Clay Holds Off Rod

Blonde crooners battle it out on charts

October 29, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Clay Aiken's Measure of a Man sold 225,000 copies in its second week, according to SoundScan, to best fellow spikey-haired crooner Rod Stewart, whose Great American Songbook, Vol. 2 came in at Number Two with sales of 212,000.

While Stewart raided the closet for new recordings of old standards for his latest, the Eagles chose to dig through their own vaults for The Very Best of the Eagles, which was padded with a new track. The set sold 162,000 copies to arrive at Number Three, a strong figure, but it'll take a long time for the two-CD set to match the 39 million sales that the band's two prior hits collections have tallied together. Top Ten debuts were also posted by rapper Loon, who sold 80,000 copies of his self-titled debut at Number Six, and the Canadian popsters the Barenaked Ladies checked in at Number Ten by selling 71,000 copies of Everything to Everyone.

Though overall sales in the Top 200 were down, there were still several strong newcomers on the charts. Mandy Moore sold 53,000 copies of Coverage; Marques Houston debuted four spots down selling 51,000 copies of MH. Other debuts included Something Corporate's North at Number Twenty-four (41,000 copies sold), Van Morrison's What's Wrong With This Picture? at Number Thirty-two (33,000) and Rush's Rush in Rio at Number Thirty-three (33,000).

Next week's chart should offer a handful of other new releases in the Top Ten. The Strokes' Room on Fire arrives on a wave of buzz and the slow steady success of its predecessor. And R.E.M. recently wrapped up a successful tour and fans might be looking for a bit of nostalgia with the new compilation In Time.

This week's Top Ten: Clay Aiken's Measure of a Man; Rod Stewart's Great American Songbook, Vol. 2; the Eagles' The Very Best of the Eagles; OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below; Ludacris' Chicken and Beer; Loon's Loon; Dido's Life for Rent; Jagged Edge's Hard; Barbara Streisand's Movie Album; and the Barenaked Ladies' Everything to Everyone.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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