Puff Daddy Outsells Oasis To Reclaim #1

Oasis' Be Here Now is not #1.

There's no doubt about it: Oasis' new LP has hit American stores and taken its rightful place on U.S. album charts. But while the latest work from Britain's favorite sons these days received much of the same hype in the States as it was given at home, music fans in the U.S. did not reward it with corresponding sales.

Instead, Be Here Now came up shy of expectations this week on Billboard's album chart, coming in at #2 on sales of 152,000 copies, according to SoundScan. The album was nudged out for the coveted top spot by Puff Daddy's platinum-selling No Way Out, which wore the crown for the third time by outselling the Gallagher brothers and company by 1,000 copies.

Led by a mammoth campaign of pre-release secrecy, Be Here Now set a

new record for Britain's fastest selling album when it was released there

last month. The disc moved more than a quarter of a million copies on its

first day of sale alone, and 700,000 during its first week. In addition,

the disc's first single, "D'You Know What I Mean" became one of the top

five fastest-selling songs in U.K. history.

While 152,000 is certainly a healthy number for Be Here Now to sell

in America, it is unquestionably short of the mark many in the industry

hoped it would reach on opening day. By comparison, the Wu-Tang Clan

pushed more than 600,000 copies of their double-CD Wu-Tang Forever

when it debuted at #1 in June; a month later, the Prodigy's The Fat Of

The Land bowed at #1 with 201,000 sold.

Although these albums were indeed anticipated, they did not receive the

hype campaign bestowed upon Be Here Now. Not only was the album

withheld from the media outlets for longer than usual, but the band even

incorporated the release day of "Tuesday, August 26" prominently in the

American cover art.

Why American listeners have not latched onto Oasis in quite the same

fashion as Britons is, of course, speculative, but a few reasons deserve mention. The band, well-known for the frequent arguments between sibling members Noel and Liam Gallagher, canceled its last American tour half-way through, angering many fans and helping solidify their reputation as snot-nosed whiners and complainers. Also, more than a few U.S. listeners have been expressed their distaste for Oasis' extraordinarily long songs on Be Here Now, many which span more than six minutes, making them generally unsuitable for American radio.

On the upside for the band, the excitement surrounding Be Here Now

propelled Oasis' last album (What's the Story) Morning Glory?

back into the Billboard Top 200. The album, which has sold more

than 3 million copies in the United States since its release in 1995, landed at #183.

For Puff Daddy, No Way Out's #1 position represents not only a

victory over Britain's most popular band, but also a sign of his own

resilience. The album, which is the first for the noted producer, who also

goes by Sean "Puffy" Combs, has twice fallen out of the king's chair only

to rise again. The album went platinum (sales of 1 million) in its first

three weeks of release.

Other notable showings this week include country singer Tricia Yearwood's

Songbook: A Collection of Hits, which debuted at #4 on sales of

126,000. The week was less kind to "Gangster's Paradise" rapper Coolio.

His My Soul reached only #43 after selling a mild 26,000.

Meanwhile, electronica sensations The Prodigy have reached striking

distance of the platinum mark. Although The Fat Of The Land fell

another notch this week to #12, it still sold a respectable 67,000,

bringing its eight-week total to 937,000. If, as expected, the disc breaks

the million ceiling this month, it will become the first techno album to do

so in the U.S. In other electronica news, the Crystal Method's Vegas opened at #92 with sales of 13,000. The studio duo also has a modern rock hit with Filter on the joint Spawn-soundtrack single, "(Can't You) Trip Like I Do."

Finally, the legacy of Nirvana took a bit of a hit, as bass player Krist

Novoselic's new band Sweet 75 sold a mere 1,500 copies in its

opening week, not even enough to register on the Top 200. By comparison,

former drummer Dave Grohl's post-Nirvana outfit, Foo Fighters, hit the top

10 in May with their sophomore album, The Colour and the Shape

(71,000). The band's 1995 debut bowed at #23 in 1995.

Completing this week's top 10 are: Fleetwood Mac (#3); Spice Girls (#5);

Men In Black (#6); Matchbox 20 (#7); Jewel (#8); Hanson (#9) and

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (#10). [Wed., Sept. 3, 1997, 5 p.m. PST]