Usher Stands Far Above Competition With Second Chart-Topping Debut

Here I Stand sells almost 443,000 copies; 'Sex and the City' soundtrack opens at #2.

When you think of debonair R&B star Usher, you think hits — tracks like "U Remind Me," "My Boo" and "Yeah!" You think about the fact that the dude has sold more than 30 million records worldwide. You think about the legions of fans that make each of his live gigs sell-out events, and words like "icon" start popping into your head. So it should surprise you that, over the course of more than a decade, Usher has had just one album open at #1 on Billboard's albums sales chart.

That is until last week, when the soulful crooner issued his latest studio effort, Here I Stand. According to the latest Nielsen SoundScan totals, after selling more than 442,900 copies, Usher's latest knocks 3 Doors Down's self-titled album from the peak position of next week's chart. His previous release, 2004's Confessions, also bowed on top, but with significantly stronger sales: 1.1 million, to be exact.

But that stark difference in sales shouldn't taint Usher's latest victory one bit. In a market where albums are more often pilfered than purchased, 442,900 scans is no small potatoes. Besides, Usher basically crushed the rest of the field this week. His closest competitor, the "Sex and the City" soundtrack (featuring contributions from Fergie, Jennifer Hudson and Nina Simone), enters the chart at #2, with just 65,900 sold. The nation's third best-seller, 3 Doors Down, sold a mere 63,200 units.

Here I Stand and the "Sex and the City" set were among 16 new releases making their impact on next week's Top 200. Al Green's Lay It Down opened at #9 with 33,800 copies snatched up. But Green's was the only other newcomer to crack the top 10, which is rounded out by Bun B's II Trill at #4 (selling another 40,200 copies), Leona Lewis' Spirit at #5 (38,700), Frank Sinatra's Nothing but the Best at #6 (with 36,900 sold), Duffy's Rockferry at #7 (35,900), Mariah Carey's E=MC2 at #8 (35,600) and Death Cab for Cutie's Narrow Stairs at #10 (with another 33,400 scanned).

Elsewhere on the chart, Fergie's Dutchess LP, which was re-issued last week with four bonus tracks, enjoyed a 131 percent spike in sales, ending the week with 14,800 and climbing from #104 to #28 on the chart. Down in the #46 spot, selling 11,400 copies, is Fergie's Dutchess EP. Meanwhile, Cyndi Lauper returns to the chart at #41, with her Bring Ya to the Brink, which generated 12,000 first-week scans. Underoath's Survive Kaleidoscope opens at #81 with 8,000 copies sold, and Charlotte Sometimes' Waves & the Both of Us enters at #145, with sales reported at 4,300.

36 Crazyfists' Tide and Its Takers bows at #155, selling 4,200 copies. Spiritualized's Songs in A&E claims the #157 spot with 4,100 sold. Lastly, debuting at #199 with 3,100 sold, is KT Tunstall's Live From Soho.