Friday, January 6, 2023

Chart success: 2022

After the excitement generated by last year's holiday-season sales of Guaraldi's soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas, the question was whether the results would be as spectacular this year.

Not quite ... but still very impressive.

Three Billboard charts held our attention this year:

• The Billboard 200, which tracks album sales across all platforms (the formula being 1,500 on-demand audio and/or video song streams = 10 tracks sales = 1 album sale);

Billboard's Top Album Sales, which preserves the traditional methodology of counting solely pure album sales (which is where all those variant vinyl LPs play an important role); and

Billboard's Hot 100, which tracks the popularity of individual songs.

Last year, A Charlie Brown Christmas rose to #6 on the Billboard 200. So, how did it do this year?

The album entered the chart (once again, a "re-entry") for the week of November 19, at #90. It quickly rose to #43 the following week, and then #17 on December 3. It entered the top 10 — at #10 — the next week, but dropped to #12 on December 17. Then it rallied, and rose to #9 on December 24 ... and then #8 on December 31. Alas, that proved to be its peak, as it dropped back to #10 during the week of January 7.

Ah, but the news was much better in the Top Album Sales chart, where A Charlie Brown Christmas entered at #11 on December 3. It rose to #7 the following week, and then to #5 on December 17 ... which surpassed the previous year's peak position (#6). But Vince wasn't finished; his album hit #2 (!) on December 24, trailing behind only Taylor Swift's Midnight.

We held our breath, and wondered ... could Charlie Brown overtake Ms. Swift the following week?

(Highly unlikely. A Charlie Brown Christmas sold 17,000 units that week, to achieve its #2 status ... while Midnight's sales were in the low six figures.)

Alas, A Charlie Brown Christmas dropped to #3 on December 31, and then to #8 on January 7.

UPDATE: It dropped to #40, for the week ending January 14. (Guaraldi vanished from the other two charts.)

The Hot 100 chart offered a bit of solace. "Linus and Lucy" popped up for one week, at #49 on December 31, giving that tune its second run on this chart, following the previous year's surprise appearance (at #37). It disappeared on January 7, when "Christmas Time Is Here" debuted, at #50. It, too, did better the previous year, with a two-week run (#48, then #41).

Albeit a bit disappointing, we must put this chart action in perspective; we're talking about music that was produced almost seven decades ago, by a jazz artist who's been dead for almost half a century. If that isn't unprecedented, it's certainly astonishing!