Rod Stewart proves once again that blondes have more fun. With the J Records release of "Stardust ... The Great American Songbook, Vol. 3," the singer nabs his first No. 1 on The Billboard 200 since 1

Rod Stewart proves once again that blondes have more fun. With the J Records release "Stardust ... The Great American Songbook, Vol. 3," the singer nabs his first No. 1 on The Billboard 200 since 1978's "Blondes Have More Fun" (Warner Bros). His latest opens with U.S. sales of 240,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The new release helps boost sales of Stewart's previous two "American Songbook" albums. The 2002 set "It Had to Be You ... the Great American Songbook" moves 133-83 on a 57% sales increase from last week to 14,000 units. The 2003 follow-up, "As Time Goes By ... the Great American Songbook, Vol. 2," which re-entered The Billboard 200 last week at No. 108, moves to No. 66 on a 55% jump to 17,000. Together, the first two “Songbook” sets have sold 4.7 million units.

Nelly jumps 3-2 with "Suit" (Derrty/Fo' Reel/Universal), on a 6% increase to 153,000 copies. "Suit" leaves the simultaneously released "Sweat" in the dust: The latter drops 12-16.

George Strait's two-week reign at No. 1 with "50 Number Ones" (MCA Nashville) is cut short, as the set falls to No. 3 on a 25% drop to 142,000. It holds atop Billboard's Top Country Albums chart for a third week.

Though an expanded reissue has re-ignited Usher's "Confessions" (LaFace/Zomba), it drops 2-4 this week on a 21% slide to 139,000 units.

The press frenzy surrounding the premiere of the Ray Charles biopic "Ray" earns the R&B legend the Greatest Gainer honor, with a 61% increase to 99,000 units for "Genius Loves Company" (Concord/Hear Music). The set moves 13-5 on the strength of an Oct. 19 appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" by the film's star, Jamie Foxx, and an Oct. 17 Charles special on CBS' "60 Minutes." The film's Rhino soundtrack enters the chart this week at No. 23 with 37,000 copies.

At No. 6, Jimmy Eat World earns its highest position on The Billboard 200 with its first Interscope release, "Futures." With 99,000 units, the set fares better than the band’s previous self-titled DreamWorks album, which opened at No. 54 in 2001.

Brooks & Dunn debut at No. 7 with "The Greatest Hits Collection, Vol. 2" (Arista Nashville/RLG). The set -- No. 2 on Top Country Albums -- opens with 83,000 units. Another retrospective, "Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits" (Island/UTV), lands at No. 13 with 59,000.

Elliott Smith posthumously bows with his highest charting album and biggest sales week ever, as "From a Basement on the Hill" (Anti) opens at No. 19 with sales of 43,000. The singer/songwriter bests the opening of 2000's "Figure 8" (DreamWorks), which debuted at No. 99 and has sold 185,000 to date.

Pat Green's "Lucky Ones" (Republic) and Juvenile's "The Greatest Hits" (Cash Money) debut this week at No. 28 with 31,000 and No. 31 with 30,000, respectively.

Although overall U.S. album sales are slightly up from last week, on a 1% gain to 10.7 million units, they are about 6% lower than the comparable week last year. Total sales for the year to date are up about 4.8%, at 496 million units.