Love For Sale

Cher cracks Top Ten as Valentine's Day spurs record sales

Seems the musical Valentine of choice this year was a copy of Britney Spears' ... Baby One More Time, which remained the nation's best-selling album for the second week in a row. Thanks to the gift-giving holiday, Spears' album enjoyed its best week yet, selling 230,000 copies for the week ending Feb. 14, according to SoundScan. That was up 50,000 copies over the previous week, and enough to practically lap the competition. (The No. 2 album by Offspring sold a distant 130,000 copies last week.)

In fact, nine of the Top Ten titles all enjoyed a Valentine's Day sale boost last week. Only rapper Foxy Brown's Chyna Doll, which came in at No. 10, failed to cash in.

The hearts holiday certainly paid off for veteran pop/R&B producer Quincy Jones. His love song collection, From Q With Love, jumped from No. 191 to No. 82 its second week in stores.

But perhaps the artist celebrating most loudly today is Cher, whose three-month-old album Believe jumped from No. 21 to No. 7 in just two weeks' time.Riding the wave of her unabashedly groovy single "Believe," which is *this* close to going No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Cher's back on top, and just in time for ABC's made-for-TV sweeps-month movie about her life with the late Sonny Bono.

The only act to debut with a new album in the Top 50 last week was Collective Soul. The latest from rock radio's staple band, Dosage, came in at No. 21. The various artists compilation, 1999 Grammy Nominees, debuted at No. 30.

From the top, it was Britney Spears' ... Baby One More Time, followed by Offspring's Americana; Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (selling 127,000 copies); `N Sync (116,000); the Dixie Chicks' Wide Open Spaces (113,000); 2Pac's Greatest Hits (96,000); Cher's Believe (93,000); Shania Twain's Come On Over (92,000); Everlast'sWhitey Ford Sings the Blues (88,000); and Foxy Brown's Chyna Doll (83,000).