'NOW 23' Trumps Groban, Urban, Sugarland At No. 1

In a heavy week for new releases, the 23rd installment of the "NOW That's What I Call Music" series trumps all others at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 after selling 337,000 copies in the United States, a

In a heavy week for new releases, the 23rd installment of the "NOW That's What I Call Music" series trumps all others at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 after selling 337,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. "NOW 23" is the 10th No. 1 for the popular album compilation series. This volume includes several Hot 100 No. 1 hits, including Fergie's "London Bridge" and Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack."

The biggest debut in the Sony BMG Strategic Marketing Group/EMI/Universal/Zomba series belongs to 2001's "NOW 7," which started at No. 1 with 621,000. The biggest sales week overall was claimed by 2000's "NOW 5" when it sold 688,000 during Christmas week of that year. The "NOW That's What I Call Christmas!" also enjoys a big boost this week, jumping 65-42 with an 83% sales increase to 27,000.

Josh Groban's "Awake" (143/Reprise) cracks the chart at No. 2, moving 270,000 units. While the number falls short of the 375,000 that greeted "Closer" in 2003, Groban still earns his best-charting debut week. "Closer" eventually reached No. 1 in its ninth week on the chart.

Country singer Keith Urban earns his best sales week ever, as his Capitol Nashville release "Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing" enters at No. 3 with 270,000. The set also bumps Kellie Pickler's "Small Town Girl" down from the throne on the Top Country Albums chart, becoming Urban's second No. 1 on that tally.

Fellow country act Sugarland's "Enjoy the Ride" (Mercury) bows at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and No. 2 on Top Country Albums thanks to sales of 211,000. The group's first album, 2004's "Twice the Speed of Life," peaked at No. 16 and No. 3 on those charts.

The soundtrack to Disney's "Hannah Montana" falls to No. 5 after two weeks on top, moving 131,000 copies (a sales decrease of 36%).

"Hustler's P.O.M.E. (Product of My Environment)" by Jim Jones via Diplomats enters at No. 6 with 106,000. It also vaults 66-1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally after street-date violations forced it onto the chart early last week. Jones' best charting set, "Harlem: Diary of a Summer," made its way to No. 5 in 2003.

Birdman and Lil Wayne's "Like Father, Like Son" (Cash Money) slips 3-7 with 72,000 (-59%) on the chart, while Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" (Arista/Arista Nashville) re-enters the top tier 19-8 with 72,000 (+59%) in its 52nd week. Justin Timberlake's Jive effort "FutureSex/LoveSounds" falls 5-9 with 68,000, a change of -22%.

The Dave Matthews Band retrospective "Best of What's Around: Vol. 01" (RMG/RCA) debuts at No. 10, selling 65,000. Just slightly behind is Andrea Bocelli's CD/DVD live package "Under the Desert Sky" (Sugar), which bows at No. 11. Other big debuts this week include the Foo Fighters' acoustic live album "Skin and Bones" (No. 21, 49,000, RCA) and J.J. Cale & Eric Clapton's "The Road to Escondido" (No. 34, 43,000, Reprise).

As the holiday shopping season fast approaches, several albums enjoy major revivals this week. Sarah McLachlan's seasonal "Wintersong" (58-31) and Brad Paisley's "Time Well Wasted" (61-34) both jump 27 positions, while Disney's "Cars" soundtrack explodes 126-47 on a 209% sales increase to 25,000 in the wake of the film's release on DVD. Following their big wins at last week's Country Music Awards, Brooks & Dunn's "Hillbilly Deluxe" zooms 174-58 on a 222% sales jump to 18,000.

In addition, Elton John's Island set "The Captain and the Kid" re-enters the chart at No. 69 thanks to a 330% sales increase to 16,000. The set dropped off The Billboard 200 for the issue dated Nov. 4, when it was No. 165 on the tally. The jump was driven by John's recent appearance promoting the album on QVC.

Overall CD sales are up 12% from last week's count and up less than 1% compared to the same week a year ago at 11.96 million units. Sales for 2006 are down 5% compared to 2005 at 456.2 million units.


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