Call it "La Charta Loca." How else to explain a SoundScan album chart in which the new No. 1 album, moving a blockbuster 594,666 copies its first week in stores, belongs to a group that broke up thirty years ago? Or one where the seemingly white-hot Ricky Martin debuts behind the quiet comeback effort by decidedly low-key smooth operator Sade? Or how about this -- one in which U2 drops out of the Top 10 after three weeks, but still outsells a brand new album by Marilyn Manson?
The Beatles, of course, had a lot going into this fight. Well before their aptly titled No. 1 hits collection, 1, hit stores, the Fab Four renaissance was in full swing, thanks to the highly publicized Anthology book and the attention given the sixtieth anniversary of John Lennon's birth (not to mention the parole denied his murderer). In England, 1 not only debuted at the top of the charts (above new albums by Oasis and big-in-Britain boy band Westlife), but became the country's fastest selling album of the year. Stateside success seemed sure to follow, though the album's sales of nearly 600,000 copies in a week remains astounding, particularly given the competition.
The Beatles were but one of five debuts in the Top 10. In at No. 2 with sales of 444,408 copies was a more modern hits compilation, Now That's What I Call Music! 5, sporting tracks by 'N Sync, Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, 3 Doors Down and the rest of the regular Top 40 crew. Third place went to sultry singer Sade, returning after a seven-year hiatus to sell a commanding 369,629 copies of Lovers Rock and cooling off Ricky Martin, who had to settle for No. 4 with Sound Loaded, which scanned 317,722 copies.
Last week's top four finishers, R. Kelly, Outkast, Limp Bizkit and Jay-Z, stuck close together at No. 5, 6, 7 and 8. The Offspring squeezed in with a No. 9 debut with their fifth album, Conspiracy of One, while Nelly's twenty-one-week-old Country Grammar closed out the Top 10.
Meanwhile, U2 packed up All That You Can't Leave Behind and moved to the suburbs just outside of the Top 10, settling in at No. 12 with third-week sales of 119,140. That was enough to show up newcomer Marilyn Manson, whose Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) bowed at No. 13 with 117,279 sales. Keith Sweat's Didn't See Me Coming and Prodigy of Mobb Deep's H.N.I.C. also fared well, debuting at No. 16 and No. 18, respectively.
The rest of the chart was just as busy, with nine more debuts in the Top 100. Among the newcomers were Musiq's AIJUSWANASEING (No. 32); Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony's The Collection, Vol. 2 (No. 41), Chante Moore's Exposed (No. 50); Rush frontman Geddy Lee's My Favorite Headache (No. 52) and the Doors tribute album Stoned Immaculate (No. 72).
Next week, all eyes will be on the Backstreet Boys, who will seek to reclaim their record-breaking throne with Black & Blue, and the Wu-Tang Clan, restaking their own formidable claim with The W.
This week's Top 10: The Beatles' 1 (594,666 copies); Now That's What I Call Music! 5 (444,408); Sade's Lovers Rock (369,629); Ricky Martin's Sound Loaded (317,722); R. Kelly's TP-2.com (288,725); Outkast's Stankonia (227,711); Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (197,083); Jay-Z's Dynasty -- Roc La Familia 2000 (157,634); Offspring's Conspiracy of One (125,021); and Nelly's Country Grammar (122,936).