Country star Alan Jackson enjoys his third No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with the Arista Nashville album "What I Do." The set bows with U.S. sales of 178,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, ending
Country star Alan Jackson enjoys his third No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with the Arista Nashville album "What I Do." The set bows with U.S. sales of 178,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, ending the two-week reign of Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying" (Curb), which falls to No. 2 on a 33% slide from last week to 153,000. This is the first time in almost a decade that the big chart has seen one country act replace another in the top slot. "What I Do" also earns Jackson his ninth No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.
Jackson's best opening week came in 2002 with "Drive," which sold 423,000 copies for a No. 1 bow. That set stayed in the top slot for four consecutive weeks on the strength of "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," which held No. 1 on Hot Country Singles & Tracks for five weeks. The album has sold 3.5 million units to date.
It's a good week for veteran artists, as R&B songstress Anita Baker opens at No. 4 with her Blue Note debut, "My Everything." The singer's first studio set in 10 years sells 131,000 units in its first week. Her previous album, "Rhythm of Love" (Elektra), opened with 184,000 at No. 3 and has sold 1.9 million to date. Baker also grabs her fourth No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, as "My Everything" jumps 63-1. The album appeared on the chart a week early due to street-date violations.
Other than Jackson and Baker, the top tier of The Billboard 200 continues to experience significant sales declines. Ray Charles' posthumous "Genius Loves Company" (Concord/Hear Music) drops 2-3 on a 33% slide to 135,000 copies, while "NOW 16" (Universal/EMI/Sony Music/Zomba) holds onto No. 5 for a third week despite a 21% drop to 128,000. Though Ashlee Simpson's "Autobiography" (Geffen) rises 8-6, sales fall 21% to 89,000.
Last week's debuts by Jill Scott and LL Cool J -- which bowed at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively -- each experience a four-position drop. Scott's "Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds, Vol. 2" (Hidden Beach/A Touch of Jazz) slides 59% to 79,000, while LL Cool J's "The DEFinition" (Def Jam) drops 56% to 76,000.
R. Kelly's "Happy People/U Saved Me" (Jive/Zomba) falls 6-9, with sales down 44% to 71,000. Young Buck's "Straight Outta Ca$hville" (Interscope) rounds out the top 10 with a 40% drop to 68,000.
In the wake of last week's abundance of new titles on The Billboard 200, this week sees only one other newcomer in the top 50. New Jersey hardcore act Senses Fail enters at No. 34 with 26,000 units sold of its full-length Vagrant debut, "Let It Enfold You."
One of the few acts to see a sales increase this week, Britain's Keane grabs Greatest Gainer honors with a 33% gain to 13,000 units. The trio's Interscope debut, "Hopes and Fears," climbs 109-84 on the strength of its Sept. 6 performance on CBS' "The Late Show With David Letterman."
Overall U.S. album sales were down about 9.5% from last week to 10.3 million units, 0.5% higher than the same week last year. Sales for the year to date are beating those of 2003 by about 7%, at 431 million units.