On the Charts: Groban Overtakes Keys Thanks to Oprah and Jesus

November 28, 2007 11:55 AM ET

The Big News: Black Friday has come and gone, and in its wake, Josh Groban's Noel stands victorious. You know it's Christmas time when a record called Noel rules the charts. Groban's seven-week-old album finally claimed the top spot as we inch toward Xmas, selling 405,041 copies to holiday-loving folks and people who watched Groban perform on Oprah's Favorite Things episode. Alicia Keys' As I Am dropped to number two, selling a still massive 348,548 copies, which helped the songstress' latest rocket to platinum status in a mere two weeks. The Eagles managed to hover in the top five for another round, and in the battle of American Idols, Carrie Underwood's Carnival Ride defeated Jordin Sparks' self-titled debut, which hit the chart at ten with 119,119 copies. For the second consecutive week, all the albums in the top ten sold over 100,000 copies. What record industry decline?

Debuts: Rolling Stone Artist to Watch OneRepublic debuted at seventeen, as their Dreaming Out Loud sold 74,825 copies. Rapper Freeway came in at number forty-two, the Nine Inch Nails' Year Zero remix album Y34RZ3R0R3MIX3D plopped in at seventy-seven. Amy Winehouse's Frank, a re-release of the queen of tour cancellation's debut album, entered the U.S. charts at sixty-one. There was a bunch of Christmas CD debuts too, but you'll become more than aware of them as you wait in line at every single store you enter from here until New Year's.

Last Week Heroes: Keys performed well in her second week, but could not overcome the impact of Oprah. Last week's bronze medalist, Celine Dion's Taking Chances, dropped to number eight. Chris Brown's Exclusive fell from four to nine, but still managed to sell 120,000 copies this week. And Britney Spears' Blackout continues to sink, falling from twenty-three to forty-one while remaining a few laps shy of a gold record. Next week's chart should look a lot like this week's, as no major releases this week look likely to knock Groban or Keys from their perches.

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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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