on Maroon 5. Swan Songs is their first album — get it? — and it moved 3,900 copies this week. Here’s “No. 5”:

“Mainstream” rock has taken something of a beating in recent years — in part because its definition has stagnated into a sort of post-Nickelback dull roar, in part because of the rise of tasteful indie — but there’s something notable about the week-in, week-out devotion of its fanbase in a time when microtrends can change at the blink of an eye.

(As for the persistence of the dreary piano-rock outfit The Fray? We can probably blame TV — the Colorado band’s sorta-spiritual “You Found Me” has been employed by both a trailer for Lost and many a depth-seeking American Idol hopeful.)