'Now 16' Dislodges Simpson From No. 1

The 16th installment of the "Now That's What I Call Music!" series leads The Billboard 200 this week with sales of 504,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The 16th installment of the "Now That's What I Call Music!" series leads The Billboard 200 this week with sales of 504,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Featuring 20 songs, 16 of which stem from albums still found on the big chart, the latest chapter scored the best sales week for the compilation line since 2001, when "Now 8" entered the chart at No. 2 with 550,000 copies. This is also the first No. 1 bow for the series since 2002's "Now 9."

With the top slot debut of the Universal/EMI/Sony Music/Zomba compilation, last week's No. 1, Ashlee Simpson's "Autobiography," falls to second place. Sales of the MTV reality show star's Geffen debut slipped 32% to 270,000 copies.

Amityville, N.Y.'s Taking Back Sunday debuts at No. 3 with its sophomore album, "Where You Want To Be." The set's first week sales of 163,000 copies are a Nielsen SoundScan record for the label. Taking Back Sunday's 2002 debut "Tell All Your Friends" appeared for just one week on The Billboard 200 at No. 183 almost a year after its opening. That album has sold 400,000 copies to date.

East Coast rap group Terror Squad's sophomore turn, "True Story" (Universal) is new at No. 7. Sales of 97,000 copies were fueled by the hit single "Lean Back," which is a contender for the top position on Billboard's Hot 100. The Fat Joe-led group's 1999 Mystic/Atlantic debut entered the album chart at No. 22 with sales of 54,000 copies and has moved 231,000 to date.

Kevin Lyttle bows at No. 8 on The Billboard 200 with his self-titled Atlantic debut. The St. Vincent Soca/R&B artist jumped to the same position on the Hot 100 last week with first single "Turn Me On" featuring Spragga Benz. With 84,000 copies, Lyttle becomes the first Soca artist to reach the top 10 of the Billboard 200; the set also enters the Top Reggae Albums chart at No. 1.

The intrusion of four new titles shuffles the rest of the top 10 of The Billboard 200. Jimmy Buffett's "License To Chill" (Mailboat/RCA) drops two places to No. 4 on a 21% slip to 117,000 copies, while Usher's "Confessions" (LaFace/Zomba) falls one to No. 5 on a 5% decline to 107,000 copies.

Despite a 9% increase, Gretchen Wilson's Epic debut "Here for the Party" falls one spot to No. 6 and Lloyd Banks' "The Hunger for More" (G Unit/Interscope) drops 6-9 on a 13% decline to 76,000 copies.

Slipping one position, Big & Rich manage to wrangle the last spot on a 2% gain to sales of 76,000 copies of their Warner Bros. debut, "Horse of a Different Color."

Country songstress Terri Clark earns the highest-charting album of her career with her first "Greatest Hits" compilation. Spanning a decade of such hits "Better Things To Do," "When Boy Meets Girl" and "If I Were You," the Mercury Nashville set enters The Billboard 200 at No. 14 with first-week sales of 62,000 copies. Clark's last studio set, "Pain To Kill," bowed at No. 27 in 2003 with 33,000 copies and has sold 277,000 to date.

Pearl Jam's latest concert release, "Live at Benaroya Hall" bows at No. 18 with sales of 52,000 copies. It's the Seattle rock act's first release since splitting with longtime label Epic last year. It's being made available in stores via the band's Ten Club fan organization and a distribution deal with BMG.

Rapper B.G. scores a No. 22 bow with his Choppa City/Koch album "Life After Cash Money." With 44,000 copies, he matches the opening week sales of last year's "Livin' Legend" (Choppa City/In the Paint/Koch), but comes in just shy of its No. 21 placing; that set has sold 236,000 to date.

A revamped version of Gavin DeGraw's J Records debut "Chariot" scores a better opening than the original. Featuring a second disc of 12 acoustic live performances, "Chariot - Stripped" moved 21,000 copies to grab the No. 56 slot. Last summer's original version of the set peaked at No. 103 and has sold 290,000 to date.

George Michael's "Patience" (Sony), up 144-51 on a 166% sales increase to 24,000 copies, is the Billboard 200's greatest gainer. A rerun of the artist's appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," the original airing of which pushed sales to earn him the greatest gainer crown 10 weeks ago, also nudged sales this time around.

Overall U.S. album sales were up 6.4% to 12.2 million, about 15% ahead of the comparable week last year. Sales for the year are ahead of 2003 by about 7%.