Country star Garth Brooks kept his iron grip on the #1 slot on the Billboard 200 albums chart with Double Live, a heavily promoted two-CD collection that has gone double platinum in just three weeks.
The record-setting release continued to dominate the top 10, selling more than 400,000 additional copies during the past week. A total of more than 2 million copies of the double-LP have been sold, earning it another platinum certification.
But with no new releases making their presence known, the upper echelons of the chart remained relatively stagnant.
For the first time in five weeks, no album debuted in the chart's top 10. In fact, none debuted in the top 100, as No Limit rapper Full Blooded saw his Memorial Day take the #112 slot on sales of 21,776 -- the highest debut of the week.
Brooks' Double Live set the record for the most copies sold in a week when SoundScan -- the company that tracks record sales -- reported that it sold 1.08 million copies upon its debut in the week ending Nov. 22. Once again, the album sold more than any record this past week. The two-CD set moved 423,332 copies in the week ending Dec. 6, according to SoundScan, bringing its three-week total to 2,158,201.
Last week's highest debut, Garage Inc. from heavy-metal heroes Metallica, slid slightly but held tight in the top 10. The two-CD collection of covers, including versions of mainstream rocker Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" (RealAudio excerpt) and southern guitar-slingers Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone," moved from #2 to #5 on sales of 204,993. Its two-week total now stands at 631,431.
"I've been listening to it pretty much non-stop since I got it," Metallica fan Wayne Simpson, 27, wrote in an e-mail. "I think it has done well because there's a lot of new fans who haven't been able to get their hands on the stuff on the CD that was previously released."
With Metallica in the #5 spot, pop diva Celine Dion moved up from #3 to #2 with These Are Special Times; pop singers 'N Sync's self-titled debut climbed from #6 to #3 and singer/songwriter Jewel held tight at #4 with Spirit.
The bottom half of the top 10 was a big game of musical chairs.
The late gangsta rapper Tupac Shakur's Greatest Hits slid from #5 to #6, while pop singer Mariah Carey's No. 1's held tight at #7 and pop vocalists Backstreet Boys inched from #9 to #8 with their self-titled debut. 'N Sync appear again at #9 with Home for Christmas, while pop-country star Shania Twain's Come On Over jumped back into the #10 spot from last week's #14.
Aside from Full Blooded's bow, there were not many notable debuts on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
At #142 was the various-artist compilation N.W.A Anniversary Tribute, a song-by-song cover of gangsta-rap pioneers N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton. The album, which features Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's version of "F--- tha Police" (RealAudio excerpt), moved 169,924 copies in its first week of release.
In other N.W.A.-related news, former member Ice Cube saw his War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc) take a sales hit as it dropped from #23 to #30 after moving 63,691 copies.
Further down the chart, pop-country vet Kenny Rogers checked in at #166 with Christmas From the Heart, while Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin landed at #181 with Holiday Songs and Lullabies.
"This has proven to be a very strong year for Christmas releases," said Brad Stern, assistant manager at the record store Harmony House in Birmingham, Mich. "We always do well with them at this time of year, obviously, but it seems rare to have so many big name artists with new Christmas albums at one time."
The chart might not have seen many debuts, or even much upward movement, but this week's sales totals did lead to some significant drops.
Wu-Tang Clan-leader RZA's first solo album, RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo, slipped from #16 to #36 in its second week of release, with sales of 53,045 bringing his two-week total to 178,911. Fellow Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man saw his Tical 2000: Judgement Day slide from #11 to #18 on sales of 95,887.
Grunge-rockers Pearl Jam saw their Live on Two Legs stumble from to #15 to #26, with its two-week sales totaling 208,519, while Bone Thugs- N- Harmony's The Collection: Vol. 1 moved from #32 to #46. Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson wasn't able to turn the controversy surrounding his alleged violent confrontation with a Spin magazine editor into record sales, as his Mechanical Animals continued its chart decline; slipping from #97 to #109 on sales of 22,305 -- 3,684 fewer copies than were sold the previous week.
Next week's chart may look similar, with few high-profile releases hitting store shelves. Of the few that were released Tuesday, rapper Redman's highly anticipated Doc's The Name 2000 is expected to find a place in the chart's upper register.