Ludacris Tops With "Light"

Rapper snags second Number-One debut, U2 and Eminem hold strong

December 15, 2004 12:00 AM ET

Ludacris' The Red Light District tops the charts this week, selling 322,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The St. Louis rapper's last album, Chicken 'N' Beer, also debuted at Number One, but moved nearly 100,000 more units to get there. U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and Eminem's Encore are still holding strong, taking the Two (280,000) and Three (273,000) spots, respectively. The other big debut this week, Lindsay Lohan's first record, Speak, takes Number Four, selling 261,000.

Rounding out the Top Five is the unstoppable hits compilation series, Now That's What I Call Music!, whose seventeenth installment continues to sell like gangbusters, climbing three places this week to Number Five (243,000). Meanwhile, in their fifth week, the hits collections of country stars Shania Twain and Toby Keith refuse to budge from the Top Ten, with Twain's holding at Six (237,000) and Keith's moving up two to Eight (191,000).

Destiny's Child's comeback album, Destiny Fulfilled, which peaked at Two four weeks ago and has been slowly falling since, reverses order in the holiday shopping crunch to also climb two spots, to Seven (214,000). And while Jay-Z and Linkin Park took the top spot last week with Collision Course, the first commercial mash-up release, their one-off record dropped eight spots to Nine (186,000).

Other losers this week include Kelly Clarkson, whose sophomore effort, Breakaway, lacks staying power, dropping nine spots to Twelve (164,000) in its second week. And No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani's solo debut, Love, Angel, Music, Baby, falls four places to Nineteen (133,000), barely in the Top Twenty in just its third week. And Cam'ron, who departed from Roc-A-Fella Records this week with its sale to Island Def Jam, takes Twenty (123,000) with his second solo album, Purple Haze. This is a sorry performance compared to the Harlem rapper's Come Home With Me (2002), which sold 100,000 units more to debut at Number Two. But the two biggest falls were taken by T.I.'s Urban Legend, which has already plummeted from Seven to Twenty-Eight (81,000), and Nas, whose Street's Disciple dropped a whopping thirty-two spots from the Top Five to Thirty-Seven (70,000) -- both in only their second week out of the gate.

Next week, R&B diva Ashanti returns to the ranks with her fourth record, Concrete Rose. Expect the singer's supporting role as a pregnant teen in the Samuel L. Jackson vehicle, Coach Carter, due January 14th, to help boost the album.

This week's Top Ten: Ludacris' The Red Light District; U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb; Eminem's Encore; Lindsay Lohan's Speak; Now That's What I Call Music! 17; Shania Twain's Greatest Hits; Destiny's Child's Destiny Fulfilled; Toby Keith's Greatest Hits 2; Jay-Z and Linkin Park's MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents Jay-Z/Linkin Park: Collision Course; Clay Aiken's Merry Christmas With Love.


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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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