The top three of the Billboard 200 remains steady, with Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" still at No. 1 ... Motley Crue crashes the party at No. 4 with its best sales week since 1991 as "Saints of Los Angeles" takes a bow ... Three 6 Mafia grabs a No. 5 debut while rock band Shinedown glows with a No. 8 entry ... With the year half over, we take a look at the first six months of 2008 and tally up the biggest sellers ... In Progress Reports, we've got updates on Kid Rock's continued sales surge, how Al Green and BET make a lovely couple and the late George Carlin's entrance on Top Pop Catalog Albums with one of his most famous albums.


FLASH POINTS

• If you liked last week's top three albums, you'll love this week's top three. Nos. 1-3 on the Billboard 200 chart remain static as Coldplay's "Viva La Vida," Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" and the soundtrack to Disney Channel's "Camp Rock" hold court for a second frame. It's the first time the top three has held steady since the Dec. 29, 2007, chart, when Josh Groban's "Noel," Alicia Keys' "As I Am" and Eagles' "Long Road out of Eden" were Nos. 1-3 for a second week.

• Coldplay's "Viva" shifts 249,000 in its second week, down 66% from its 721,000 start last week. The soundtrack to "Camp Rock" (169,000) is off a comparably tiny 10% in its second week as the Jonas Brothers-fueled album continues to set tweens' iPods aflutter.

• With half the year over, 26 albums have sold at least 500,000 in 2008, with three of those shifting more than 1 million copies. Leading the way -- after only being available for three weeks -- is Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" with 1,526,000. Jack Johnson's "Sleep Through the Static," released in February, is in second (1,248,000). Mariah Carey's April offering "E=MC2" is third with 1,063,000. Two more albums will likely cross the million mark soon -- Alicia Keys' 2007 set "As I Am" (986,000 sold in 2008) and Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" (971,000 after only two weeks).

• The first half of 2007 saw 29 albums sell 500,000 or more, with six of those doing at least 1 million. Daughtry's self-titled record was tops with 1,731,000. Of the six million-sellers, four were 2006 releases that continued to sell strong into 2007. Those were the aforementioned Daughtry set, Akon's "Konvicted," Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" and Robin Thicke's "The Evolution of Robin Thicke."

• Album sales year to date stand at 204.6 million, compared with 229.8 million sold through the midpoint of 2007. Year-to-date digital track sales are at 542.7 million compared to 417.3 million for the first half of 2007.

• The Hot Shot Debut this week on the Billboard 200 belongs to veteran act Motley Crue, whose new studio album "Saints of Los Angeles" bows at No. 4 with 99,000. That's the highest-charting set for the Crue since "Generation Swine" also started at No. 4 back in 1997. Even better for the band -- the 99,000 bow of "Saints" represents the biggest sales week for the act since Christmas week of 1991, when its hits package "Decade of Decadence" sold 121,000 ... The band is headlining the Crue Fest tour, which kicked off yesterday (July 1) in West Palm Beach, Fla. A companion Crue Fest compilation album also debuts this week at No. 107 on the Billboard 200 with 7,000.

• Rap act Three 6 Mafia takes a bow at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 with "Last 2 Walk," selling 77,000. The duo's last studio set, 2005's "Most Known Unknown," debuted at No. 3 with 125,000 ... A couple steps below the Mafia is rock band Shinedown celebrating its highest-charting album yet and its biggest sales week, as "The Sound of Madness" debuts at No. 8 with 50,000. The group's previous high-water mark was when "Us and Them" started at No. 23 with 47,000 in 2005.

• Icelandic band Sigur Ros slides in at No. 15 with "Med Sud I Eyrum Vio Spilum Endalaust" (32,000). It's a new chart peak for the act, which had only gotten as high as No. 27 with "Takk . . ." in 2005. It's not the best sales week for Sigur Ros though, as the debut of "Takk . . ." exceeded that of "Med" by approximately 1,000 copies . . . At No. 21 on the Billboard 200 this week, Cute Is What We Aim For's "Rotation" spins with 23,000 in its first frame. Its last album, "The Same Old Blood Rush With a New Touch," spent three weeks on the chart, debuting and peaking at No. 75 with 14,000.




The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 1 COLDPLAY Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends (Capitol ) 11 5 PLIES Definition Of Real (Big Gates / Slip-N-Slide / Atlantic / AG)
2 2 LIL WAYNE Tha Carter III (Cash Money / Universal Motown / UMRG) *12 16 KID ROCK Rock N Roll Jesus (Top Dog / Atlantic / AG)
3 3 SOUNDTRACK Camp Rock (Walt Disney ) 13 9 KATY PERRY One Of The Boys (Capitol )
*4 New MOTLEY CRUE Saints Of Los Angeles (Motley / Eleven Seven) *14 19 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
*5 New THREE 6 MAFIA Last 2 Walk (Hypnotize Minds / Columbia / Sony Music) *15 New SIGUR ROS Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust (XL / Beggars Group)
6 4 VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 28 (EMI / Sony BMG / Universal / Zomba / Capitol) 16 17 LEONA LEWIS Spirit (SYCO / J / RMG)
7 6 USHER Here I Stand (LaFace / Zomba) 17 12 JOURNEY Revelation (Nomota )
*8 New SHINEDOWN The Sound Of Madness (Atlantic / AG) 18 18 DUFFY Rockferry (Mercury / IDJMG)
9 8 DISTURBED Indestructible (Reprise / Warner Bros.) 19 14 3 DOORS DOWN 3 Doors Down (Universal Republic / UMRG)
10 7 RIHANNA Good Girl Gone Bad (SRP / Def Jam / IDJMG) 20 13 WEEZER Weezer (DGC / Interscope / IGA)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week




MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 7.66 million units
• DOWN 7.6% from last issue's charts: 8.29 million units
• DOWN 13.2% from same week, 2007: 8.83 million units
• This week: The top three albums each sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on the Billboard 200: The "Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus" album blew in at No. 1 with 326,000. Kelly Clarkson's "My December" started at No. 2 with 291,000 while the previous week's No. 1, Bon Jovi's "Lost Highway," dropped 57% in its second week to arrive at No. 3 with 125,000. Only the top three albums sold more than 100,000.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 200 album this week, the "Now 28" compilation (EMI/Sony BMG Strategic Marketing Group/Universal/Zomba/Capitol), sold 3,000.
• The No. 200 album for the same week of 2007, Peter Bjorn and John's "Writer's Block" (AlmostGold), sold 4,000.
• Average total of the No. 200 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1999-2008): 5,296.


PROGRESS REPORTS

• Kid Rock's "Rock N Roll Jesus" notches its 11th consecutive weekly sales increase as it glides from No. 16 to No. 12 with Greatest Gainer honors on the Billboard 200 this week (36,000; up 25%). It's the album's best sales frame since Christmas week 2007. On our radio charts, Rock's single "All Summer Long" keeps climbing. It moves 19-18 on Hot AC/Adult Top 40, 25-21 on the CHR/Top 40 chart and 57-53 on Hot Country Songs.

• The June 27 "BET Awards" help out Al Green, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award during the show, as his two albums on the Billboard 200 make gains. His latest, "Lay It Down," rises from No. 69 to No. 57 (10,000) with a 7% gain. Green's hits set "The Definitive Collection" re-enters the Billboard 200 at No. 162 with 4,000 (up 62%). On the "BET Awards," Green took the stage and sang two songs after a trio of tribute performances from Jill Scott, Anthony Hamilton and surprise guest Maxwell.

• On Top Pop Catalog Albums, the late George Carlin's "Class Clown" debuts at No. 42 with 3,000. The album is home to Carlin's most famous routine, "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" ... On July 29, Carlin's new album, "It's Bad for Ya," will be released. The set was recorded in Santa Rosa, Calif., and the TV special of the same name aired March 1 on HBO. It has five encore broadcasts scheduled in July on HBO's sister network HBO Comedy.



A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: John Mayer's "Where the Light Is," G-Unit's "T.O.S.: (Terminate on Sight)," Vanessa Hudgens' "Identified," My Chemical Romance's "The Black Parade Is Dead" and Alkaline Trio's "Agony and Irony."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2007 when: T.I.'s "T.I. Vs. T.I.P." bowed atop the chart with 468,000 while the previous week's No. 1, the "Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus" album, slipped to No. 2 with 188,000 (down 42%). Only the top three albums sold more than 100,000.