Johnny Cash’s A Hundred Highways Takes Top Billboard Spot

Rise Against, 'Pirates' soundtrack crack the top 25 during slow sales week.

Johnny Cash’s American V: A Hundred Highways earned the #1 spot on Billboard‘s albums chart with 88,000 copies sold during a slow holiday week at retail — overall sales for the nation’s top 200 albums were down by nearly 450,000 units, according to SoundScan.

Had Chris Carrabba waited seven days to release his latest studio offering, Dusk and Summer, he may have finally scored that Billboard-topping debut that’s eluded Dashboard Confessional, who opened at #2 on the previous albums chart with 134,000 copies sold — right behind the first-place finisher India.Arie with Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship.

American V was one of only four new releases to crack the top 200 this week, and one of only two to debut in the chart’s top 10. The latest Rick Rubin-helmed release from the late music legend contains “Like the 309,” the final song Cash wrote and recorded before his September 2003 death. A Hundred Highways is the first of Cash’s acclaimed American recordings to reach the top 20 on the Billboard 200.

The Sufferer & the Witness, the fourth studio release from Chicago punks Rise Against, scores the #10 spot after selling more than 48,000 during its first week of release.

The two other newcomers to the chart include the soundtrack to last weekend’s #1 film, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.” The record opens at #24 with sales of 30,000 and change. Latin sensation Diana Reyes’ Las No. 1 de la Reina bows at #143 with 6,000 scans.

Nelly Furtado came close to returning to #1 this week, following the chart-capping success of her Loose two weeks prior. But the album came up 7,000 copies short of swiping the rug out from under Cash, climbing one spot to #2 with 81,000 discs scanned. India.Arie’s Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship follows at #3 with nearly 69,000 sales, just in front of the Dixie Chicks’ Taking the Long Way, which stays put at #4 with sales of 57,000 and then some.

Gnarls Barkley climb one spot to #5 after selling close to 56,000 copies of their St. Elsewhere last week, while Rihanna’s A Girl Like Me drops one to #6 with over 55,000 sales. Rascal Flatts’ Me & My Gang comes in at #7 with close to 55,000 scans. And in at #8 is the soundtrack to the Disney Channel original movie “High School Musical,” which continues to rack up sales. Close to 52,000 people grabbed a copy this past week, bringing the disc’s six-month sales total to over 2.6 million.

And what of Carrabba, you wonder? Well, Dashboard’s Dusk and Summer slid seven spots on this week’s chart to #9. Week-two sales of the LP dropped a fairly standard 63 percent, to finish with just under 50,000 scans.

Check out “MTV News RAW: Johnny Cash” to watch one of the music legend’s last interviews.

And see “How Nelly Furtado Got Her Ghetto Pass” for an in-depth look at Loose.