The Billboard 200 gets a heavy dose of patriotism this week as the Columbia Records set “God Bless America” debuts at No. 1. Featuring cuts from Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, Frank Sinatra, Lee Greenwood, and Bruce Springsteen, among others, the benefit album sold 181,000 units in the U.S., according to SoundScan.
“God Bless America” is just one of the first major releases in what will be a wave of fundraising albums and singles due in response to the attacks of Sept. 11. Capitol will release “United We Stand” on Nov. 20, and sources have told Billboard.com that Interscope is planning a release culled from the Sept. 21 “America: A Tribute to Heroes” telethon.
Right behind “God Bless America” on The Billboard 200 is Enya’s still growing “A Day Without Rain” (Reprise), which enjoyed a 4% sales increase over last week to 170,000 units, and remains at No. 2 on the chart. Last week’s No. 1, Ja Rule’s “Pain Is Love” (Murder Inc./Def Jam), slips to No. 3 following a 28% sales decline to 158,000 units.
Enya’s album has been steadily rising since the tragedy, as her single, “Only Time” has enjoyed increased radio and television presence. The cut is currently No. 13 on The Billboard Hot 100, where a number of patriotic-themed cuts have been performing well. Whitney Houston’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” falls 6-18 this week, while Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” the Hot 100’s fastest-growing track at retail, soars 84-37. Also doing well is the all-star cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” holding steady at No. 34.
Also debuting in the top-10 of The Billboard 200 is Ozzy Osbourne’s “Down to Earth” (Roadrunner), which lands at No. 4 on the strength of 153,000 units sold. This tops the first-week numbers for his previous set, 1995’s “Osmosis,” which also debuted at No. 4, but sold only 127,000 units that week.
Even with the strong showing by albums at the top of the chart, next week will likely see a shake-up from two highly anticipated albums released on Tuesday — DMX’s “The Great Depression” (Def Jam) and Incubus’ “Morning View” (Epic). Both albums have the potential to post career high numbers for the respective artists, although the DMX set has the tougher challenge of trying to top 1999’s “And Then There Was X,” which sold a whopping 698,000 units in its first week.
Another solid debut comes from opera-trained singer Andrea Bocelli, whose “Cieli Di Toscana” (Phillips) arrives at No. 11 on the strength of 85,000 units sold. Bocelli’s best chart entry was the No. 4 opening by “Sogno” (Polydor) in April 1999, while 1997’s “Romanza” remains his top-selling album in the U.S., with 3.4 million sold to date, according to SoundScan. Other noteworthy debuts include John P. Kelly’s “Mr. Cheeks” (Universal) at No. 32, the soundtrack to the ‘N Sync-starring film “On the Line” (A Happy Place/Miramax/Jive/Zomba) at No. 35, Lit’s “Atomic” (Dirty Martini/RCA) at No. 36, and New Order’s “Get Ready” (Reprise) at No. 41.
Last week’s top entry, Bubba Sparxx’s “Dark Days, Bright Nights” (Beat Club/Interscope) falls out of the top-10, drifting 3-12 on a 40% decline to 80,000 units. The set continues to perform well in urban markets, and only drops one position to No. 4 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally, where Ja Rule cruises into a third-straight week at No. 1. Sparxx’s single “Ugly” is performing best on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, where it’s at No. 7. The cut is also at No. 11 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles chart, where Petey Pablo is settling in for his eighth-straight week at the top with “Raise Up.”
The Hot 100 has a new top single this week, with “Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair” hopping two slots to knock Jennifer Lopez’s “I’m Real” featuring Ja Rule down to No. 2. The cut is also No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally, nudging out Ginuwine’s “Differences.”
The Hot 100’s fastest-growing track at radio is Usher’s “U Got it Bad,” which flies 16-8. The track is making a push for No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, where it jumps two slots to No. 3. Usher’s “8701” (Arista) is No. 9 on The Billboard 200.
The top debut on the Hot 100 is P.O.D’s “Alive,” the first single from the band’s Atlantic album “Satellite.” Other noteworthy debuts include Linkin Park’s “In the End” at No. 78 and “Fatty Girl” from rappers Ludacris, LL Cool J, and Keith Murray at No. 99.
Remaining at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart is the seemingly unstoppable Mercury soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” easily holding Toby Keith’s former No. 1, “Pull My Chain” (DreamWorks/Interscope), to its No. 2 post for a second week. The “O Brother” set is now in its 23rd non-consecutive week on top of the tally.
Over on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, Alan Jackson rebounds one rung to claim his third, non-consecutive week at No. 1 with “Where I Come From.” This continues the weekly dance the track has been doing with Brooks & Dunn’s “Only in America,” which falls back to No. 2. The chart’s top debut is Phil Vassar’s That’s When I Love You” at No. 51.
Over on Billboard’s rock airplay charts, Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” remains dominant. The track is in its eighth week on top of the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and seventh leading the Modern Rock Tracks tally. The group’s Roadrunner album, “Silver Side Up,” is in its third week at No. 5 on The Billboard 200.