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Garth Retires the Competition

Country star's alleged last album debuts Number One

November 21, 2001 12:00 AM ET

The holiday onslaught has begun. Garth Brooks' Scarecrow sold 466,000 copies in its first week, according to SoundScan, to lead a charge of twelve new albums in the Top Fifty, five of which entered the Top Ten.

Brooks' big splash knocked Britney Spears' Britney out of the top spot after a one week reign, but the numbers still come as something of a letdown for Brooks. Scarecrow was unleashed with a built-in sales gimmick, as Brooks said last year that the album would be his last before his retirement. But the buildup didn't create a sales tsunami, as Brooks' latest tally, while high, was nowhere within spitting distance of the sales for his previous studio album, Sevens, which fell just short of a 900,000 unit first week.

Sales were up across the board, with sixteen albums selling more than 100,000 copies, the most since last year's holiday season. And the Top Ten received an infusion of new blood with Shakira's Laundry Service (Number Three, 200,000 copies sold), Madonna's Greatest Hits Volume Two (Number Seven, 150,000); Rob Zombie's Sinister Urge (Number Eight, just shy of 150,000) and Jewel's This Way (Number Nine, 140,000).

Other strong showings included UGK's Dirty Money (Number Eighteen), Paul McCartney's Driving Rain (Number Twenty-six), Sevendust's Animosity (Number Twenty-eight), Natalie Merchant's Motherland (Number Thirty), Barenaked Ladies' Disc One: Greatest Hits (Number Thirty-eight), Green Day's International Superhits (Number Forty) and Radiohead's live album, I Might Be Wrong (Number Forty-four).

Expect even more newcomers next week, as new releases by Mick Jagger, Kid Rock, Pink and Ghostface Killah all arrived on record store shelves this week with good shots at the Top Ten.

This week's Top Ten: Garth Brooks' Scarecrow; Britney Spears' Britney; Shakira's Laundry Service; Michael Jackson's Invincible; Enya's A Day Without Rain; Enrique Iglesias' Escape; Madonna's Greatest Hits Volume 2; Rob Zombie's Sinister Urge; Jewel's This Way; and Nickelback's Silver Side Up.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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