Ladies and gentlemen... meet Creed. After building a fan base with little help from mainstream media outlets (such as MTV), the rock outfit will grab the number one spot on next week's "Billboard" album chart with its sophomore release, "Human Clay."According to sales figures released by SoundScan on Wednesday, the Florida band sold more than 315,000 copies of the album to top new releases from Garth Brooks, Method Man and Redman, and last week's number one, Nine Inch Nails. While finding acceptance at rock radio, Creed has had a hard time breaking through on MTV, until now. The band is finding airtime with the first video from "Human Clay" for the track "Higher." Last week's number one, Nine Inch Nails' "The Fragile," took a nose dive after its strong first week. After selling more than 228,000 copies in its first week, the album sold 89,000 copies in its second week, falling from number one to number 19. Next week will be a volatile one on the chart as Marc Anthony, Sting, the Lost Boyz, the Indigo Girls, Mac, and the "Drive Me Crazy" soundtrack all crack the top 50. Latin star Marc Anthony scores a top ten debut with his self-titled album landing at number eight. Sting reaches the top 20 with his latest effort, "Brand New Day," arriving at number 15. The Lost Boyz' "LB IV Life" arrives at 32, while the Indigo Girls' "Come On Now Social" (which features help from Sheryl Crow, Joan Osborne, Me'Shell N'degeocello, and Luscious Jackson's Kate Schellenbach) debuts at 34. A but further down, Mac's "World War III" hits at 44, while the Britney Spears-driven "Drive Me Crazy" soundtrack lands at 48. Other notable debuts include Everything But The Girl at 65, Long Beach Dub All Stars at 67, Our Lady Peace at 69, Clint Black at 79, Paula Cole at 97, Yes at 99, ZZ Top at 100, Solé at 127, Smokey Robinson at 134, and Tony Bennett at 181. Among artists who have been hanging around on the chart for a while, Santana continues to see sales of his "Supernatural" rise as he rides high at number four. Lou Bega's "Little Bit Of Mambo" gets a bit of a sales goose (up from 104,000 copies to 112,000) from its title track, while Blink-182 also gets a jolt (from 53,000 to 69,000) courtesy of its latest single, "All The Small Things." Further down, hard rockers and Ozzfest grads System Of A Down and Static-X continue their slow builds up the charts as System sees its self-titled debut jump from 169 to 125 and Static bolts from 151 to 128.
-- Robert Mancini