Alicia Keys' "As I Am" debuts with 742,000 at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 -- the best sales week for a solo female artist since Norah Jones' "Feels Like Home" started with a million in 2004 ... Keys is only the third act to see their first four albums debut atop The Billboard 200 ... The latest "Now" compilation starts in the top 10, as does Celine Dion's new studio effort and Led Zeppelin's hits set "Mothership" ... Other big-named talent bowing on The Billboard 200 this week include George Strait, the Killers, James Taylor, Boyz II Men, Trisha Yearwood, Goo Goo Dolls, Duran Duran, Seal, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and the Hives.


FLASH POINTS


• Alicia Keys' "As I Am" becomes the singer's fourth consecutive album to debut at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with a whopping 742,000. Keys is only the third act to see their first four albums debut atop The Billboard 200. Britney Spears did it with her first four releases between 1999 and 2003 while DMX's first five albums all started at No. 1 between 1998 and 2003 ... Keys' 742,000 opener represents the biggest sales week for a solo female artist since Norah Jones' "Feels Like Home" debuted with a million in 2004. Keys' last release, 2005's "Unplugged," bowed at No. 1 with 196,000. Her first two studio albums, 2001's "Songs In A Minor" and 2003's "The Diary of Alicia Keys," also started at No. 1 with 236,000 and 618,000 units, respectively.

• There's no shortage of big albums that debut on The Billboard 200 this week, with A-list acts crowding the upper part of the big chart. But some holdover releases, like Josh Groban's Christmas album "Noel," continue to do strong business. It moves to No. 2 with 223,000 (up 93%). Groban could make a dash for No. 1 after his surprise appearance on the favorite things edition of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (Nov. 20). If Groban does jump to No. 1, it will be the first time a Christmas set has reached the pole position since Kenny G's "Miracles - The Holiday Album" in 1994.

Celine Dion's return to the pop scene, "Taking Chances," bows at No. 3 with 214,000. Her last proper studio album was 2003's "One Heart," which started at No. 2 with 432,000. (Since then she has released a number of French-language sets, a live album from her Las Vegas show and a concept album with baby photographer Anne Geddes.) ... The "Now 26" compilation begins at No. 4 with 208,000. It's the third lowest opening sum for the regular "Now" line of albums ... A few steps down the chart, Led Zeppelin's "Mothership" hits collection bows with 136,000 at No. 7. Digital downloads of the album accounted for 25% of the set's first week sales. The band's catalog debuted digitally on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Over on Top Digital Albums, the iTunes-exclusive "The Complete Led Zeppelin" set, priced at $99.99, debuts at No. 12 with nearly 5,000.

• Actor/comedian Dane Cook's "Rough Around the Edges: Live From Madison Square Garden," bows at No. 11 on The Billboard 200 and at No. 1 on Top Comedy Albums with 90,000. His last set, 2005's "Retaliation," made history when it became the highest debuting comedy album in the history of The Billboard 200 when it bowed at No. 4. That effort started with 86,000 ... The Killers' b-sides and rarities compilation "Sawdust" enters The Billboard 200 at No. 12 with 82,000. It's led by the single "Shadowplay" (a cover of the 1979 Joy Division song), which rises to No. 22 on the Alternative/Modern Rock radio chart this week ... George Strait's latest hits set, "22 More Hits," starts at No. 13 on The Billboard 200 with 80,000. Over on Top Country Albums, it bows at No. 4. The release is a quasi-sequel to Strait's successful "50 Number Ones" compilation in 2004. That two-disc album entered both The Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums at No. 1 with 343,000 ... James Taylor's live CD/DVD release, "One Man Band," starts at No. 17 on The Billboard 200 with 63,000. The set is buoyed by sales from Home Shopping Network, Starbucks and Hear Music, in addition to traditional retail outlets. It's his fourth consecutive top 20 album, following 2002's "October Road" (No. 4), 2003's "The Best of James Taylor" and 2006's "James Taylor at Christmas" (No. 16).

• Other high debuts in this busy chart week include Boyz II Men's covers album "Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville U.S.A." (No. 27 with 42,000), Trisha Yearwood's "Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love" (No. 30 with 33,000), Goo Goo Dolls' "Greatest Hits, Volume 1, The Singles" (No. 33 with 33,000), Seal's "System" (No. 35 with 30,000), Duran Duran's "Red Carpet Massacre" (No. 36 with 29,000), Aretha Franklin's "Jewels in the Crown" (No. 54 with 20,000), the compilation "Now Party Hits" (No. 60 with 18,000), Hives' "Black and White Album" (No. 65 with 17,000) and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's "T.H.U.G.S." (No. 73 with 15,000).



The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New ALICIA KEYS As I Am (MBK / J / RMG) *11 New DANE COOK Rough Around The Edges: Live From Madison Square Garden (Comedy Central )
*2 6 JOSH GROBAN Noel (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.) *12 New THE KILLERS Sawdust (Island / IDJMG)
*3 New CELINE DION Taking Chances (Columbia / Sony Music) *13 New GEORGE STRAIT 22 More Hits (MCA Nashville / UMGN)
*4 New VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 26 (EMI / Sony BMG Strategic Marketing Group / Universal / Zomba / Capitol) *14 11 SOUNDTRACK High School Musical 2 (Walt Disney )
5 3 GARTH BROOKS The Ultimate Hits (Pearl ) *15 20 MILEY CYRUS Hannah Montana 2 (Soundtrack)/Meet Miley Cyrus (Walt Disney / Hollywood )
6 2 EAGLES Long Road Out Of Eden (ERC ) 16 8 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
*7 New LED ZEPPELIN Mothership (Swan Song / Atlantic) *17 New JAMES TAYLOR One Man Band (Starcon / Hear)
8 1 JAY-Z American Gangster (Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam / IDJMG) 18 15 COLBIE CAILLAT Coco (Universal Republic / UMRG)
9 5 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Carnival Ride (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG/SBN) *19 28 MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER Christmas Song (American Gramaphone )
10 4 CHRIS BROWN Exclusive (Jive / Zomba) 20 12 REBA MCENTIRE Reba Duets (MCA Nashville / UMGN)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week




MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 11.72 million units
• UP 17.9% from last issue's charts: 9.94 million units
• DOWN 6.2% from same week, 2006: 12.49 million units
• This week: The top 10 albums sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on The Billboard 200: the Game's "Doctor's Advocate" bowed at No. 1 with 358,000 while Akon's "Konvicted" arrived at No. 2 with 284,000. The top six albums each sold more than 100,000.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 100 album this week, Keith Urban's "Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing," (Capitol Nashville) sold 10,000.
• The No. 100 album for the same week of 2006, Blue October's "Foiled," (Universal Republic) sold 12,000.
• Average total of the No. 100 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1998-2007): 15,408.



PROGRESS REPORTS



• Timbaland shatters the CHR/Top 40 chart's weekly plays record, as "Apologize" tallies 10,241 detections on the chart. The prior mark was set earlier this year by Fergie, whose "Big Girls Don't Cry" reached 10,092 spins on the Aug. 3 chart. "Apologize" and "Girls" are the only songs in the 15-year history of the chart to top 10,000 plays in a week ... Fergie's album "The Dutchess" meanwhile becomes just the seventh set in the chart's history to sport five top 10 singles, as "Clumsy" deftly climbs 12-8. Of the six prior albums to feature at least five top 10s, two joined the list this year: Nickelback's "All the Right Reasons" and Justin Timberlake's "FutureSex/LoveSounds." Janet Jackson (six top 10s from "janet."), Alanis Morissette, Usher and Kelly Clarkson also scored such success.

• "So Small," the lead single from Carrie Underwood's No. 1 album "Carnival Ride," rings the bell at No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart, where it's her fourth trip to No. 1. Each of Underwood's previous chart-toppers spent multiple weeks at No. 1, starting with "Jesus, Take the Wheel," which led for six weeks starting in January 2006. She also spent five weeks atop the chart with "Before He Cheats" (November 2006), and three weeks with "Wasted" (April 2007). Since she first topped the list with "Jesus," only the No. 2-peaking "Don't Forget to Remember Me" (August 2006) has failed to make it to No. 1 among her singles promoted to radio. The charity single "I'll Stand by You" reached No. 41 in July with unsolicited airplay. Underwood is the only solo female to appear atop the country chart since Sara Evans spent two weeks at No. 1 with "A Real Fine Place to Start" in September 2005.

• The Adult Contemporary chart unwraps its first holiday presents as two seasonal songs debut on the list, led by Kimberley Locke at No. 22 with "Frosty the Snowman." The former "American Idol" contestant is seeking a holiday hat trick, having scored No. 1s the last two Decembers with "Up on the Housetop" (2005) and "Jingle Bells" (2006). All three songs appear on Locke's new iTunes-exclusive holiday album, "Christmas." At No. 29, Carrie Underwood debuts with "Do You Hear What I Hear," from the new all-star Christmas compilation "Hear Something Country." At press time, 37 of the 101 radio stations on the adult contemporary panel were broadcasting all-holiday programming ... On the Holiday chart, Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock" collects its seventh total week at No. 1 (as it moves from No. 4 to No. 1) and its first since the last week of the 2002 holiday season.



Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New ALICIA KEYS As I Am (MBK / J / RMG)
2 1 JAY-Z American Gangster (Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam / IDJMG)
3 2 CHRIS BROWN Exclusive (Jive / Zomba)
*4 New VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 26 (EMI / Sony BMG Strategic Marketing Group / Universal / Zomba / Capitol)
*5 4 KEYSHIA COLE Just Like You (Confidential / Imani / Geffen / IGA)
*6 New BOYZ II MEN Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA (Decca )
*7 New ARETHA FRANKLIN Jewels In The Crown: Duets With The Queen (Arista / RMG)
8 8 JILL SCOTT The Real Thing: Words And Sounds Vol. 3 (Hidden Beach )
9 7 KANYE WEST Graduation (Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam / IDJMG)
10 6 J. HOLIDAY Back Of My Lac' (Music Line / Capitol)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Country Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 2 GARTH BROOKS The Ultimate Hits (Pearl )
2 1 EAGLES Long Road Out Of Eden (ERC )
3 3 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Carnival Ride (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG/SBN)
*4 New GEORGE STRAIT 22 More Hits (MCA Nashville / UMGN)
5 4 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
6 5 REBA MCENTIRE Reba Duets (MCA Nashville / UMGN)
*7 8 RASCAL FLATTS Still Feels Good (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
8 6 SUGARLAND Enjoy The Ride (Mercury / UMGN)
9 7 ROBERT PLANT / ALISON KRAUSS Raising Sand (Rounder )
*10 New TRISHA YEARWOOD Heaven, Heartache And The Power Of Love (Big Machine )
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Heatseekers

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN Ire Works (Relapse )
*2 New STREETLIGHT MANIFESTO Somewhere In The Between (Victory )
3 1 LEVON HELM Dirt Farmer (Dirt Farmer / Vanguard)
*4 3 NICK SWARDSON Party (Comedy Central )
*5 6 INGRID MICHAELSON Girls And Boys (Cabin 24 / Original Signal)
6 5 DRAGONFORCE Inhuman Rampage (Sanctuary / Roadrunner)
*7 14 SLIDAWG AND THE REDNECK RAMBLERS A Blue Collar Christmas (IMI / Madacy Special Products / Madacy)
*8 11 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH The Way Of The Fist (Firm )
*9 New GRUPO EXTERMINADOR Nuestras Romanticas (Fonovisa / UG)
*10 16 SLIDAWG AND THE REDNECK RAMBLERS A Redneck Christmas (IMI / Madacy Special Products / Madacy)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Pop Catalog Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 2 TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA The Lost Christmas Eve (Lava / AG)
*2 6 VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW That's What I Call Christmas! 3 (EMI / Universal / Zomba / Sony BMG Strategic Marketing Group / Sony Music)
*3 4 MICHAEL BUBLE Let It Snow! (EP) (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
4 1 POINT OF GRACE Winter Wonderland (Word-Curb / Warner Bros.)
*5 7 CELTIC WOMAN A Christmas Celebration (Manhattan / BLG)
*6 8 TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Christmas Eve And Other Stories (Lava / AG)
*7 18 MARTINA MCBRIDE White Christmas (RCA Nashville / SBN)
*8 14 VINCE GUARALDI TRIO A Charlie Brown Christmas (Soundtrack) (Fantasy / Concord)
*9 12 IL DIVO The Christmas Collection (SYCO / Columbia / Sony Music)
*10 29 CELINE DION These Are Special Times (550 Music / Epic / Sony Music)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week





A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Jordin Sparks' "Jordin Sparks," OneRepublic's "Dreaming Out Loud," Keith Urban's "Greatest Hits," MercyMe's "All That Is Within Me" and RBD's "Empezar Desde Cero."
• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2006 when: Jay-Z's "Kingdom Come" bowed at No. 1 with 680,000 while new albums from Daughtry, the Beatles, Snoop Dogg and 2Pac debuted at Nos. 2, 4, 5 and 9, respectively. The top 19 albums each sold more than 100,000.