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On the Charts: Pearl Jam's "Backspacer" Hits Number One Since 1996

September 30, 2009 11:52 AM ET

The Big News: As expected, Pearl Jam's ninth album Backspacer stormed to the Number One spot on this week's Billboard Top 200, selling 189,000 copies according to Neilsen SoundScan. While Backspacer gave Pearl Jam their first Number One since 1996's No Code, the album sold roughly 90,000 less copies than its predecessor Pearl Jam did in its opening week in 2006. After two weeks at the top, Jay-Z's Blueprint 3 nestled into Two with another 134,000 copies sold. Three Days Grace enjoyed their best debut yet as Life Starts Now reached Number Three, while Whitney Houston's I Look to You and Miley Cyrus' Time of Our Lives EP rounded out the Top Five.

Over on Billboard's Top Catalog Chart, where the Fab Four and the King of Pop continue to battle it out, Michael Jackson reclaimed his top spot as Number Ones surpassed Abbey Road, which was the chart's top seller for two consecutive weeks. The Beatles' remasters take up 13 of the top 16 spots on the Catalog charts, with Jackson occupying the other three. Only the remaster for Yellow Submarine finds itself outside the Top 20 Catalog, coming in at 24.

Debuts: Three more artists managed to crack the Top 10, as Brand New's Daisy, Five Finger Death Punch's War is the Answer and Harry Connick, Jr.'s Your Songs ended up at Six-Seven-Eight respectively, even though none of the releases managed to sell over 50,000. Mika's The Boy Who Knew Too Much bowed in at 19, while Sean Kingston — whose "Beautiful Girls" topped the Hot 100 and whose self-titled album peaked at Number Six in 2007 — saw his second album Tomorrow debut meekly at 37 with only 13,000 copies.

Last Week's Heroes: Despite losing the top spot, The Blueprint 3 and Jay-Z proved resilient in its third week with another 100+K sales week and inevitable platinum status by this time next week. Speaking of platinum, congratulations all around to the Zac Brown Band, as The Foundation exceeded a million copies sold 45 weeks after it was released. Kid Cudi's Man on the Moon: The End of Day could be considered the week's biggest loser, dropping from Four to 17 thanks to a 73 percent sales decline.

Next week, we'll find out who wins the battle of the divas: Mariah, Madonna or Paramore.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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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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