"Godzilla" Storms Charts At No. 4, Merchant Bows At No. 8

May 28, 1998 12:00 AM ET

Garth Brooks' stint at the top of the charts with his six-CD boxed set, Limited Series turns out to be, well, pretty limited.

After just two weeks, the country boy was sent packing -- and booted all the way down to No. 6 by rapper DMX and a posse of hip-hop artists and fast-selling soundtracks. According to SoundScan, five new records crashed the Top Ten for the week ending May 24, with DMX's debut, It's Dark & Hell is Hot, taking the No. 1 slot with a sturdy 251,000 copies sold.

Joining DMX in the winner circle was R&B newcomer Sparkle (whose duet with R. Kelly, "Be Careful," is the No. 1 song on R&B radio), the soundtrack to Godzilla (featuring the Wallflowers, Ben Folds Five, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Page), southern rap star Eightball (a three CD package featuring raps from Busta Rhymes and Master P) and Lilith standout Natalie Merchant. (Making a less forceful debut was the much-talked about record by Sean Lennon, the son of the late Beatle, coming in at a distant No. 153.)

From the top it was It's Dark & Hell is Hot, followed by the soundtrack to City of Angels (selling 164,000 copies); Sparkle (146,000); the soundtrack to Godzilla (140,000); Eightball's Lost (127,000); Garth Brooks' Limited Series (120,000); Dave Matthews' Before These Crowded Streets (109,000); Natalie Merchant's Ophelia (102,000); the TV soundtrack to Ally McBeal (101,000); and LeAnn Rimes' Sittin' On Top of the World (91,000).

Making way for the five new entries at the top were records by Backstreet Boys, Hanson, George Strait, and yes, even the soundtrack to Titanic, which all fell out of the Top Ten.

Meanwhile, one of the strangest sales stories playing out on the charts right now surrounds the Green Day record, Nimrod, a six-month-old release. In just the last two weeks the record's sales have spiked, jumping from No. 98 to No. 60. What's driving sales? Would you believe NBC's Must See TV? Yep.

Several weeks ago the band's single "Time of Your Life" was featured on two episodes of "E.R." when a young patient died and the song was sung at his funeral. Then two weeks ago, as part of the finale of "Seinfeld," the song was played in its entirety over a montage of greatest hits scenes.

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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