With 1999's Supernatural, an album featuring duets with Dave Matthews, Rob Thomas, and Eric Clapton, among others, iconic guitarist Carlos Santana stumbled upon an award-winning, cash-culling formula: Recruit some of music's biggest names, and record tracks with them. Santana's Supernatural, which has gone on to sell more than 11.5 million copies, was followed by 2002's Shaman, which debuted as Billboard's #1 with close to 300,000 in first-week sales; that album included guests Dido, Macy Gray, Seal and Nickelback's Chad Kroeger.
Sticking with that blueprint for success, Carlos Santana once again collected a handful of hitmakers for his latest outing, All That I Am, which features Michelle Branch, Outkast's Big Boi, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, Joss Stone, Metallica's Kirk Hammett and "American Idol" runner-up Bo Bice. The ingredients were all there for All That I Am's chart-topping debut, and with sales of more than 142,000, Santana gave it the old college try. But the producers behind the unstoppable retail force known as the Now That's What I Call Music! series drafted some equally imposing all-stars for the 20th installment in the best-selling compilation franchise.
According to the latest SoundScan totals, Now 20, which boasts tracks from Missy Elliott, Black Eyed Peas, Franz Ferdinand, Coldplay, the Pussycat Dolls, Ciara, Destiny's Child, Kelly Clarkson, Fall Out Boy and others, crushed Santana to take Billboard's #1, with week-one sales of close to 378,000. But Carlos shouldn't take the defeat too hard — few can top the consistently successful Now collections when it comes to chart debuts.
Santana and the wow of Now aside, it was a frail week at retail for chart newcomers. This week's Billboard totals reflect the advent of the holiday-shopping season, as the chart is riddled with greatest-hits collections released in droves toward the tail end of the year. This week, Blink-182's Greatest Hits debuts at #6 with close to 72,000 copies sold, while Slipknot's 9.0: Live, which is loaded with live renditions of some of the mask-donning metal band's most powerful tracks, opens at #17 with 42,000 plus scans.
John Fogerty's The Long Road Home: The Ultimate John Fogerty/ Creedence Collection debuts at #13 with 47,000 copies sold. Sliver: The Best of the Box, a collection of unreleased Nirvana tracks and a sampling of tunes issued via last year's With the Lights Out box set, debuts at #21 on the chart, selling more than 38,000 units. Ozzy Osbourne's Under Cover, an album of classic rock covers (several of which first appeared on Ozzy's Prince of Darkness box set), debuts at #134, with nearly 9,000 in sales.
A number of previously released hits discs also experienced a surge in sales this week — most notably, Guns N' Roses' Greatest Hits, which takes #60 with more than 17,000 copies sold thanks to an 18 percent increase in retail interest, and Hilary Duff's Most Wanted, in at #52 with 20,000 scans reflecting an 11 percent sales spike.
As for the chart's top 10, Nickelback's All the Right Reasons holds strong at #3 with sales of close to 101,000 while the Black Eyed Peas, who are dominating airwaves with the single "My Humps," finish at #4 with 86,000 in sales for their latest, Monkey Business. Destiny's Child's #1's falls four spots to #5 with week-two scans of 85,000, while Martina McBride's Timeless takes the #7 spot with sales of 63,000 and change. Wherever You Are, the latest from Christian rockers Third Day, debuts at #8 with nearly 63,000 copies flying off record-store shelves, followed at #9 by Rod Stewart's Thanks for the Memory ... The Great American Songbook, Volume IV, which sold 62,000 copies. Ashlee Simpson's I Am Me rounds out the top 10 with sales of 54,000.
Other notable debuts on this week's chart include former Phish-erman Trey Anastasio's Shine, which opens at #64 with 16,000 copies sold, and Imogen Heap's Speak For Yourself, which debuts at #182 with 6,000 in sales.
For more on Blink-182's break, see the feature "Tom DeLonge: No More Compromises"