Ruben Bounces Alicia

"Idol" champ puts debut at Number One

December 17, 2003 12:00 AM ET

American Idol winner Ruben Studdard sold 416,000 copies of his debut album Soulful, according to SoundScan, to give the TV show its third chart-topping alum.

While Studdard's numbers easily trounced the week's Number Two album, Alicia Keys' The Diary of Alicia Keys (which sold 342,000 to bring its two-week total to 961,000), they inevitably invite comparison to those of his Idol runner-up Clay Aiken, who set the bar higher when he sold 613,000 copies of his Measure of a Man two months ago.

Still, it's hard to complain about sales of Soulful's magnitude, and the record was something of a Pied Piper this week, leading the rush of holiday sales spikes. Not counting the eight newcomers to the Top Fifty, only five albums didn't experience a sales increase from the previous week, with sales for the Top 200 taking a monstrous shot north from 7.7 million last week to 10.4 million. Twenty-four of those albums posted six-figure sales.

As for the other newcomers, Musiq didn't quite match the Number One performance of his last album, but his Soulstar still sold 156,000 copies at Number Thirteen. Reunited rap trio the Westside Connection's Terrorist Threats (Number Sixteen, 136,000 copies sold), Avant's Private Room (Number Eighteen, 128,000), the Big Tymers' Big Money Heavy (Number Twenty-one, 116,000), Kelis' Tasty (Number Twenty-seven, 94,000) and the Offspring's Splinter (Number Thirty, 88,000) also posted strong first-week sales.

Next week's chart should feature similarly big sales, as holiday shoppers scramble to stuff stockings with music.

This week's Top Ten: Ruben Studdard's Soulful; Alicia Keys' The Diary of Alicia Keys; Now That's What I Call Music! 14; Toby Keith's Shock N Y'all; Josh Groban's Closer; OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below; Rod Stewart's The Great American Songbook, Volume II; Hilary Duff's So Yesterday; Sheryl Crow's Very Best of Sheryl Crow; and Britney Spears' In the Zone.

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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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