Strait Arrow: '50 Number Ones' On Top Again

For a second week in a row, George Strait's "50 Number Ones" (MCA Nashville) is the No. 1 album on The Billboard 200. The set sold 190,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan,

For a second week in a row, George Strait's "50 Number Ones" (MCA Nashville) is the No. 1 album on The Billboard 200. The set sold 190,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, 45% less than its debut week. Despite the drop, the career-spanning collection also leads the Billboard Top Country Albums chart for another week.

Strait's sales were enough to remain ahead of Usher, whose reissued "Confessions" (LaFace/Zomba) saw sales slide 49% to 176,000 copies. Nonetheless, the title is No. 2 again this week.

With a 5-3 move, Nelly's "Suit" (Derrty/Fo'Reel/Universal) continues to prove itself more popular than the simultaneously released "Sweat." "Suit" is the chart's "Greatest Gainer" as it saw a 17% sales jump to 144,000 units, while sales of "Sweat" slid 2% to 62,000, keeping the disc locked at No. 12.

"Miracle," Celine Dion's lullaby collaboration with photographer Anne Geddes, is The Billboard 200's top debut at No. 4. The Epic set, which moved 107,000 copies in its first week, features an accompanying book of images by Geddes. The album's first single, a cover of John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy," is No. 31 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary airplay tally.

Dion's 2003 studio album "One Heart" opened at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 with 432,000 copies and has sold 1.7 million to date. The Canadian songstress boasts a career U.S. sales total of 46 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

At No. 5, rapper/actor Mos Def earns his highest Billboard 200 position ever with his first solo album in five years, "The New Danger." The Geffen set sold 95,000 copies in its first week, while his 1999 Rawkus debut, "Black on Both Sides," bowed at No. 25 with 54,000. That set has a to-date total of 618,000.

The top 10's last slot is occupied by Sum 41's sophomore Island/IDJMG effort "Chuck." First-week sales of 66,000 units were enough to give the pop/punk act its highest bow on The Billboard 200. Its 2002 album "Does This Look Infected?" started at No. 32 with 77,000 copies; it has sold 617,000 to date.

Outside of Nelly's uptick and a slight 0.3% rise to 67,000 copies moved for Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying" (Curb) -- which remains No. 9 for a second week -- the rest of the top 10 experienced a sales slide.

Hilary Duff's self-titled Buena Vista/Hollywood record remains at No. 6 for a second week despite a 12% drop to 86,000. Green Day's "American Idiot" (Reprise/Warner Bros.) and Good Charlotte's "The Chronicles of Life and Death" (Epic/Daylight) are tied with identical sales figures a little north of 73,000 units, but a 15% slide allows "Idiot" a rest at No. 7 for a second week, while a 63% drop causes "Chronicles" to fall 3-8.

Iconic new wave act Duran Duran's "Astronaut" (Epic) enters The Billboard 200 at No. 17 with sales of 54,000 units, the reunited bands highest chart position in 11 years. Its 1993 self-titled set, known as "The Wedding Album" (Capitol), bowed at No. 7 with 79,000 and for now remains the group's best-selling effort in the SoundScan era with a to-date total of 1.5 million.

"Astronaut" marks a significant rise from the last album credited to Duran Duran, 2000's "Pop Trash" (Hollywood). The set -- which featured only singer Simon LeBon and keyboardist Nick Rhodes from the original lineup, along with latter era guitarist Warren Cuccurullo -- had opening week sales of 11,000 copies and crept onto the chart at No. 135.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "The Lost Christmas Eve" (Lava, 32,000) and Amy Grant's "Greatest Hits: 1986-2004" (A&M, 23,000) round out the top 50 debuts at No. 26 and No. 48, respectively.

Farther down, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" can once again be credited for fueling a big jump on The Billboard 200. Martina McBride's 2003 RCA set "Martina" shoots 154-61 on a 148% gain to sales of 18,000 following an Oct. 11 appearance on the show. The country artist performed "In My Daughter's Eyes" for the daytime series' "World's Biggest Surprise Baby Shower" episode, where Winfrey hosted a party for 640 expectant mothers.

At 10.6 million units, overall U.S. album sales were down 3.5% from the previous week, and about 13% lower than the same week last year. Sales for the year remain ahead of 2003 by about 5% at 485 million units.


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