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TLC Bump Britney From No. 1

R&B Divas and White Rapper Eminem Scale the Charts

March 4, 1999 12:00 AM ET

Between three new blockbuster record releases, as well as the Grammy sales bumps for last week's winners, record stores were humming last week.

R&B divas TLC were able to hold off rap newcomer Eminem to land the country's No. 1 album. TLC's Fanmail, the anxiously awaited follow-up to 1994's multi-platinum Crazysexycool, sold 318,000 copies for the week ending February 28, according to SoundScan. That means TLC managed to end pop star Britney Spears' three week run at No. 1. Spears fell to No. 5.

Eminem, Dr. Dre's new protege who happens to own MTV's most-played video, "My Name Is," came in at a strong No. 2, selling 283,000 copies his first week in stores. The week's other big debut belonged to Philly's claim to hip-hop fame, the Roots, and their latest, Things Fall Apart. That album came in at No. 4.

As for acts showcased on last week's highly rated Grammy telecast, sales of winner Lauryn Hill's album jumped nearly 100 percent, from 122,000 copies two weeks ago to 237,000 copies last week. Others riding the wave were Shania Twain (who enjoyed a 40 percent increase), the 1999 Grammy Nominees compilation (64 percent), the Dixie Chicks (19 percent), Madonna (60 percent), Sheryl Crow (90 percent), Andrea Bocelli (45 percent), Ricky Martin (470 percent; yes 470 percent), and Lucinda Williams (60 percent).

From the top, it was TLC's Fanmail, followed by Eminem's Slim Shady; Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill; The Roots' Things Fall Apart (selling 192,000 copies); Britney Spears' ...Baby One More Time (165,000); the Dixie Chicks' Wide Open Spaces (116,000); Shania Twain's Come On Over (109,000); 1999 Grammy Nominees (105,000); Cher's Believe (95,000); and the Offspring's Americana (94,000).

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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