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R.E.M., Phish & Dru Hill Break into Top Ten

November 4, 1998 12:00 AM ET

You just can't top Jay-Z. The seasoned rapper hangs tough at No. 1 for the fifth consecutive week, with Vol. II: Hard Knock Life selling 174,000 copies for the week ending Nov. 1, according to SoundScan. |The album's sustained success has helped ease the record industry myth that rap records are here today and gone tomorrow. In fact, Jay-Z's run at No. 1 is the longest this year since the soundtrack to Titanic held the top spot for four straight months last spring.

And it's not like Jay-Z didn't' have serious competition this week. New releases by Dru Hill, R.E.M., Phish, Faith Evans and Pras all hit store shelves. But none could oust the rap king. That will likely change next week, however, when Alanis Morissette's anxiously awaited follow-up to Jagged Little Pill debuts; industry insiders expect the new record to easily hit the No. 1 mark.

As for the week's newcomers, the messages were mixed. R&B crooners Dru Hill, riding the wave of their hit single featuring Redman, "How Deep is Your Love," debuted strong at No. 2, selling 128,000 copies. Faith Evans, the one-time wife of the late Notorious B.I.G., made a strong showing at No. 6, and the vagabond rock band Phish, known more for selling concert tickets than they are for selling records, scored a Top Ten debut.

On the injured list is R.E.M. The band's new album, Up debuted at a respectable No. 3. But it sold just 117,000. That's about half of what their last record, New Adventures in Hi-Fi, sold its first week in stores. Also hurting is rapper Pras, who scored one of the summer's biggest hits with "Ghetto Supastar," from the soundtrack to Bulworth. Problem is his new solo album came in at a distant No. 55 with his solo debut, selling just 26,000 copies.

From the top, it was Vol. II: Hard Knock Life, followed by Dru Hill's Enter the Dru; R.E.M's Up; The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (selling 93,000); Shania Twain's Come On Over (90,000); Faith Evan's Keep the Faith (85,000); 'N Sync (84,000); Phish's Story of the Ghost (76,000); the soundtrack to Rush Hour (70,000); The Backstreet Boys (69,000).

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Song Stories

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Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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