Music News

Keys storms chart with mega-selling "As I Am"

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Alicia Keys storms the Billboard 200 this week with “As I Am” (J), which debuts at No. 1 after selling 742,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Singer Alicia Keys performs during a rally of striking members of the Writers Guild of America in Hollywood, California, Nov. 20, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The album’s performance marks the best sales week for a solo female artist since Norah Jones’ “Feels Like Home” shifted 1 million copies in 2004.

In a week where every top 10 album shifted more than 100,000 units, Josh Groban’s “Noel” (143/Reprise) zooms from sixth spot to No. 2 with a 93 percent increase to 223,000 copies. Celine Dion’s “Taking Chances” (Columbia), her first new pop album in four years, opens at No. 3 with 214,000. The multi-label, multi-artist “Now 26” collection is new at No. 4 with 208,000, the third-lowest opening tally for the “Now” line of compilation discs.

Garth Brooks’ “The Ultimate Hits” (Pearl) slips from No. 3 to No. 5 (a 42 percent drop to 204,000 units), while the Eagles’ “Long Road Out of Eden” (Eagles Recording Co.) drops from No. 2 to No. 6 (down 45% to 197,000). Led Zeppelin’s two-disc retrospective “Mothership” (Swan Song/Atlantic) debuts at No. 7 after selling 136,000, 25 percent of which came digitally.

The previous week’s chart-topper, Jay-Z’s “American Gangster” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) plummets to No. 8 with a 70 percent decrease to 131,000, while Carrie Underwood’s “Carnival Ride” (Arista Nashville) drops from No. 5 to ninth position despite registering only a small decrease (6 percent) to 113,000. Chris Brown’s “Exclusive” (Jive) falls from fourth rung to No. 10 in its second week, thanks to a 63 percent decline to 110,000.

Comedian Dane Cook’s “Rough Around the Edges: Live From Madison Square Garden” (Comedy Central) debuts at No. 11 with 90,000. His last set, 2005’s “Retaliation,” made history as the highest debuting comedy album in the history of the Billboard 200 when it bowed at No. 4. That effort started with 86,000.

At No. 12, the Killers enter the chart with the rarities collection “Sawdust” (Island), which sold 82,000. George Strait’s “22 More Hits” (MCA Nashville) is new at No. 13 with 80,000, while James Taylor’s debut for Starbucks’ Hear Music imprint, “One Man Band,” arrives at No. 16 with 63,000.

Five other albums open inside the top 40 this week, led by Boyz II Men’s “Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA” (Decca) at No. 27 with 42,000. Right behind are Trisha Yearwood’s “Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love” (Big Machine, No. 30, 33,000), Goo Goo Dolls’ “Greatest Hits, Volume 1, The Singles” (Warner Bros., No. 33, 33,000), Seal’s “System” (Warner Bros., No. 35, 30,000) and Duran Duran’s “Red Carpet Massacre” (Epic, No. 36, 29,000).

Album sales are up 17.9 percent from the previous week’s to 11.72 million, but down 6.2 percent from the same week a year earlier.