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Usher Tops 2 Million

R&B singer has strong third week

April 14, 2004 12:00 AM ET
There really wasn't a primetime new release in record stores last week, though the way Usher's Confessions is selling, it wouldn't have mattered. The latest album by the R&B superstar sold 462,000 copies last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, to spend its third consecutive week at Number One. Further, that tally was only a 23,000 drop from the previous week, and good enough to push Confessions past 2 million copies sold in just three weeks.

Usher's tally was part of a strong sales week, prompted by an Easter buying surge. Five albums in the Top Ten and thirty in the Top Fifty enjoyed increases, and overall sales in the Top 200 were up from 5.2 million last week to 5.5 million this week. Wholesome and/or Christian-tinged Easter basket fillers like Jessica Simpson's In This Skin (a 35,000 increase to 113,000 at Number Four), Norah Jones' Feels Like Home (up to 107,000 at Number Five) and Evanescence's Fallen (19,000 copy spike to 105,000 at Number Six) all fared well.

Canadian R&B singer Tamia scored the week's highest debut with More, which sold 71,000 copies at Number Seventeen. Two slots lower was Modest Mouse's Good News for People Who Love Bad News, which sold 68,000 copies, a huge figure for a band that has quietly built its audience in alternative music's fringes. American Idol's most enthusiastic (and tone deaf) also-ran, William Hung, sold 38,000 copies of Inspiration, a number that pales compared to Idol's holy trinity of Ruben, Clay and Kelly, but one that only trailed the debut figure by Idol runner-up Justin Guarini by 20,000 copies.

With another quiet set of releases this week, Usher doesn't look to have much competition for a fourth trip to Number One next Wednesday.

This week's Top Ten: Usher's Confessions; Now That's What I Call Music! 15; Janet Jackson's Damita Jo; Jessica Simpson's In This Skin; Norah Jones' Feels Like Home; Evanescence's Fallen; Kenny Chesney's When the Sun Goes Down; Lil' Flip's U Gotta Feel Me; Guns n' Roses' Greatest Hits; and J-Kwon's Hood Hop.

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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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