Hits Compilation Tops Chart

Sixth edition of "Now That's What I Call Music" debuts at Number One

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Who's cheatin' who? While the marketing mastermind behind the recycled hits series, Now That's What I Call Music!, is probably chuckling "suckers" all the way to the bank, more than a few of the kids snapping up copies of these twenty-song compilations -- consisting of tracks from albums that are arguably only a song or two deep (Shaggy's Hotshot, Britney's Oops!...I Did It Again, U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind, etc.) -- are doing likewise. Though those individual albums don't seem to be suffering any ill sales, Now That's What I Call Music has still done fans a service by separating the hit from the . . . well, you know.

The most recent edition of this series, Now That's What I Call Music! 6 sold 525,005 copies in its first week of sales, according to SoundScan, to grab the Number One slot. The nineteen-song collection (which features Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me," U2's "Beautiful Day," the Backstreet Boys' "Shape of My Heart" among others) dethroned 2Pac's Until the End of Time, whose sales fell more than fifty percent. However, Until...'s 243,451 copies scanned were still enough to land a Number Two spot, nearly 100,000 copies ahead of Ginuwine's third album, The Life, which debuted at Number Three.

As for Now That's..., the latest album in the wholesome series (picture this, "banging on the bathroom floor" from "It Wasn't Me" has been altered to the more PG "loving on the bathroom floor") is a return to the top. The series' fifth volume was released last November, the same week as the Beatles' 1 which condemned it to a Number Two debut, months after the fourth volume knocked Emine's The Marshall Mathers LP off of the top spot in July. More striking is the epidemic-like sales spike for the series. The fourth volume scanned 240,000 copies in its first week nearly one year ago, followed by the fifth volume, which sold nearly 445,000 in its first week.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Live in New York City and Big Pun's Endangered Species also reached the top ten in their first week of sales. For the former, it was a return to chart power after a decade-long draught that saw Human Touch, Lucky Town and The Ghost of Tom Joad register less than thunderous sales -- all three non-E Street projects. As for the latter, the Big Punisher's most recent offering -- Number Seven with sales of just over 80,000 -- is a slip from his last album, Yeeeah Baby, which was released exactly a year ago (and two months after his death) to the Number Three position, with sales of nearly 180,000.

The rest of the Top 200 was peppered with newcomers. Buyers must have grown tired of Run-D.M.C.'s phantom release dates for Crown Royal, as the star-studded comeback album sputtered to a Number Thirty-seven debut, with sales just short of 42,000. Wu-Tang rapper Cappadonna's most recent solo album, The Yin and the Yang came in at Number Fifty-one, Journey (Journey?!?) sans Steve Perry managed to put Arrival in the Number Fifty-six spot, while Yukmouth's Thug Lord: New Testament and Rammstein's Mutter entered the charts at Number Seventy-one and Number Seventy-seven respectively. Guided By Voices added a bit of indie cred to the proceedings with their Isolation Drill, which came in at Number 168.

Additionally, some older albums reached milestones. Nelly's Country Grammar refuses to go away, holding the Number Twelve position. The past week of sales also pushed its tally to more than 6 million copies scanned. The Beatles' 1 which fell out of the Top Twenty-five two weeks ago pushed past the 7 million copies sold mark.

This week's Top Ten: Now That's What I Call Music! 6 (525,005 copies sold); 2Pac's Until the End of Time (243,451); Ginuwine's The Life (152,371); Shaggy's Hotshot (147,594); Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Live in New York City (114,905); Dave Matthews Band's Everyday (92,222); Big Pun's Endangered Species (80,965); Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (78,604); Dido's No Angel (78,189); and 112's Part III (76,649)

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