Chris Stapleton just pulled off a rare feat on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Stapleton's three albums cracked the top four, with only Garth Brooks himself preventing a clean sweep of the top three.
His recent From A Room: Volume 2 rests atop the country chart. It ranks second to only U2's Songs of Experience in overall album sales. Right behind Brooks' The Anthology Part I: the First Five Years sits From a Room: Volume 1 and Stapleton's 2015 solo debut, Traveller.
Stapleton finds himself in the same company as Brooks beyond just the current charts. Brooks is the only other artist to chart three or more albums in the top five simultaneously in the modern era, pulling off the feat in October 1992 and December 2016 In both cases, Brooks' sales were bolstered by a Christmas album. There's no holiday or reissue gimmickry with Stapleton's top-sellers.
Of course, the music buying public of 1992 differs from the streamers and downloaders of today. Stapleton's feat comes at a time when the general public sometimes cherry-picks individual songs instead of digesting full albums. Presumably, those same types of listeners hear Stapleton's art as intended. Perhaps his lack of radio hits keeps listeners from only wanting to own or stream the obvious?
Stapleton and Brooks' shared feat happened two other times in chart history. During Glen Campbell's banner year of 1968, he claimed four of the top five country albums the week of October 19. For the week of July 27, 1974, Charlie Rich sealed his own career year by charting numbers two through five.