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Destiny's Child Bows At No. 1

R&B superstar group Destiny’s Child did more than just survive in the album rankings this week – it rode an unprecedented wave of buzz and anticipation straight to No. 1, knocking fellow diva Janet Jackson down to second place.

The Columbia Records trio’s third album “Survivor” shifted more than 663,000 records in its opening week, according to SoundScan data issued on Wednesday.

The album got a healthy shot in the arm from relentless promotion in the weeks leading up to its debut, including copious radio airplay for the album’s title cut and a flurry of MTV specials, culminating in a two-hour career retrospective called “Destiny’s Child Live.”

Relegated to No. 2 was Jackson’s “All For You” (Virgin), whose sales figures declined by 50% week-over-week to a still impressive 310,000.

Meanwhile, veteran rock chanteuse Stevie Nicks staged a resounding comeback with her first new studio record in seven years, “Trouble In Shangri-La” (Warner). The Fleetwood Mac alumna’s seventh solo LP debuted at No. 5 – matching her best performance ever for “The Wild Heart” in 1983 – and sold a formidable 109,000 copies.

Following closely on the heels of Nicks were pre-fab pop quintet Eden’s Crush, whose album “Popstars” (London/Sire) came in sixth with 99,000 copies sold. The release follows a record-breaking performance for the band’s first single “Get Over Yourself,” which topped the charts and sold 77,000 copies in its debut week.

The group, born out of the WB Network’s reality series (somewhat unimaginatively titled “Popstars”), represents one of the first high-profile attempts at synergy across the myriad brands of AOL Time Warner (London/Sire is a unit of the conglomerate’s Warner Music division).

The only other debut to crack the top 20 was “Free To Fly” (Epic), from hit Christian quartet Point of Grace, which came in at 20 and sold just under 44,000 copies.

A number of last week’s strong performers suffered marked sales declines in the latest results. Country crooner Tim McGraw’s “Set This Circus Down” (Curb) dropped two places to No. 4 on a sales decline of 48%, and the Bee Gees’ “This is Where I Came In” (Universal) slumped to 33 from 16 after moving 33% fewer units.

There doesn’t appear to be any clear rival for Destiny’s Child at the top spot in next week’s release slate, but it does include new material from the Black Crowes and Blues Traveler. The following week’s lineup is a bit more robust: Look for albums from R.E.M., Missy Elliott and Tool.

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