In the Billboard week ending on June 27th, Jack White’s band The Raconteurs achieved their first ever #1 album. According to The Detroit News, Help Us Stranger, the group’s third full-length release, tallied 88,000 album equivalent units in its first week of sales. Of these 88,000 units, about 84,000 were pure sales and about 25,000 were vinyl sales. These vinyl sales gave Help Us Stranger the strongest sales week of any album on vinyl in 2019. Pure and vinyl sales have been much harder to come by than streaming equivalent units in recent years, so to be this commercially successful on these formats is certainly an achievement in and of itself.
The Raconteurs’ album overcame quite a few prominent artists to reach this coveted #1 debut. Other big sellers from the week ending on June 27th included Lil Nas X’s debut EP 7, Billie Eilish’s debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, and the Jonas Brothers’ comeback album Happiness Begins. Lil Nas X, the creative mind behind now 13-week chart topper “Old Town Road”, came the closest to stealing the throne from The Raconteurs with 77,000 album equivalent units for its debut at the #2 spot.
While this may be The Raconteurs’ first time as chart-toppers, Jack White has been here before. As a solo artist, all three of his albums have earned #1 debuts, with his most recent being Boarding House Reach, which collected 124,000 album equivalent units in its first week of sales. Despite the continued success of the group’s biggest singles (“Seven Nation Army”), the White Stripes’ years of hard work never resulted in a Billboard 200 chart-topper.
Jack White’s label, Third Man Records, has long been a proponent of both the physical formats for music distribution (vinyl, primarily) and production (analog recording techniques). The commercial success of these techniques on one of Jack White’s personal projects is just another testament to his work for this cause, and how many music fans are still willing to pay for physical copies of their favorite artists’ newest music.
The release of Help Us Stranger was preceded by the release of four singles, “Sunday Driver” / “Now That You’re Gone”, “Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)“, “Help Me Stranger“, and “Bored and Razed“. The group is also currently on tour, with their next date on July 12th in Jack White’s hometown of Detroit, Michigan.