Simpson's 'Autobiography' Soars To No. 1

Ashlee Simpson may have followed in the footsteps of her singer/reality show star sister Jessica, but she's the first in the family to notch a No. 1 album. The actor-turned-singer's Geffen debut," Aut

Ashlee Simpson may have followed in the footsteps of her singer/reality show star sister Jessica, but she's the first in the family to notch a No. 1 album. The actor-turned-singer's Geffen debut," Autobiography," bows on top of The Billboard 200 thanks to first week sales of 398,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The star of the WB series "7th Heaven" recently launched her own MTV reality series, "The Ashlee Simpson Show." Her sister stars with husband Nick Lachey, formerly of 98 Degrees, on the music channel's "Newlyweds."

Simpson co-wrote the 12 tracks on her first album, including debut single "Pieces of Me." That track rises to No. 3 on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 chart this week.

Sales of last week's No. 1, Jimmy Buffett's "License to Chill" (Mailboat/RCA), fell 38% to 148,000 copies, forcing it down to No. 2. Veteran rock act Van Halen's Warner Bros. compilation "The Best of Both Worlds" enters the tally at No. 3 with sales of 138,000 copies. The set pulls together highlights of the band's run with singer David Lee Roth and his replacement, Sammy Hagar.

The band's previous greatest hits project, "Best of Volume 1," debuted at No. 1 in 1996 with 233,000 copies, and has sold 3 million copies to date. Van Halen recently reunited with Hagar to launch a summer tour that plays the first of two shows in St. Louis tonight (July 28).

After a six-week run at No. 2, Usher drops two slots with his latest LaFace/Zomba set "Confessions," sales of which slid 10% to 113,000 copies. Gretchen Wilson's "Here For the Party" (Epic) holds at No. 5 on a miniscule .5% drop to 89,000 copies.

Lloyd Banks' former G Unit/Interscope chart-topper "The Hunger for More" dips 3-6 on a 10% decline to 88,000 copies, while fellow former No. 1 "Under My Skin" (Arista) by Avril Lavigne falls one to No. 7, despite a 10% spike to 87,000 copies.

Prince's "Musicology" (NPG/Columbia) rises to No. 8 on a 7% increase to 79,000 copies as Big & Rich's Warner Bros. debut, "Horse of a Different Color," falls two to No. 9 on a 5% drop to 74,000 copies. Rounding out the top tier is Hollywood Records' "A Cinderella Story" soundtrack, which dips one slot to No. 10 on sales of 71,000 copies.

Debuting just outside of the top 10 is R&B artist Lloyd's Def Jam solo debut "Southside," which arrives at No. 11 with 67,000 copies sold. After performing with teen pop group N-Toon for the 2000 DreamWorks album "Toon Time," Lloyd was recruited by Antonio "L.A." Reid. His pairing with R&B songstress Ashanti on the album's title track is a top-15 hit on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.

The Hives' Interscope debut, "Tyrannosaurus Hives," bows at No. 33 on The Billboard 200 with 33,000 copies sold. It's the highest-charting album on the big chart for the Swedish rock combo, which previously peaked at No. 63 with 2000's "Veni, Vidi, Vicious" (Epitaph/Sire/Warner Bros.); that set has sold 398,000 copies to date.

Making upward strides on the chart is Maroon 5's "Songs About Jane" (Octone/J), which is up seven slots to No. 20 on a 27% sales spike to 44,000 copies. The band's follow-up live EP "1.22.03.Acoustic" also gains, jumping 63-42 on a 34% increase to 25,000 copies.

Overall U.S. album sales for the week ending July 25 were up slightly (0.9%) to 11.5 million, about 6% ahead of the comparable week last year. Sales for the year are beating those of 2003 by about 7%.