Dion's 'New Day' Debuts On Top

Celine Dion scores her first No. 1 debut on The Billboard 200 this week with "A New Day Has Come." The Epic set storms to the top of the chart on the strength of 527,000 copies sold in its first week,

Celine Dion scores her first No. 1 debut on The Billboard 200 this week with "A New Day Has Come." The Epic set storms to the top of the chart on the strength of 527,000 copies sold in its first week, according to SoundScan, bumping the latest volume in the Universal/EMI/Zomba/Sony "NOW! That's What I Call Music" series down to No. 2. Impressively, that 20-track hits set managed a 10% increase to 463,000 units in its second week.

Though "A New Day Has Come" is Dion's fourth overall No. 1 album, it's the first time the singer has ever opened at the top. The album does so by easily setting a first-week sales record for a release by the Canadian diva, as neither 1997's "Let Talk About Love" nor 1999's "All the Way ... A Decade of Song," topped 340,000 units. The album's title track is at No. 38 on the Hot 100.

Three other titles debut inside the top-10 on The Billboard 200, led by the latest World Wrestling Federation compilation "Forceable Entry" (Columbia). The album, featuring selections from Kid Rock, Creed, Limp Bizkit, and Marilyn Manson, among others, careens to No. 3 on sales of 146,000 units. The entry is in line with previous WWF sets, such as Koch's fifth volume in the "WWF The Music" line, which opened at No. 2 in March 2001, and the Priority set "Aggression," which debuted at No. 8 in spring 2000.

Avant's sophomore effort "Ecstasy" (Magic Johnson/MCA) blasts to No. 6 after selling 122,000 units. His single "Makin' Good Love" moves 12-11 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks count. The R&B singer's debut, "My Thoughts," topped out at No. 45 in 2000, but has sold 955,000 units to date, according to SoundScan. "Ecstasy" bows at No. 2 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, behind R. Kelly & Jay-Z's "The Best of Both Worlds" (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam). The latter falls two slots to No. 4 on The Billboard 200 after suffering a 38% decrease to 138,000 units in its second week at retail.

Also new in the top-10, arriving at No. 8, is the Universal soundtrack to "The Scorpion King," featuring System Of A Down, Godsmack, and P.O.D., among others. The album is out in advance of the third in the series of "Mummy" films, which opens April 19 in U.S. theaters.

Other notable newcomers on The Billboard 200 this week include Australian inspirational rock act the Newsboys with "Thrive" (Sparrow) at No. 38, hard rock supergroup Down with "Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow..." (Elektra) at No. 44, and Connecticut-based hardcore outfit Hatebreed with "Perseverance" (Universal) at No. 50. Country star George Strait arrives at No. 76 with "The Best of George Strait: 20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection" (MCA Nashville); the set debuts at No. 8 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart.

Hip-hop act Ying Yang Twins lands at No. 79 on The Billboard 200 with "Alley: The Return of the Ying Yang Twins," but the album is a major success in urban markets, soaring all the way to No. 9 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums count. The Baha Men's S-Curve/Capitol set, "Move It Like This," bows at No. 95 on The Billboard 200.

The Lost Highway/Mercury soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" -- which falls 3-5 on The Billboard 200 -- begins its 31st non-consecutive week at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums and Top Soundtracks charts. On Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks roundup, Chris Cagle's "I Breathe In, I Breathe Out," knocks Martina McBride's "Blessed" out of the top slot and down to No. 3, behind Toby Keith's "My List," which leapfrogs 4-2.

Leading the Hot 100 for a sixth week is Jennifer Lopez's "Ain't It Funny" featuring Ja Rule, holding off two cuts featuring Ashanti. Fat Joe's "What's Love" featuring Ashanti is at No. 2, while Ashanti's own "Foolish" is at No. 3, and is the fastest-growing track at radio. A mighty debut is expected next week from Ashanti's self-titled Murder Inc./Def Jam debut, which is already at No. 68 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart due to street-date violations.

Ashanti's "Foolish" is No. 1 for a third week on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally, fending off Usher's "U Don't Have To Call" at No. 2 and Tweet's "Oops (Oh My) at No. 3. The latter's "Southern Hummingbird" (The Gold Mind/Elektra) also makes a dent on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart due to street-date violations, fluttering in at No. 97.

The Hot 100's fastest-growing track at retail is Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles," which hops 16-13. Her A&M/Interscope set "Be Not Nobody" is slated for an April 30 release.

The top debut on the Hot 100 is Sheryl Crow's "Soak Up the Sun," which features a cameo from perennial indie rock darling Liz Phair. Crow's "C'mon, C'mon" (A&M/Interscope) is due April 16. Other notable debuts include Lil' Bow Wow's "Take Ya Home" at No. 75, Ja Rule's "Down A** Chick" at No. 98, and Big Tymers' "Still Fly" at No. 99.

Reinvigorated rock act Jimmy Eat World leaps 3-1 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks count with its self-esteem booster "The Middle," sending P.O.D.'s "Youth of the Nation" down to No. 2. Puddle Of Mudd, meanwhile, begins its ninth-straight week at the top of Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks tally with "Blurry."

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