Simple Plan debut at #14, the only new release on Billboard's Top 20

By | February 21, 2008 at 6:40 AM

In a slow week for new releases, mellow crooner Jack Johnson remained No. 1 on the U.S. pop album charts Wednesday, while newly minted Grammy winners Amy Winehouse and Herbie Hancock surged into the top five.

Johnson’s “Sleep Through the Static” sold 179,545 copies in the week ended February 17, according to Nielsen SoundScan, enough to lead the field for a second week.

Canadian rock band Simple Plan’s self-titled album started at No. 14 with 39,000 copies — 100,000 copies short of the No. 3 debut for its previous release, 2004’s “Still Not Getting Any…”

Overall sales were down 11.6 percent from the same week last year, when Norah Jones’ “Not Too Late” logged a second round at No. 1 with 211,000 copies.

The new 25th anniversary reissue of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” would have opened at No. 2, thanks to sales of about 166,000 copies. But as a catalog release, it was ineligible to chart on the Billboard 200. The project includes reworked “Thriller” tracks by Akon, Kanye West, Fergie and

Instead, the No. 2 slot went to Winehouse’s “Back to Black,” which yielded five Grammys on February 10 including record and song of the year. It jumped 22 places after selling about 115,000 copies.

Hancock’s shock album of the year winner “River: The Joni Letters,” only the second traditional jazz release to win the coveted race in the Grammys’ 50-year history, surged 154 places to No. 5 with 54,000 copies, a 967 percent sales increase.

Alicia Keys, who performed twice and won two Grammys, held at No. 3 with “As I Am,” which sold 109,000 copies. The “2008 Grammy Nominees” compilation climbed one to No. 5 with 72,000.

Among other Grammy honorees, the Foo Fighters’ rock album of the year winner “Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace” was up 43 places to No. 22 with 33,000 copies, and Kanye West’s rap album winner “Graduation” ascended 24 places to No. 40 with 23,000.

Elsewhere, the soundtrack to “Juno” held at No. 6 with 53,000, while best new artist Grammy nominee Taylor Swift’s self-titled album rose three to No. 7 with 52,000. Also moving 52,000, Sheryl Crow’s “Detours” fell six to No. 8 in its second week. Two-time Grammy winner Mary J. Blige’s “Growing Pains” fell two to No. 9 with 49,000 copies. The soundtrack to “Step Up 2” rose three to No. 10 with 45,000 units, following its No. 3 debut at the weekend box office.

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