By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Veteran singer-songwriter James Taylor raced ahead of pop singers Adam Lambert and Hilary Duff to score his first No. 1 album on the weekly U.S. Billboard 200 chart on Wednesday.
Taylor, 67, had to wait nearly half a century since his self-titled debut album came out in 1968 to notch the top spot on the chart with his 17th studio album.
His first studio release of new songs in 13 years "Before This World" sold 96,000 albums, 9,000 songs and was streamed 411,000 times, totaling 97,000 units according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.
At No. 2, pop star Taylor Swift's "1989" holds steady in its 34th week on the chart, selling another 57,000 units.
The singer made waves over the weekend by writing an open letter to Apple Inc, criticizing its policy of not paying artists during a three-month free trial of its new music streaming platform Apple Music.
The company bowed to her pressure and reversed its policy, saying it will now pay artists during the free trial.
Former "American Idol" contestant Lambert entered the chart at No. 3 this week with his latest record "The Original High," selling 47,000 units.
The Billboard 200 chart tallies album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).
Other new entries in the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart include former child star Duff's latest album "Breathe In. Breath Out" at No. 5, and FUN. frontman Nate Ruess's solo debut "Grand Romantic" at No. 7. Last week's chart-topper, "Drones" by British rockers Muse, dropped to No. 19 this week.
On the Digital Songs chart, which measures online sales, Swift's "Bad Blood" held steady at No. 1 with 173,000 downloads.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Marguerita Choy)