Faith Hill’s “Cry” (Warner Bros.) dethrones Elvis Presley on The Billboard 200 this week thanks to an opening week U.S. sales tally of 472,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It’s Hill’s second consecutive No. 1 debut, matching that of “Breathe” in November 1999, and the best opening by a female country solo artist since SoundScan was initiated in 1991. “Cry” also bows at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.
Hill’s four earlier albums have sold a combined 12.5 million units in the U.S., but her highest previous one-week total was the 332,000 copies sold by “Breathe” during Christmas week of 2000. The new set’s title track peaked at No. 12 on Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, but is No. 2 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
With Hill’s No. 1 entries, Presley’s “ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits” (RCA) slips 1-3 on The Billboard 200 and to No. 2 on the Top Country Albums tally. The compilation, which led both lists for the past three weeks, saw sales slip 30% to 143,000 units.
Veteran rap artist LL Cool J’s 10th album, the appropriately titled “10” (Def Jam), debuts at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 and No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Although the set’s first-week sales total of 154,000 units is lower than the 209,000 achieved by “G.O.A.T. Featuring James T. Smith: The Greatest of All Time” in September 2000, this album’s opening week was bigger than any of LL’s other albums in the SoundScan era, which began in 1991.
The No. 2 opening for “10” is the second-highest chart position of LL Cool J’s 16-year Billboard 200 career, during which only “G.O.A.T.” hit No. 1. The new album’s first single “Luv U Better” holds fast at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B Singles & Tracks chart for a second week, and moves 8-7 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
New albums by two male R&B crooners — Gerald Levert and Dave Hollister — also debut in the top-10 of the Billboard 200. Levert enters at No. 9 with “The G Spot” (Elektra) on sales of 75,000 units, marking his third consecutive top-10 debut. The album also blasts to No. 2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart; first single “Funny” is No. 42 on the Hot R&B Singles & Tracks tally.
For Hollister, the No. 10 opening of his Motown set “Things in the Game Done Changed” gives him the first top-10 Billboard 200 album of his career; his previous peak was the No. 34 debut of his 1999 album “Ghetto Hymns.” The new set, which sold 71,000 copies, also bows on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart at No. 3. His single “Baby Do These Things” holds at No. 72 on the Hot R&B Singles & Tracks chart.
Other notable newcomers on The Billboard 200 include Reprise’s “The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac” at No. 12, Taproot’s “Welcome” (Velvet Hammer/Atlantic) at No. 17, and Tracy Chapman’s “Let It Rain” (Elektra) at No. 25.
Elsewhere on The Billboard 200, sales of the Rolling Stones’ “Forty Licks” (ABKCO/Virgin) dipped 18% to 120,000 units and the title slips 3-4 on the chart. “Let Go” by Avril Lavigne (Arista) drops 4-5 on a 3% sales dip to 109,000 copies. That album has sold more than 2.3 million copies and has spawned a second top-10 single as “Sk8er Boi” moves 11-10 on the Hot 100.
Leading the Hot 100 for a 10th non-consecutive week is Nelly’s “Dilemma” featuring Kelly Rowland. Another rapper is starting to turn up the heat on Nelly as Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” jumps from No. 6 to No. 2 on the chart, where it is the fastest-growing track at radio. The Hot 100’s fastest-growing track at retail belongs to dancehall specialist Sean Paul, whose “Gimme the Light” stands at No. 13 for a second week. The cut is also No. 5 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
The Hot 100’s top debut is John Mayer’s “Your Body Is a Wonderland” at No. 63. Other new entries include Uncle Kracker’s “In a Little While” at No. 70, Foo Fighters’ “All My Life” at No. 71, B2K’s “Why I Love You” at No. 73, and Stone Sour’s “Bother” at No. 76.
Nirvana’s “You Know You’re Right” has control of Billboard’s rock airplay charts, holding at No. 1 for a second-straight week on the Modern Rock Tracks tally, and jumping 4-1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The previously unreleased track will be included on Universal Music Group’s upcoming “Nirvana” greatest hits package, due Nov. 12.
Total album sales are up 5.4% to 11.2 million over last week, but lag behind 2001’s comparable week by 6.6%. Year-to-date sales are under last year by 10.4%.
Next week, “Shaman,” Santana’s Arista follow-up to the smash 1999 set “Supernatural,” will likely battle Faith Hill for No. 1 on The Billboard 200, as it’s expected to sell close to 300,000 units. The Foo Fighters’ new RCA set “One By One” should also easily debut inside the chart’s top-10.