The late Jimmy Buffett, who died on Sept. 1, returns to the top five of the Billboard 200 albums chart as his best-of collection Songs You Know by Heart: Jimmy Buffett’s Greatest Hit(s) re-enters the Sept. 16-dated list at No. 4. It marks the album’s highest rank ever — and first week in the top 10, or even top 40, dating to its release in 1985 — and Buffett’s 13th top 10-charting album.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units, compiled by Luminate. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new Sept. 16, 2023-dated chart will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website on Sept. 12. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
In the tracking week ending Sept. 7, Songs You Know by Heart earned 52,000 equivalent album units (up 2,122%) following the singer-songwriter’s death on Sept. 1 at age 76. It marks the 13th top 10-charting album for Billboard’s most famous alumnus. Buffett was a Nashville-based reporter for Billboard in 1969-70, before the release of his first album.
Of Songs You Know by Heart’s 52,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Sept. 7, SEA units comprise 30,000 (up 1,377%, equaling 40.22 million on-demand official streams of the set’s 13 songs), album sales comprise 15,500 (up 6,826% — making it the top-selling album of the week) and TEA units comprise 6,500 (up 8,813%).
Songs You Know by Heart contains Buffett’s only Billboard Hot 100 top 10-charting hit song, “Margaritaville,” which reached No. 8 in 1977. It also houses the top 40-charting tunes “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Come Monday” and “Fins.”
Songs You Know by Heart joins Buffett’s dozen previous top 10s on the Billboard 200: Life On the Flip Side (No. 2 in 2020), Songs From St. Somewhere (No. 4, 2013), Encores (No. 7, 2010), Take the Weather With You (No. 4, 2006), License to Chill (No. 1, 2004), Meet Me in Margaritaville: Jimmy Buffett The Ultimate Collection (No. 9, 2003), Far Side of the World (No. 5, 2002), Beach House On the Moon (No. 8, 1999), Banana Wind (No. 4, 1996), Barometer Soup (No. 6, 1995), Fruitcakes (No. 5, 1994) and Son of a Son of a Sailor (No. 10, 1978).
Though Songs You Know by Heart had a low-profile chart placing in 1985 — peaking at No. 100 on the Billboard 200 and spending 35 weeks on the list until this week’s return — the set was a sturdy seller through the decades. In 1989, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), recognizing 1 million units shipped of the album to retailers in the U.S. And since Luminate started electronically tracking music sales in 1991, the album has earned 8.26 million equivalent album units — of which 7.14 million are in traditional album sales. Thus, if one combines the RIAA certification and the Luminate-era activity, Billboard estimates that through the lifetime of the album in the U.S., it has earned 9.26 million equivalent album units, of which 8.14 million are in pure album sales.
The Billboard 200 may soon welcome another debut from Buffett. Shortly after his passing, it was announced that his final studio album, Equal Strain on All Parts, is due Nov. 3. The album features a notable lineup of collaborators, including Emmylou Harris, Lennie Gallant, Angelique Kidjo, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Paul McCartney.