LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Billboard) - Whitney Houston returned to the U.S. pop album chart in grand style on Wednesday as her first album in seven years debuted at No. 1.
"I Look To You" becomes Houston's fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 304,801 copies during the week ended September 6, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
It's by far Houston's best opening sales week since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991.
"I Look To You" is also the singer's first chart-topper since the Houston-fueled "The Bodyguard" soundtrack spent 20 weeks at No. 1 in 1993. The albums are joined by Houston's two previous toppers: her self-titled set in 1986, and her 1987 sophomore set, "Whitney."
Early returns showed "I Look To You" also debuted at No. 1 in Canada, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, according to her Arista Records label.
Houston's previous album, "Just Whitney," debuted at No. 9 in 2002 with 205,000 copies.
Five other new albums also debuted in the top 10, helping overall album sales rise 8% from the previous week to 6.29 million units. But sales were still down 7% from the same week last year, and year-to-date sales are off 14%.
Trey Songz's "Ready" started at No. 3 with 131,000, while rap act Insane Clown Posse captured its second top 10 album as "Bang! Pow! Boom!" crashed in at No. 4 with 50,000.
Rock band Chevelle saw its "Sci-Fi Crimes" effort enter at No. 6 with 46,000, while rapper Pitbull's "Rebelution" started at No. 8 with 41,000. Rounding out the top 10's new entries was rock band the Used's "Artwork" at No. 10 with 35,000.
Miley Cyrus' Walmart-exclusive "The Time Of Our Lives" EP scooted up one spot to No. 2 with 153,000 after its first full week of sales. It debuted last week with just three days of sales after it hit stores on Friday, August 28 -- three days earlier than expected. Combined sales stand at 215,000.
Last week's No. 1, Colbie Caillat's "Breakthrough," fell to No. 5 with 47,000, while Kings of Leon's "Only By The Night" dropped three to No. 7 with 45,000 (down 14%).
Taylor Swift's "Fearless" continued its remarkable chart run, holding at No. 9 with 35,000 in its 43rd week. The country star said during the weekend that she planned to reissue the album with additional content.
(Editing by Dean Goodman at Reuters)