Heavy-metal veterans Metallica stormed the upper reaches of the Billboard 200 albums chart this week with Garage Inc., a 2-CD set of their favorite covers that landed at #2 in its first week of release.
While selling approximately 220,000 fewer copies than country superstar Garth Brooks, who held the #1 for a second consecutive week, Garage Inc. was the highest debut in a week that saw many "Super Tuesday" alumni releases -- the major-artist discs issued on the decade's biggest release date, Nov. 17 -- tumble down the charts.
Garage Inc. moved 426,438 copies for the week ending Nov. 29, according to the publicity office at Elektra Records, Metallica's label.
The 27-song set is a collection of previously released and newly recorded cover songs performed by Metallica, ranging from theatrical '70s rockers Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy" to legendary metal-band Motorhead's "Overkill" to mainstream rocker Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" (RealAudio excerpt of cover version).
Meanwhile, the week's second highest debut came from slain gangsta-rapper Tupac Shakur. His Greatest Hits collection, a 2-CD, 25-track set that includes four unreleased songs, landed at #5 based on sales of 268,144, Amaru Records spokesperson George Pryce confirmed.
Amaru Records is the label formed by Tupac's mother following a deal with Death Row Records that granted her the rights to more than 100 of Shakur's recordings. The Greatest Hits CD contains songs from Shakur albums released on Interscope Records and Death Row Records.
Though Metallica and Tupac debuted high, they came a distant second to last-week's chart phenomenon, Brooks. Brooks' publicists at Capitol Nashville report that his much-hyped Double Live moved 649,496 copies in its second week of release, bringing his two-week grand total to 1,734,869.
In other debut news, Pearl Jam's Live on Two Legs, the first official live record from the oft-bootlegged grunge group, landed at #15, followed by Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA's RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo at #16. Right behind was the various-artists collection, Chef Aid -- South Park the Album, which bowed at #17.
RZA (born Robert Diggs) who had said he was a bit nervous about how his album would be received, said it would prove him to be a multi-dimensional artist.
"Wu-Tang Clan fans are going to appreciate it a lot," he said. "So I'm really asking for their support on this one."
"I think it will surprise [Wu-Tang fans]," he continued, "only in the sense of some people may not believe how I can branch out. They may think I'm stuck in one scope. This is going to show them that Bobby Digital and RZA is wide-ranging."
Folkie singer/songwriter Jewel saw her "Super Tuesday" release, Spirit, slip only one notch to #4 in its second week of release. Last week, the album, which features the single "Hands" (RealAudio excerpt), moved 367,945 copies; according to an Atlantic Records spokesperson, Spirit's sales held pretty tight this week at 281,026. Also hanging in for the long haul in the top 10 was pop-diva Mariah Carey, whose #1's dipped from #4 to #7.
Further down the charts, the rarities compilation, Volume 1: Collection, from melodic rappers Bone Thugs-N-Harmony landed at #32, and producer/rapper Timbaland's Tim's Bio: From The Motion Picture: Life From Da Basement bowed at #41.
Despite the strong showings from Metallica and Tupac, Brooks was the week's biggest seller for the second week in a row.
Last week, Double Live, a 2-CD set that features live versions of such Brooks hits as "Friends in Low Places" and "Longneck Bottle," sold more than 1 million copies, breaking both the debut-week sales record previously held by Pearl Jam's Vs. (1993) and the one-week sales record previously held by the soundtrack to the Whitney Houston film "The Bodyguard" (1992).
After Brooks broke the record, it was revealed that the Handleman Company, a distributor of music to Wal-Mart -- one of Brook's biggest retailers -- added two days to their week's album sales tally as reported to SoundScan, the company that tracks music sales. The change aligns Handleman with the rest of the industry.
Though Brooks managed to hold on to his #1 slot, many of his colleagues in last week's "Super Tuesday" race didn't fare as well.
Wu-Tang Clan rapper Method Man, for example, saw his Tical 2000: Judgment Day fall from the #2 slot to #11 on sales of 151,532, according to a spokesperson at Def Jam, Method Man's label. The album, which features the single "Judgement Day" (RealAudio excerpt), now has sold a total of 562,403 -- enough to earn Method Man a gold record (500,000 sold) from the Recording Industry Association of America, the official music-industry trade organization.
Other "Super Tuesday" releases seeing a significant slip include Southern California punk rockers the Offspring, whose Americana may be, as their song title indicates, "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (RealAudio excerpt), but it still dropped from #6 to #12. Also falling was R&B diva Whitney Houston, whose My Love Is Your Love debuted last week at #13 and slipped this week to #18.