Jackson 'Drives' Straight To No. 1

Alan Jackson's "Drive" (Arista Nashville) speeds to the top of The Billboard 200 after selling a potent 423,000 units -- the highest January debut in the SoundScan era -- and bounces Creed's "Weathere

Alan Jackson's "Drive" (Arista Nashville) speeds to the top of The Billboard 200 after selling a potent 423,000 units -- the highest January debut in the SoundScan era -- and bounces Creed's "Weathered" (Wind-Up) to No. 2 after eight weeks at the top. "Drive," which also opens at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, marks Jackson's best-ever showing on the charts.

The numbers for "Drive" are a mighty improvement over the 87,000 first-week tally posted by Jackson's 2000 set "When Somebody Loves You," which arrived at No. 15 on The Billboard 200. Jackson scored his previous one-week high back in 1995 with his "The Greatest Hits Collection," a 318,000 unit pre-Christmas seller.

The success of "Drive" was steered by Jackson's popular Sept. 11-inspired single, "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," which was No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for five weeks before surrendering the position to Steve Holy's "Good Morning Beautiful" this week.

The rest of The Billboard 200 remains relatively consistent from last week, thanks to the expected slow-moving sales associated with the post-holiday season. Creed's "Weathered" suffered a tiny 7% decline to 128,000 units in its drop to No. 2, while Linkin Park's "[Hybrid Theory]" (Warner Bros.) slides slightly more than 6% to 93,000 units, and settles in at No. 3. Usher's consistent "8701" (Arista) rebounds four slots to jump back into the top-10 at No. 8, while Puddle Of Mudd's "Come Clean" (Flawless/Geffen/Interscope) scoots up 22-18 on a 2% sales bump.

The only other debut in the top-50 comes from country stalwart Willie Nelson, whose Lost Highway set "The Great Divide" lands at No. 43. Nelson's "Milk Cow Blues" (Island) debuted at No. 83 in October 2000. The Columbia soundtrack to "Orange County," fueled by new cuts from Offspring and the Foo Fighters, blasts 82-62 on The Billboard 200, and Holy's "Blue Moon" (Curb) shoots 120-97 on a 16% sales hike.

Nas "Stillmatic" (Ill Will/Columbia) reigns for a fifth straight week on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally, where Yolanda Adams' "Believe" (Elektra) skips 12-8, still fueled by her American Music Awards appearance two weeks ago.

Usher's "U Got It Bad" rules The Billboard Hot 100 for a second straight week, and fourth overall, besting Nickelback's "How You Remind Me," at No. 2, with more spins at radio. "U Got It Bad," however, is stuck at No. 3 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, losing in urban markets to Michael Jackson's "Butterflies" and Ja Rule's "Always on Time" featuring Ashanti, the latter of which is No. 1 for a fifth straight week.

Meanwhile, Brandy's "What About Us" slides up to No. 8 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks count after only three weeks. The cut is also the fastest-growing track at radio on the Hot 100, where is soars 42-22.

No Doubt's "Hey Baby" featuring Bounty Killer brings the group its first top-10 single on the Hot 100, hopping 12-10 on the strength of its radio play. Alanis Morissette's "Hands Clean" is the chart's top debut, blasting its way to No. 65. Her forthcoming album, "Under Rug Swept," will be released Feb. 26 by Maverick. Other notable debuts on the Hot 100 include Aaliyah's "More Than a Woman" at No. 71, Rascal Flats' "I'm Movin' On" at No. 77, and DMX's "I Miss You" featuring Faith Evans at No. 96.

The Hot 100's fastest-growing track at retail is Corey's "Hush Lil' Lady" featuring Lil Romeo, which rises 96-87. George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" re-enters the Hot 100 at No. 94, 31 years after its initial run, and is this week's second-strongest selling single. Earlier this week, the reissued song rocketed to No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart.

Puddle Of Mudd's "Blurry" begins its second straight week atop Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks tally, and Creed's "My Sacrifice" holds for an eighth week in a row fronting Billboard's Mainstream Rocks Tracks chart.