Grammy Surge Pushes 'O Brother' To The Top

Just two weeks after generating a host of Grammy victories, the Lost Highway/Mercury soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" claims the No. 1 spot on The Billboard 200. The set manages the feat 63

Just two weeks after generating a host of Grammy victories, the Lost Highway/Mercury soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" claims the No. 1 spot on The Billboard 200. The set manages the feat 63 weeks after debuting at No. 192, fending off Brandy's "Full Moon" (Atlantic/AG), which debuts at No. 2 on sales of 155,000 copies, according to SoundScan.

With 159,000 units, sales of the "O Brother" set were actually down 24% from the previous week, when, in the days following the Grammys, the album stormed 15-2 on a mighty 258% sales increase. Nonetheless, with its chart-topping move, the album sets a SoundScan era endurance record. Since 1991, the longest march to No. 1 on The Billboard 200 had been achieved by Live, whose "Throwing Copper" (Radioactive) took 52 weeks to hit the top. Of course, "O Brother" is no stranger to the No. 1 position, as it enters its 28th non-consecutive week at the lead of Billboard's Top Country Albums tally.

As for Brandy, her No. 2 entry ties the peak of her previous set, "Never Say Never," but pulled in a slightly lower sales figure. That 1998 effort opened with sales of 160,000 units, and has gone on to sell more than 4.4 million copies to date. "Full Moon" arrives on the heels of a long-running hit single, "What About Us?," which is No. 9 on both The Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally, where it has been as high as No. 7 and No. 3, respectively.

"Full Moon" lands at No. 1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally, holding Ludacris' "Word of Mouf" (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam South) in the No. 2 slot for a third week. Last week's No. 1, "The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin" (Centric/Zomba), slides down to No. 4, behind the new version Mary J. Blige's MCA set "No More Drama," which bounces up two slots to No. 3. Nappy Roots' Atlantic debut "Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz" falls two to round out the top-5 of the top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

As for other newcomers on The Billboard 200, Christian rock outfit Jars Of Clay's "theeleventhhour" (Essential/Silvertone/Zomba) bows at No. 28. The band's career-best first week came with the No. 8 entry in 1997 of "Much Afraid." Natalie Imbrugulia dents The Billboard 200 at No. 35 with "White Lilies Island" (RCA), a ways off from the No. 10 arrival of "Left of the Middle" in 1998.

Ozzy Osbourne can thank MTV for giving a boost to his Epic release "Down to Earth," which flies back into the top-100 with a 145-93 jump. The set, which debuted last November at No. 4, benefits from the exposure Osbourne has received from his unscripted MTV series "The Osbournes." The series' March 5 debut episode was seen in 2.3 million U.S. households, according to Nielsen research, the highest rating for a premiere in MTV's two-decade history.

Elsewhere on The Billboard 200, new age pianist John Tesh's "A Deeper Faith" (Faith MD/Garden City) rises 151-56 in its second week of release, while jazz vocalist Norah Jones' "Come Away with Me" (Blue Note) jumps 139-92, also in its second week. Last week, Tesh kicked off a U.S. tour, while Jones has been playing the talk show circuit.

Last week's chart topper, Alanis Morissette's "Under Rug Swept" (Maverick), suffered a 44% sales decline to 120,000 units, and falls to No. 3 on The Billboard 200. Yet her single "Hands Clean" saw a slight increase in radio play, helping bring the cut up three slots to No. 23 on The Billboard Hot 100.

For a third straight week, Jennifer Lopez' "Ain't It Funny" featuring Ja Rule leads the Hot 100, once again holding Ja Rule's "Always on Time" featuring Ashanti to No. 2. In urban markets, however, it's Tweet's "Oops (Oh My)" that's leading the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally for a third week in a row.

The Hot 100's fastest-growing track at radio is Ashanti's "Foolish," which moves up 20-11. The cut also jumps two positions on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks to land at No. 4. The Hot 100's fastest-growing track at retail is Corey's "Hush Lil' Lady" featuring Lil' Romeo, which scoots up 81-78. The top debut on the chart comes from the Goo Goo Dolls with "Here Is Gone" at No. 63. Other notable debuts include Avant's "Makin' Good Love" at No. 74, Musiq's "Halfcrazy" at No. 81, and Angie Stone's "Wish I Didn't Miss You" at No. 92.

There's no change of the guard on Billboard's rock airplay charts, as Puddle Of Mudd's "Blurry" enters its sixth-straight week at No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks tally and its ninth in charge of the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

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