Record sales are so low that competition at the top of the charts is a bit of a free-for-all. This week's Number One belongs to a band that broke up twenty-three years ago; Led Zeppelin's "new" live album, How the West Was Won, sold 154,000 copies, according to sound scan.
Of course, it's no great surprise that Zep fans rallied around the record. In the nearly thirty-five years since the band's birth, the only live Zeppelin document available through legitimate retail means was the mediocre soundtrack The Song Remains the Same. Because Zep had a strong rep as a live band, fans had been forced to seek out live material through what had grown into a rather robust bootleg market. Should West continue to prove successful, perhaps the vaults might be opened further. Until then, the album gives the classic-rock sales titans their sixth chart-topper and first since In Through the Out Door in 1979.
As for the rest of the charts, well, there was little else shaking. 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' was the only other album to register six-figure sales, moving 109,000 units at Number Two. Evanescence continue to post strong sales for their debut Fallen, which climbed a notch to Number Three, selling 91,000 copies.
The only other debut in the Top Fifty was the 2 Fast 2 Furious soundtrack, which sold 76,000 copies at Number Eight. Newcomer Frankie J made a fairly strong showing at Number Fifty-three, selling 20,000 copies of What's a Man to Do?, jumping in one slot ahead of O.A.R.'s In Between Now and Then, the only other Top 100 debut, which also sold 20,000 copies.
A small handful of albums are showing some slow, steady growth. Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz has been charming his way up the charts with his debut Waiting for My Rocket to Come. The album has crept its way to Number Sixty-eight with regularly increasing sales; this past week it sold 17,000 copies.
While next week's chart doesn't exactly promise blockbuster numbers, albums by Sugar Ray, Jewel, Train and the Eels will at least promise a bit of new blood.
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
MUSIC 9 Classic Devo Videos
OLYMPICS 18 Epic Opening Ceremonies