Idol's David Cook tops iTunes download charts

LOS ANGELES Fri May 23, 2008 3:07pm EDT

David Cook performs after winning the finale of ''American Idol'' at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles May 21, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

David Cook performs after winning the finale of ''American Idol'' at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles May 21, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Newly crowned "American Idol" David Cook, already topping the iTunes music download charts, said on Friday he hopes to put out a rock album that will "make the hair on your neck stand up."

Cook, 25, a Missouri guitarist who was tending bar before auditioning for the most watched show on U.S. television, also said his best musical advice came from Frank Sinatra.

Cook won the seventh season of the singing competition and a recording contract on Wednesday, beating 17-year-old crooner David Archuleta by a 12 million-vote margin in the record 97.5 million votes cast by viewers by telephone and text message.

Cook's first single "The Time of My Life" and the three songs he sang in this week's "American Idol" finale were the top four downloads on Apple Inc's iTunes music store on Friday.

Cook said he would not be putting out an album of standards even though he won fans on the show, which is broadcast on the Fox network, a unit of News Corp, with alternative versions of pop classics such as "Billie Jean" and Lionel Richie's "Hello."

"I think it's going to be a mixture of my writing and hopefully writing with other people. I just want to come out of the gate with a solid record," he told reporters in a telephone conference call.

"It'll probably be a rock record. I just want to make a record that's going to make the hair on your neck stand up ... Even if it doesn't do well commercially, as long as I can put out a record I am proud of -- that's the goal right now. And hopefully the success will follow."

Cook is not likely to start work on the first album until the Top 10 Idols finish a three-month U.S. tour starting in July.

Cook, who played in bands for 10 years trying to make it in the music business, said his biggest lesson came from an article he read during the show on how the late Frank Sinatra focused first on the lyrics of his records.

"It made me think I needed to step back and before I even tried to learn the song, I needed to read the lyrics," he said. "That really helped as far as trying to find the vibe."

Despite a new haircut and losing about 15 pounds during the hectic "Idol" schedule, Cook said he had changed little else.

"I didn't have any expectations of what the show was going to do for me or what I was going to do for the show," he said. "I just went into it as an opportunity to expose myself to a large audience."

"American Idol," has become a pop culture phenomenon, drawing an average 28 million viewers this year and producing stars such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Chris Daughtry.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bill Trott)

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