Thomas Makes Billboard History

Solo set soars straight to No. 1

Rob Thomas makes Billboard 200 chart history this week with "Something To Be" (Melisma/Atlantic), which debuts at No. 1 with 252,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. The Matchbox Twenty frontman is the first male artist from a pop or rock group to bow in the top slot with his first solo effort since the chart's introduction in 1955.

Thomas, whose first single "Lonely No More" is in its sixth week at No. 2 on Billboard's Adult Top 40 list, sends Mariah Carey's "The Emancipation of Mimi" (Island/IDMJ) to No. 2 on the album list. Carey's weekly sales drop 44% to 226,000.

This is Thomas' first visit to the summit. Matchbox Twenty's chart peak is No. 3 with "Mad Season" (Atlantic) in 2000. The group's best-selling album to date remains its 1996 debut, "Yourself or Someone Like You" with 8 million units.

Two debut acts make their Billboard 200 entrance at No. 3 and No. 4 respectively. With 181,000 copies, Mike Jones' major label debut "Who Is Mike Jones?" (Swishahouse/Asylum/Warner Bros.) takes the No. 3 slot, while Il Divo bows at No. 4 with their self-titled debut. The Sony pop/classical effort starts with 147,000 units.

50 Cent's "The Massacre" (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope) dips 3-5 on a 9% fall to 127,000 copies. That's still well ahead of Gwen Stefani's "Love, Angel, Music, Baby" (Interscope), despite the album’s 14% increase to 65,000. The set moves 9-6.

The Killer's "Hot Fuss" (Island) leaps 10-7 with a 15% boost to 63,000, while Green Day's "American Idiot" (Reprise) is steady at No. 8 with a 5% jump to 60,000. The 18th installment of "NOW That's What I Call Music!" dips 6% to 57,000 units and takes a 6-9 fall.

Sony's CD/DVD soundtrack, "Three 6 Mafia Presents: Choices II: The Set Up," rounds out the top tier with a No. 10 debut with 56,000 copies, while Motown’s "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" soundtrack enters at No. 19 with 38,000 units.

Columbia newcomer Anna Nalick debuts at No. 20 with "Wreck of the Day," earning 37,000 copies in her first week. Nalick's first single, "Breathe (2 A.M.)" climbs 9-7 on the Adult Top 40 chart this week.

At 10.2 million units, overall U.S. album sales were up 4% over last week, just slightly (1%) short of the same week last year. Year-to-date sales continue to trail those of 2004 by about 10% at 175 million units.