John Mayer scores his first No. 1 album with "Heavier Things," as the Aware/Columbia set debuts atop The Billboard 200 with first week sales of 316,500 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundSc

John Mayer scores his first No. 1 album with "Heavier Things," as the Aware/Columbia set debuts atop The Billboard 200 with first week sales of 316,500 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. Previously the singer/songwriter hadn't been higher than No. 8 on the chart, a peak reached earlier this year by his 2001 album "Room for Squares."

"Squares" saw a slow build, debuting down at No. 194 upon its release. Thanks to non-stop touring and the success of such singles as "Your Body Is a Wonderland" and "No Such Thing," the album went on to sell around 3 million copies. Its best sales week came during the holiday season of 2002, when it moved 122,500 in one week. "Bigger Than My Body," the first single from "Heavier Things" is No. 34 on the Top 40 Mainstream chart published by Billboard's sister publication Airplay Monitor.

Teen star Hilary Duff's "Metamorphosis" falls 1-2 on 17% sales dip to 107,000 copies. The Buena Vista album enjoyed one week at the pinnacle of The Billboard 200 and has sold 440,000 copies in its three weeks of release.

"Seal IV" docks at No. 3 with sales of 82,000 copies. The total bests that of the R&B star's last Warner Bros. effort, "Human Being," which entered The Billboard 200 at No. 22 on the strength of 74,000 copies at the height of the 1998 holiday season. It went on to sell 489,000 copies, his only album that has not topped sales of 500,000 copies.

Alan Jackson's "Greatest Hits Volume II" falls one to No. 4 on a 26% sales dip to 79,000 units. The Arista Nashville set has sold 780,000 copies in its five weeks on the chart. Beyonce's "Dangerously in Love" (Columbia) also falls one to No. 5 on a 15% sales hit (74,000 copies). Holding at No. 6 is "The Neptunes Presents ... Clones" (Star Trak/Arista), which endured a 25% sales drop (60,100).

Evanescence's Wind-Up debut, "Fallen," falls 5-7; sales were down 26% to 60,000 copies. Mary J. Blige's "Love & Life" (Geffen) tumbles 2-8 in its third week as sales fell 45% to 59,000 copies. In three weeks, the album has sold about 759,000 units.

Sales of Chingy's "Jackpot" (Capitol) are down 14% to 58,000 units and the album drops 7-9. The soundtrack to "Bad Boys II" (Bad Boy/Universal) falls one to round out the top-10, withstanding a 14.4% sales drop to 53,000 units.

Rapper E-40 arrives at No. 16 with "Breakin News" (Sick Wid It/Jive), on sales of 41,000 copies. Veteran metal act Iron Maiden also arrives in the top-20 with "Dance of Death." The Columbia set sold 40,000 units to bow at No. 18.

Also new to The Billboard 200 this week is the eighth effort from country artist Clay Walker. "A Few Questions," Walker's RCA debut, gives the artist his best sales week on the tally with 34,000 copies, helping the set land at No. 23.

Two major deaths in the music world last week also had a large impact on this week's chart. Warren Zevon's final studio album, "The Wind" (Artemis), jumped 40-12 in its third week on the tally on a 106% sales burst to 47,000 copies. Similarly, Johnny Cash's "American IV: The Man Comes Around" is up 94-22 on a 203% sales increase to 35,000 units.

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