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Mariah Carey's "Butterfly" Tops the Charts

September 24, 1997 12:00 AM ET

Let the fall buying season begin. With four albums entering the Top 10 and eight new albums in the Top 20, music stores are flooded with red-hot records. That should come as no surprise. Rife with superstar releases, the period from late September to the end of the year has traditionally been the music industry's strongest season for sales.

This year, Mariah Carey kicks off the fourth quarter sweepstakes. To nobody's surprise, her Butterfly, debuts at No. 1, selling 235,000 copies during the week ending September 21, according to SoundScan. The week's other Top 10 debuts go to rapper Busta Rhymes' When Disaster Strikes (which came in at No. 3) and Christian rockers Jars of Clay's Much Afraid (No. 7). Aqua's Aquarium moves up to No. 10 from No. 15.

From the top, it's Butterfly, followed by LeAnn Rimes' You Light Up My Life-Inspirational Songs (which sold 205,000 copies); When Disaster Strikes (165,000); Master P's Ghetto D (124,000); Puff Daddy's No Way Out (119,000); Fleetwood Mac's The Dance (103,000); Much Afraid (100,000); Jewel's Pieces of You (91,000); Trisha Yearwood's (Songbook) A Collection of Hits (90,000), and Aquarium (90,000).

The other acts to debut in the Top 20 are rapper Mack 10 (No. 13), R&B singer Usher (No. 14), the R& B-oriented soundtrack to Soulfood (No. 16), country duo Brooks & Dunn (No. 17), and comedian Adam Sandler (No. 18).

Retailers and labels are thrilled with the influx of hit records. The only downside is that, in order to make room for the new, several older acts are paying the price on the sales chart. Rock acts are taking some of the hardest hits. Oasis' Be Here Now drops from No. 2 to No. 26 in just four weeks' time. Fellow English rockers Radiohead watch their critically acclaimed OK Computer fall from No. 91 to No. 142 -- a whopping 51 spots -- in just seven days. Among the week's other casualties: the Foo Fighters' The Colour & the Shape (No. 48 to No. 75); Meredith Brooks' Blurring the Edges (No. 52 to No. 113), and the Verve Pipe's Villains (No. 74 to No. 152). After 28 weeks on the Top 200, U2's Pop falls off the chart altogether.

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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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