On the Charts: Neil Diamond Rides Multi-Pronged Push to Number One

May 14, 2008 11:30 AM ET

The Big News: Perhaps thanks to a guest mentorship on American Idol, soundtracking Boston Red Sox victories, that Urge Overkill cover in Pulp Fiction or a last minute surge for Mother's Day gifts, Neil Diamond's Rick Rubin-produced Home Before Dark topped the charts this week with 145,840 copies sold. Last week's champ Madonna's Hard Candy was knocked down to the third spot, selling 94,177 copies in its second week. Former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken also got a rub from his old show (and probably a Mother's Day surge as well) as On My Way Here debuted at four, while Mariah Carey's E=MC2 rounded out the top five.

Debuts: Country music dominated as Toby Keith's 35 Biggest Hits entered at number two and Dierks Bentley's Greatest Hits bowed at nine. Mom favorites Gavin DeGraw and Josh Groban came in at seven and eight. Tokio Hotel's American debut Scream took the thirty-nine spot with 15,811 copies, while the compact disc version of Elvis Costello's Momofuku debuted at fifty-nine. And in an unprecedented moment in charts history, Animal Collective's Water Curses EP topped the Singles chart.

Last Week's Heroes: Hard Candy took the biggest hit, dropping sixty-six-percent in sales in a week where only three of last week's top ten held steady. Portishead's Third fell from seven to twenty-four, the Roots' Rising Down rolled from six to twenty-eight and Tom Petty's Mudcrutch plummeted from eight to fifty-three.

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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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