Producers: Kenny Chesney, Buddy Cannon
Track listing: I’m Alive / Way Down Here / Boats / Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven / Down the Road / Spirit of a Storm / Ten with a Two / The Life / Key’s in the Conch Shell / Nowhere to Go, Nowhere to Be / That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day)
The last time Kenny Chesney released an album, on September 11, 2007, he was thrust headlong into the battle between hip-hop stars Kanye West and 50 Cent. Some pundits predicted that Chesney could be the chart-topping dark horse as Kanye and 50 fought over rap fans’ dollars, yet Chesney had no such luck. Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates entered the chart at number three behind 50’s Curtis at number two, and West’s chart-topping Graduation.
When Chesney returned with his next effort, Lucky Old Sun, no such competition existed. T.I.’s Paper Trail, which incidentally features a guest shot from West, had already been at the top for two weeks, so it wasn’t a serious threat to Chesney’s return to the summit. Sure enough, Lucky Old Sun sold 176,000 copies in its debut week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, besting Paper Trail‘s third-week sales of 132,000. Chesney’s closest competition from a new release came in the form of singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne’s third album, Gossip in the Grain, was debuted at number three with sales of 60,000.
While Lucky Old Sun‘s first-week sales were enough to put it in the top spot and give Chesney his fifth chart-topping album, the country star was not immune to the general downturn in the music business. It was Chesney’s weakest sales debut week since 1999 when Everywhere We Go entered the chart at number 51 with sales of 30,000, noted Billboard‘s Katie Hasty.
For Lucky Old Sun, Chesney toned down his Jimmy Buffett-inspired party anthems for a more laid-back approach, which was a result of him switching gears after living life in the fast lane on the road.
“My life is a lot like a baseball season,” he explained on the GAC Nights: Live from Nashville radio show. “My tour goes from April to September, and pretty much the whole time, my foot is all the way down on the gas pedal, and when we’re on the stage, [it’s] full blast. This record reflects me when I’m not in that mode. It’s more of an acoustic record than I’ve ever recorded. If I could take the people that listen to my music down to my boat, and I pulled a guitar out of the case and played some music, this album would be kind of what they would hear.”
The album takes its title from the pop standard “That Lucky Old Sun,” which Chesney sings as a duet with guest Willie Nelson. An interesting footnote, the Beach Boys Brian Wilson covered the same song on his solo album, titled That Lucky Old Sun, only Wilson wasn’t quite as lucky when it came to sales. Wilson, who scored two chart-toppers with the Beach Boys, only made it to number 21 with That Lucky Old Sun, which sold 21,000 in its first week of release in late August 2008.
THE TOP FIVE
Week of November 1, 2008
1. Lucky Old Sun, Kenny Chesney
2. Paper Trail, T.I.
3. Gossip in the Grain, Ray LaMontagne
4. Death Magnetic, Metallica
5. Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Hudson
Here’s Kenny Chesney’s video for “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven.”