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On the Charts: Four Decades Later, The Beatles Are Still Number One

September 16, 2009 11:39 AM ET

The Big News: Jay-Z may have won the battle of the charts, but the Beatles won the war. Jigga's The Blueprint 3 debuted at Number One on Billboard's Top 200 with 476,000 copies sold, giving him one of the best first weeks in 2009, but the Fab Four were the big story as their remastered catalog combined to sell 626,000 albums 40 years after the majority of the LP were originally released, according to Nielsen SoundScan. BP3 marks Jay-Z's 11th trip to the top of the charts, meaning he has surpassed Elvis Presley to become the solo artist with the most Number One albums of all time. Blueprint 3 also improved on the 425,000 copies American Gangster sold in its debut in 2007.

Like Michael Jackson's albums, the Beatles weren't eligible for the Top 200, but on the Comprehensive Albums chart, the Fab Four simply dominated as fans rushed to hear the band's remastered work. 1969's Abbey Road was the week's Number Three album, selling 89,000 copies. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band finished at Number Five with 74,000 copies en route to passing the quadruple platinum mark. In total, the Beatles had five albums in the Comprehensive's Top 10, and nine in the Top 20. On top of that, the complete Beatles in Stereo box set sold 26,000 copies to land Number 15 on the Top 200 where it was eligible as a new release, while the Beatles in Mono moved 12,000 boxes to finish at 40. It goes without saying that the Beatles also put to an end Michael Jackson's ownership of the Catalog Albums chart.

Debuts: Amid the Fab Four and Jigga sales explosion, Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II boasted big numbers at Number Four, pushing 68,000 copies to give the Chef his best numbers since the album's predecessor also debuted at Number Four 14 years ago. Also cracking the Top 10 were the newly split Brooks & Dunn's #1s… And Then Some at Five and Boys Like Girls' Love Drunk at Eight. Phish's comeback album Joy sold 29,000 copies on its way to Number 13.

Last Week's Heroes: The influx of Beatles and Jay-Z and a 71 percent sales dip pushed last week's champ Whitney Houston and her I Look To You to Number Three on the Top 200 with an additional 88,000 copies. Miley Cyrus' Time of Our Lives EP held strong at Number Two for a second consecutive week with another 120,000 copies. After a surprising debut at Number Four last week, reality set in for Insane Clown Posse's Bang! Pow! Boom! fell to 43.

Next week, we'll find out if Twilight nation can band together to help Muse's The Resistance fight off Jay-Z and the Beatles.

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Song Stories

“Love Is the Answer”

Utopia | 1977

The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

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