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Creed, Linkin Park, Ludacris, Nickelback Stay Locked At Top Of Chart

Over the past week there were explosive developments concerning the fate of American Taliban member John Walker Lindh, imploding energy company Enron and president Bush’s problems with pretzels, but very little has been changing on the album chart. That means Creed’s Weathered will hang on to the #1 slot of next week’s Billboard 200, giving the band a solid two-month run as top dogs. Linkin Park will hold tight at #2 with Hybrid Theory as they embark on their last tour before working on new material, Ludacris will remain steady at #3 with Word of Mouf and Nickelback’s Silver Side Up will also stay the course, clocking in at #4.

Also like last week, album sales continue to drop across the board. Each of the aforementioned acts saw an approximate 20 percent sales dip. Creed’s third album sold almost 138,000 copies, Linkin Park moved 99,000 units, Ludacris sold 83,000 and Nickelback sold 81,000, according to SoundScan figures released Wednesday (January 16). None of these totals would have made the top 15 eight weeks ago. Only around 20 acts in the Billboard 200 enjoyed an increase in sales. This includes Hoobastank, whose self-titled debut sold almost 4,000 more copies than last week. The band will also make one of the most dramatic upward chart moves, vaulting 35 slots to #37. And squeaky-clean teen-pop-grunge band the Calling’s album, Camino Palmero, will jump 15 positions to #44.

Predictably, major Grammy nominees are being treated to a chart surge. Alicia Keys’ Songs in A Minor will jump five slots from #13 to #8, U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind increases 19 positions from #58 to #39 and India.Arie’s Acoustic Soul leaps 19 spots to #121. However, none of these acts enjoyed actual sales increases.

Aside from Keys, two other acts in the top 10 will make chart leaps. Nas’ Stillmatic climbs four notches to #5, selling 75, 000 copies, and Pink inches upward two spots to #6, having sold 73,000 copies of Missundaztood. Again, neither act reached their prior week’s sales.

While Paul McCartney’s Driving Rain will cling to the bottom of the charts, checking in at #200 with 6,000 albums sold, the “I Am Sam” soundtrack, which features Eddie Vedder, Aimee Mann, the Wallflowers, Ben Harper and others covering Beatles tunes, will debut at #25 with 36,000 copies sold. Other soundtracks also had good weeks. The “Orange County” soundtrack, which features new songs by Foo Fighters and the Offspring, spring-boards 42 slots to #123, selling over 15,000 copies; the soundtrack to “The Fast and the Furious,” which features Ja Rule, Faith Evans, Nate Dogg, R. Kelly and others, shoots up 39 positions to #79; and its companion disc, More Fast and Furious, climbs 44 places to #122.

Now that the holiday season is behind us, you shouldn’t be surprised that Now That’s What I Call Christmas! will drop 94 positions from #86 to #180. What is a bit shocking is how it manages to rank above Weezer (#184), Tool (#187), Ryan Adams (#189) and Mick Jagger (#192). Are that many people already buying Christmas gifts for 2002?

Other major decliners include Alien Ant Farm, whose Anthology will dip 23 places, slipping to #68; Green Day, whose best-of collection International Superhits! will slide 24 notches to #95; Wu-Tang Clan, whose Iron Flag will drop 15 positions to #62 in its fourth week on the charts; and Madonna, whose Greatest Hits Vol. 2 will forfeit 13 spots to land at #41.

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