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On the Charts: Michael Jackson Catalog Breaks Records

July 1, 2009 11:53 AM ET

The Big News: As expected, Michael Jackson dominated this week's sales chart as the King of Pop's Number Ones, Essential Michael Jackson and Thriller all sold more than 100,000 copies to cruise to the top of Billboard's Pop Catalog Albums chart and the all-encompassing Top Comprehensive chart. Since Jackson's albums were classified as "catalog" releases (albums older than 18 months) and thus ineligible for the Top 200, the Black Eyed Peas scored the official Number One album this week with 87,000 copies — but the real story is Jackson's impact on the charts.

On the Pop Catalog chart, Jackson's solo albums and Jackson 5 compilations locked up the top nine slots and 13 out of the Top 20. In the week prior to Jackson's death, Thriller sold 277 copies; last week, the album sold 101,000 copies. As it was impossible for retailers to keep up with the demand for Jackson albums, buyers flocked to digital music services to load up on MJ, which catapulted Jackson to the top four spots of the Digital Album charts as well. "Man in the Mirror" was Jackson's top-selling single last week, getting downloaded 146,000 times to come in third on the Top Digital Songs charts, ahead of "Billie Jean" and "Thriller."

Debuts: The Jackson explosion on the charts almost made us miss the fact that Regina Spektor's Far bowed at Number Three with 49,000, easily the best debut of the songstress' career. Other debuts cracking the Top 10 were Dream Theater's Black Clouds and Silver Linings at Six, the soundtrack to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at Seven and Ginuwine's Man's Thoughts at Nine.

Last Week's Heroes: Current Rolling Stone cover stars the Jonas Brothers saw their reign at the top come to a quick end as their Lines, Vines and Trying Times dropped to Two thanks a 72 percent sales drop from the previous week. The largest plummet was reserved for Incubus, who saw their Monuments and Melodies fall from Five to 24. Next week, we'll find out if new releases from Wilco and Rob Thomas are able to outsell Jackson's catalog.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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