Packed With Hits, 'NOW 19' Bows At No. 1
The 19th "NOW That's What I Call Music!" installment -- boasting popular cuts by Gwen Stefani, Coldplay, the Killers and Gorillaz -- this week becomes the series' seventh No. 1 on The Billboard 200. TThe 19th "NOW That's What I Call Music!" installment -- boasting popular cuts by Gwen Stefani, Coldplay, the Killers and Gorillaz -- this week becomes the series' seventh No. 1 on The Billboard 200. The multi-label hits compilation sold 436,000 copies in the United States, according the Nielsen SoundScan, more than 300,000 above its closest competition.
The EMI Group/Universal/Sony BMG/Zomba/Capitol effort also fares better than the previous installment. Vol. 18, which included songs by U2, Snoop Dogg, Destiny's Child and Chingy, started at No. 2 with 338,000 units in March and has sold 1.2 million to date.
The Billboard 200 hosts two other top tier debuts this week, as Carly Simon notches her highest-charting album in more than 30 years and gospel act Mary Mary earns a career-best perch.
Simon's "Moonlight Serenade" enters at No. 7 with 58,000 units, her highest chart peak since 1974's No. 3 entry "Hotcakes" and her biggest sales week since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. Her fourth standards album and Columbia debut features songs like "I Only Have Eyes for You" and "I've Got You Under My Skin."
With sales of 57,000, Mary Mary's self-titled Columbia effort opens at No. 8 -- the duo's highest placing on The Billboard 200 and best sales week of its career. Their latest is led by the song "Heaven," which notches a ninth week atop the Hot Gospel Songs chart. Previously, the act went as high as No. 20 with 2002's "Incredible," which bowed with 43,000 and has sold 511,000 to date.
The No. 1 bow for "NOW 19" ends the two-week reign of R. Kelly's "TP.3 Reloaded" (Jive), which falls to No. 3 on a 40% slide to 83,000. Mariah Carey's "The Emancipation of Mimi" (Island/Def Jam) climbs 5-2 despite a 10% dip to 90,000 and Coldplay's "X&Y" (Capitol) holds steady at No. 4 for a second week with 81,000 units (-18%).
Bow Wow's "Wanted" (Columbia) drops 3-5 on a 49% plunge to 61,000, while the Black Eyed Peas' "Monkey Business (A&M/Interscope) rises 8-6 even though sales slipped 8% to 60,000.
Gorillaz's "Demon Days" (Parlophone/Virgin) moves into the top 10 with a 14-9 jump on a 10% boost to 56,000 copies while Foo Fighters' "In Your Honor" (RCA/Roswell) rebounds 11-10 despite a 10% sales fall to 53,000.
Atlanta quintet B5 makes its Billboard 200 debut this week at No. 19 thanks to sales of 44,000 copies of its self-titled Bad Boy bow. The group will hit the road for select dates on the upcoming Scream IV tour with Bow Wow, Omarion, Marques Houston and Bobby Valentino.
Other notable entries include the Columbia/Sony Music Soundtrax "Dukes of Hazzard" soundtrack at No. 33 with 27,000 copies and Virgin's "Jermaine Dupri Presents... Young Fly and Flashy, Vol. 1" at No. 43 with 21,000.
Overall U.S. album sales were down 1% from the previous week at 10.2 million units, about 10.5% off from the same week last year. Year-to-date sales lag about 8% behind 2004 at 314 million units.