Perhaps fearing that it might be his last album, fans of Luther Vandross scooped up nearly half a million copies of his latest, Dance With My Father, to place the R&B icon atop the latest Billboard 200 albums chart.
As Vandross was recovering from a severe stroke (see "Luther Vandross Moved Out Of Intensive Care"), the studio follow-up to his 2001 self-titled album sold more than 441,000 copies, according to SoundScan figures released Wednesday (June 18). The impressive showing gave Vandross his first #1 pop album and bested all others in a big retail week that saw the release of highly anticipated albums from Radiohead, George Strait, Joe Budden and Steely Dan as well as the first full week of sales for the new disc by metal gods Metallica.
With the benefit of a seven-day sales cycle, as opposed to the previous week's abbreviated one (see "Metallica To Unleash Their Anger Earlier Than Planned"), Metallica's return to furious form, St. Anger, sold more than 362,000 copies to place second on the chart. The figure represents a drop of just over 13 percent from the week before, when it topped the chart after selling more than 417,000 copies.
Hail to the Thief, the sixth album by sonic sophisticates Radiohead, comes in at #3. First-week sales of roughly 300,000 copies mark the highest draw of any album by the Oxford, England, quintet, beating Amnesiac's 2001 opening-week total of 231,000.
Former Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox's third solo album, Bare, which she promoted with a photography exhibit of nearly naked self-portraits in New York, will land at #4 (152,000), followed by George Strait's Honkytonkville, the country singer's 27th studio album, at #5 (142,000).
Fueled by the single "Pump It Up," Joe Budden's self-titled debut made the most of his mixtape buzz to land at #8, with sales of more than 94,000 copies. Right behind Budden is Steely Dan's Everything Must Go at #9. The follow-up to Two Against Nature, which was awarded Album of the Year at the 2001 Grammys, sold more than 90,000 copies.
On the eve of the solstice, it's fitting that the Beach Boys' hits package Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys will draw its line in the sand at #16. And while this year's "American Idol" highlights are topping the singles chart (see "Has America Changed Its Mind? Clay Beats Ruben On Singles Chart"), inaugural season runner-up Justin Guarini's self-titled solo effort lands at #20.
The top 10 is rounded out by the "2 Fast 2 Furious" soundtrack at #6 (98,000); 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' moving down four spots to #7 (96,000), its lowest chart position in 19 weeks; and Norah Jones's Come Away With Me advancing one spot to re-enter the top 10 (90,000).
For the first time since its release in March, Evanescence's Fallen has done just that to exit the top 10. The "Bring Me to Life" band lands at #11.
Other notable chart debuts include pop-punkers Mest, whose self-titled third LP bows at #64; Swedish pop quartet Play's Replay at #67; Boston's sham-rockers the Dropkick Murphys' Blackout at #83; indie slowpokes Grandaddy's Sumday #84; underground MC Brotha Lynch Hung's Lynch by Inch at #132; Wu-Tang Clan rapper Inspectah Deck's second solo joint, The Movement, at #137; Kurupt brother Roscoe's Young Roscoe Philaphornia at #148; power-poppers Fountains of Wayne's third LP, Welcome Interstate Managers, at #150; and the two-disc Tokyo set from Pearl Jam's official bootlegs series at #182.