Backstreet Boys Smash Sales Mark With Millennium

Pop group's second album sells 1.1 million copies in a week, breaking Garth Brooks' record.

Pop sensations the Backstreet Boys have broken a modern record by selling 1.1 million copies of their second album, Millennium, in one week.

The album, released May 18, sold 1,133,505 copies in the U.S. in the week ending Sunday — the most any record has sold in a week since SoundScan began tracking album sales in 1991.

The previous record holder was country singer Garth Brooks’ Double Live, with one-week sales of 1,085,373 in November. The third-best week belongs to Pearl Jam’s Vs., which sold more than 950,000 the week it was released in September 1993.

The blockbuster week easily puts Millennium at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, ahead of Puerto Rican pop singer Ricky Martin’s self-titled
English-language debut, which entered the chart at #1 a week ago and had another smash week, selling nearly a half-million copies.

Still, Ricky Martin, which had the best week of any album this year before Millennium, has sold in two weeks about what the Backstreet Boys album sold in one.

Millennium, which features “I Want It That Way” (RealAudio excerpt), follows up The Backstreet Boys (1997), which has sold more than 28 million copies worldwide, according to the band’s publicists. But it also represents a “rebirth” for the Orlando, Fla., quintet, after a tumultuous 1998 in which two members of the band lost relatives, another (Brian Littrell) underwent open-heart surgery and the group switched management, singer Howie Dorough said last week.

“Hopefully, everyone will see the change and it will all be for the good,” Dorough said.

Martin’s album, which includes the single “Livin’ la Vida Loca” (RealAudio excerpt), sold 458,131 copies last week to claim the #2 spot on the chart. Fellow Puerto Rican singer Jennifer Lopez’s “If You Had My Love” passed “Livin’ la Vida Loca” last week as the country’s best-selling single, according to SoundScan figures. Lopez’s first album, On the 6, is due next month.

Completing an all-pop top three was Britney Spears’ … Baby One More Time, which moved up from #6 to #3.

Also debuting on the Billboard 200 albums chart are veteran
singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett’s Beach House on the Moon, which
includes “Math Suks” and “I Will Play for Gumbo,” at #8, and rap duo
Eightball and MJG’s In Our Lifetime Vol. 1 at #10.

MJG (born Marlon Goodwin) recently said he and Eightball (born Premro
Smith), who combine Memphis soul and hardcore rap, wanted to keep the
album musical, reflective and compact (it contains 13 tracks). “We’re
really coming with it, going back to the basics,” he said. “We’re trying to stay grounded [stylistically] with a little space-age twist.”

The rap compilation Rawkus Presents Soundbombing II, which features Black Star and Common, entered the chart at #30. The soundtrack to the Disney movie “Tarzan,” for which rock singer Phil Collins wrote songs, debuted at #45, while volumes two and three of the all-female live set Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music bowed at #87 and #98, respectively. The second volume contains tracks from Sinead O’Connor and Lisa Loeb; the third includes Liz Phair, Sarah McLachlan and Sixpence None the Richer.

Entering at #80 was country singer/songwriter Dwight Yoakam’s Last Chance for a Thousand Years — Dwight Yoakam’s Greatest Hits From the 90′s. The album is spotlighted at Lollapalooza’s website (www.lollapalooza.com), the homepage of the rock festival that’s been cancelled for a second straight year.

In the pop onslaught, rapper Snoop Dogg’s fourth album, No Limit Top Dogg, slipped from #2, where it debuted a week ago, to #7. The album has sold just under 300,000 copies, well below the 770,000 copies his 1998 album Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told sold in its first two weeks.

Buckcherry, the Los Angeles band whose song “Lit Up” (RealAudio excerpt) is a
rock-radio hit, continued climbing the chart with Buckcherry. It moved up 20 spaces to #74.

Rounding out the top 10 were hip-hop soulsters TLC at #4 with Fan Mail; the soundtrack to “Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace” at #5; country singer Shania Twain at #6 with Come on Over; and the hip-hop compilation Ruff Ryders: Ryde or Die Vol. 1 at #9.