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3 Doors Down Steers Straight to No. 1

Los Angeles – Rock band 3 Doors Down earned its first No. 1 on the U.S. pop albums chart Wednesday with its latest CD, “Seventeen Days.”

The Republic/Universal release sold 231,000 copies in the week ended Feb. 13, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the best sales week of the band’s career.

The Mississippi-bred combo’s previous high came with 2002’s “Away From the Sun,” which opened and peaked at No. 8 with 115,000 and has sold 3.3 million to date. 2000’s debut “The Better Life” has sold 5.2 million copies so far.

Previous champ, rapper the Game’s “The Documentary” (Aftermath/G-Unit/Interscope), slipped to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with 158,000 copies.

Punk rock trio Green Day, which won the Grammy Sunday for best rock album, held steady at No. 3 for a second week with “American Idiot.” The group performed the title song during the show. The sales impact of the Grammys, which earned its lowest ratings in years, will be reflected in next week’s chart.

Veteran R&B artist Brian McKnight also earned the highest-charting album of his career with “Gemini” (Universal Motown), which debuted at No. 4 with 103,000 copies. His last three studio sets debuted and peaked at No. 7 on The Billboard 200, most recently, 2003’s “U Turn.”

“Totally Country Vol. 4” (Sony/BMG/WEA/Universal/RLG) entered at No. 5 with 98,000 units. Featuring hits by Toby Keith, Gretchen Wilson and Los Lonely Boys, the set is the highest-charting for the line to date. 2003’s “Totally Country Vol. 3” bowed at No. 37 with 29,000 copies and has sold 307,000 to date.

John Legend’s “Get Lifted” (Columbia) slipped one to No. 6 with 96,000 copies. The R&B newcomer performed with Kanye West, Mavis Staples and the Blind Boys of Alabama during the Grammys.

Michael Buble rounded out the top 10 debuts this week at No. 7 with “It’s Time” (Warner Bros.) Known for his romantic crooning, the singer rode Valentine’s Day -related sales of 93,000 for his third studio set, which is also his highest-charting. Last year’s “Come Fly With Me” debuted and peaked at No. 55 with 23,000 units and has sold 113,000 to date.

Kenny Chesney’s “Be As You Are: Songs From an Old Blue Chair” (BNA) dropped four places to No. 8 to 89,000, while Tina Turner ‘s “All the Best” (Capitol) tumbled seven places to No. 9 with 88,000 copies. Usher’s “Confessions” (LaFace/Zomba) logged a second week at No. 10 with 87,000.

At No. 12, Lee Ann Womack earned the highest-charting album of her career with “There’s More Where That Came From” (MCA Nashville), which started with 83,000 units. Previously, the country songstress’ best was 2002’s “Something Worth Leaving Behind,” which debuted and peaked at No. 16 with 53,000 copies and has sold 289,000 to date.

Five-time Grammy-winner Ray Charles was the greatest gainer on the Billboard 200 as his posthumous set “Genius Loves Company” (Concord/Hear Music) zoomed up nine places to No. 15 with 74,000 copies. Rhino’s “Ray” soundtrack slipped two places to No. 16 with 62,000 copies.

Other notable debuts included Razor & Tie’s “Fired Up 2” at No. 48, K-Ci & JoJo’s “All My Life: Their Greatest Hits” (No. 52, Geffen), Tracy Byrd’s “Greatest Hits” (No. 61, BNA) and Krayzie Bone’s “Gemini: Good vs. Evil” (No. 69, Ball’R Records).

Overall U.S. sales benefited from pre-Valentine’s Day shopping with a 14% increase over last week at 13 million units, and a 2.6% gain from the same week last year. Year-to-date sales were down from 2004 by 6.6% at 6.5 million units.

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