Santana’s Shaman Blessed; Foos At #3 On Albums Chart

Kelly Rowland debuts at #12, while 3LW bow at #15.

The retail gods bestowed quite a blessing on Shaman, the latest star-studded assemblage from Santana. Bolstered by the hit “The Game of Love,” featuring Michelle Branch, Santana’s first album in three years sold nearly 300,000 copies last week, according to SoundScan — more than enough to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

The second album to pair the guitar virtuoso with contemporary pop stars — this time Macy Gray, P.O.D., Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and others (see “Santana Says Angels Recommended Michelle Branch For Song” ) — fared better out of the gate than Santana’s first salvo. His 1999 album, Supernatural, which touted the Rob Thomas-sung “Smooth,” debuted at #19 and didn’t crack the top 10 for two months. It overtook the top slot another two months later and went on to sell 11.1 million copies.

Dave Grohl’s prayers for a high debut were similarly answered, as the Foo Fighters’ fourth album, One By One, had the band’s best first-week sales figures yet and landed at #3. The follow-up to There Is Nothing Left to Lose, which debuted at #10 in 1999, sold more than 121,000 copies (see “Foo Fighters Cross The Rock Line On One By One ).

Although he hasn’t been a Young Turk in more than two decades, Rod Stewart’s latest release proves he’s still got some hot legs left in him. Stewart’s latest album, It Had to Be You: The Great American Songbook, comprising American standards including 1938’s “The Way You Look Tonight” and Ira and George Gershwin’s “Can’t Take That Away From Me,” sold more than 114,000 copies to place at #4.

Rounding out the top 10, Faith Hill’s Cry dips one spot to #2; Elvis 30 No. 1 Hits slips two places to #5; the Dixie Chicks hold steady at #6 for a third week; hip-hop hell-raiser Eminem’s The Eminem Show remains at #7 a third week; Avril Lavigne’s Let Go falls three spots to #8; the Rolling Stones’ Forty Licks drops five places to #9; and Nelly’s Nellyville threatens to secede from upper echelon by taking two steps back to #10.

The second Destiny’s Child member to go solo, Kelly Rowland, assumes the #12 spot with Simply Deep. Rowland’s first-week sales of more than 77,000 copies trumps fellow Child member Michelle Williams’ Heart to Yours, which debuted at #57 on sales of 17,000 copies in April. However, the playing field isn’t exactly level for the two albums; while Williams has God on her team for her gospel LP, Rowland’s hip-pop offering features assistance from Nelly on the smash “Dilemma” (see “Kelly Rowland Moves Into ’Leave It To Beaver’ House” ).

Despite the messy shakeup 3LW experienced in August when Naturi Naughton severed ties to Kiely Williams and Adrienne Bailon, the pop group secured a decent debut at #15 with its second album, A Girl Can Mack (see “3LW Out To Show A Girl Can Mack ). Whether due to the much-publicized split or the sultry single “I Do (Wanna Get Close to You),” the follow-up to their 2000 self-titled debut sold more than 53,000 copies.

Making moves in the top 20, LL Cool J’s former #2 album, 10, slips to #11, and Gerald Levert’s G Spot loses just as much ground to land at #18.

Other notable debuts include contemporary Christian singer Micheal W. Smith’sWorship Again at #14; Field Mob’s From Tha Roota to Tha Toota at #33; rapper Scarface’s Greatest Hits at #40; The Best of David Bowie at #70; the self-titled debut by the Transplants, featuring Blink-182’s Travis Barker, at #96 (see “Transplants Fuse Bands And Styles, Much To Ire Of Punk Police” ); VH1 Divas: 2002 at #104; the two-disc The Best of David Bowie at #108; SR-71’s second album, Tomorrow, at #138; the Donnas’ major-label debut, Spend the Night, at #140 (see “Donnas Wanna Spend The Night, Have Their Way With Groupies” ); former Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson’s solo debut, New Earth Mud, at #141 (see “Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson Is No ’TRL’ Poseur” ); the 10th anniversary two-disc reissue of Pavement’s debut LP, Slanted & Enchanted, #152; WC’s Ghetto Heisman at #170 (see “WC Goes For The Ghetto Heisman With Help From Scarface, Cube, Snoop” ); and Thursday’s Five Stories Falling at #197.