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On the Charts: John Mayer's "Battle Studies" Wins Number One

November 25, 2009 12:00 AM ET

The Big News: John Mayer proved to be well versed in the art of sales warfare as his Battle Studies slaughtered all of its big-name competitors, selling 286,000 copies to give the singer his first Billboard Top 200 Number One album since 2003's Heavier Things. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Battle Studies also came in just shy of the 300,000 copies 2006's Continuum sold in its Number Two debut week, so Mayer has demonstrated he has some consistency in these days of declining sales. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart!! What a way to spend Thanksgiving," Mayer wrote to fans on Twitter in celebration of his win.

Six albums managed to surpass 100,000 in sales this week, with five of the six debuts this week. Andrea Bocelli's My Christmas, apparently the frontrunner for this year's go-to seasonal album, remained at Number Two for the second consecutive week, while Norah Jones' The Fall entered the charts at Number Three with 180,000 copies. Casting Crowns' Until the Whole World Hears finished fourth, surprisingly ahead of 50 Cent's Before I Self Destruct. Fiddy's oft-delayed album moved 160,000 units, a major league drop from the 691,000 copies Curtis sold in its debut week in 2007. In case you don't have a calculator handy, Self Destruct managed less than a quarter of the sales of Curtis in its first week.

Debuts: One last rookie finished with 100K in sales: Mall riot starter Justin Beiber's My World with 137,000 copies. Reigning American Idol champ Kris Allen also released his self-titled debut album… and it didn't do all that well — Number 11 with 80,000 copies — as fans of the show proved once again that lots of text messages and votes on AI don't always equal big sales. Allen did beat out the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, who sold 70,000 copies to enter the charts at 12, one slot ahead of Leona Lewis' Echo. Finally, Paul McCartney's live document Good Evening New York City wound up at Number 15.

Last Week's Heroes: Like the song suggests, Bon Jovi wasn't born to follow last week's Number One debut for The Circle as the band's return to rock plummeted from the penthouse to Number 18 in its second week. However, the real story here is what's happening in this week's sales battle: Despite new releases by Adam Lambert, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Shakira, it's the U.K. sensation Susan Boyle who's on pace to take Number One on next week's chart with I Dreamed A Dream. Not only is Boyle expected to top the charts with at least 550,000+ in sales, according to Billboard.biz, she might top 700,000 copies thanks to the holiday spending spree. That would top Eminem's Relapse at the best-selling debut week of 2009.

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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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