U2's 'Bomb' explodes at No.1 on US charts
U2 earned its sixth No. 1 album on the U.S. pop charts Wednesday as its new set "How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" sold almost twice as many copies in its first week as 2000's "All That You Can't Leave Behind."
The Irish quartet's previous package, "All That You Can't Leave Behind," entered -- and peaked -- at No. 3 in November 2000 on sales of 428,000 copies; it has a to-date total of 4.2 million.
U2 ended the two-week chart reign of labelmate Eminem's "Encore" (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope), which dropped to No. 2 with 471,000 copies. The band also terminated the rapper's three-week stint atop the U.K. charts on Sunday.
The album's arrival was heralded by first single "Vertigo," which is featured in Apple Computer's iPod/iTunes TV commercial. The track spent four weeks atop Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks list, which is based on radio airplay, and is currently at No. 3. Additionally, the band made a series of high profile appearances in the week leading up to the album's release, including a performance on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" and an unannounced free outdoor show in New York.
U2, which first went to No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with 1987's "The Joshua Tree," has a worldwide sales total of more than 120 million copies, according to Interscope.
Another highly anticipated Interscope release lived up to the hype this week as No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani's solo debut "Love, Angel, Music, Baby" scored a bigger opening week than any No Doubt record ever has. Fueled by the pop radio hit "What You Waiting For?," the album bowed at No. 7 with 309,000 copies.
Shania Twain's Mercury Nashville greatest hits compilation jumped two places to No. 3 with 384,000 copies. Fellow country star Toby Keith also rose two, to No. 5, as his DreamWorks Nashville/Interscope hits set sold 331,000 units.
Destiny's Child slipped two to No. 4 as "Destiny Fulfilled" (Sony Urban Music/Columbia) sold 337,000 copies in its second full week.
The unofficial start to the holiday shopping season also gave the 17th installment of "NOW That's What I Call Music!" (Sony BMG/Universal/EMI/Zomba/Capitol) a push, as the album jumped two places to No. 6 with 319,000 copies.
Falling short of prior "American Idol" stars, third season winner Fantasia's solo J debut, "Free Yourself," entered at No. 8 on sales of 240,000 copies. First season winner Kelly Clarkson, as well as second season winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken, both opened in the top slot.
Studdard's second album, contemporary gospel album "I Need An Angel" (J) also debuted this week, taking the No. 20 slot with 96,000 copies. His debut set, "Soulful," entered at No. 1 with 417,000 copies last year and has sold 1.8 million to date.
Rounding out the top 10, Snoop Dogg's "R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece" (Doggystyle/Geffen/Star Trax) fell three to No. 9 with 203,000 copies, while Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz' "Crunk Juice" (TVT) slid seven to No. 10 with196,000 copies.
Boosted by his Nov. 24 NBC prime time concert special "Tim McGraw: Here and Now," the country superstar's "Live Like You Were Dying" (Curb) soared 11 to No. 13 with 180,000 copies.
Creed's "Greatest Hits," the first Wind-Up release from the band following its breakup earlier this year, opened at No. 15 on sales of 158,000 copies. The band's final studio album, 2001's "Weathered," debuted at No. 1 with 887,000 and has sold 6.3 million to date.
Jessica Simpson snared the second largest Nielsen SoundScan week of her career with "Rejoyce: The Christmas album" (Columbia) moving 152,000 copies to open at No. 16. While the singer's "In This Skin" opened with 64,000 copies in 2003, a special edition release this year posted a 159,000-unit week and boosted the set to a No. 2 peak on The Billboard 200.
At No. 19, the Nirvana boxed set "With the Lights Out" (Geffen) rounded out the top 20 debuts. With 106,000 copies, the set notched the biggest sales week for any box since Garth Brooks' "The Limited Series," which opened at No. 1 with 372,000 units in 1998.
Additional debuts this week included Alison Krauss + Union Station's "Lonely Runs Both Ways" (Rounder, No. 29), Evanescence's "Anywhere But Home" (Wind-Up, No. 39), Kenny G's "At Last... The Duets Album" (Arista, No. 40), the Diplomats' "Diplomatic Immunity" (Roc-A-Fella, No. 46) and the "Blue Collar Comedy Tour" soundtrack (Warner Bros., No. 50).
Overall U.S. album sales were up 27% over the previous week at 19.5 million units, but down about 5% from the same week last year. Sales for 2004 are beating those of last year by about 2.9% with 565 million units.