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On the Charts: Springsteen's "Working on a Dream" Scores 2009's Biggest Debut

February 4, 2009 11:32 AM ET

The Big News: No surprises here — Bruce Springsteen finally ended 2009's sales slump by moving 223,700 copies of his five-star Working on a Dream, good enough for Number One on the chart. Considering the bulk of those sales came before Bruce's Super Bowl performance, Springsteen can probably expect even bigger numbers next week. The figure is telling of the recessions' impact on the music business, though: Springsteen's 2002 album The Rising moved 525,000 its debut week, and 2007's Magic sold 335,000. Taylor Swift's Fearless finally dropped to second place with 55,000 copies sold, and 2009's usual suspects rounded out the Top Five: Beyoncé's I Am... Sasha Fierce, Nickelback's Dark Horse and Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak.

Debuts: Finally, new albums crashed the chart. After Bruce, 2009 Grammy Nominees led the charge with 33,000 copies to land at six, while Franz Ferdinand's Tonight: Franz Ferdinand managed to grab the nine spot. The WWE: The Music Vol. 9 compilation somehow finished 13th and Hoobastank's Fornever took 26th.

Last Week's Heroes: A pair of soundtracks found themselves falling out of the Top Ten: Twilight lost its hold on tweeners, dropping from Five down to 11, and Notorious plunged from Nine to 24. The Mariah Carey Ballads album also stumbled, from 10 to 31. Animal Collective just missed the top 50, selling 10,100 to claim Number 52. Next week, with no big new releases out on shelves, we'll find out how much the Super Bowl influences record sales.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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