Alicia Keys

Keys ‘Unplugs’ For 3rd Straight No. 1 Disc    ·    October 19th, 2005

Alicia Keys extends her chart-topping legacy this week, notching her third consecutive No. 1 bow on The Billboard 200. With first-week U.S. sales of 196,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, “Unplugged” (J Records) arrives ahead of last week’s No. 1, Nickelback’s “All the Right Reasons,” as well as new offerings from Gary Allan and Ricky Martin.

In 2003, “The Diary of Alicia Keys” took the top slot with a 618,000-copy start, following the No. 1 opening of her 2001 debut, “Songs in A Minor,” which had first week sales of 236,000. Those titles have sold 4.4 million and 6 million, respectively.

Recorded in July at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, “Unplugged” is a mix of Keys originals and covers with special guests that include Common, Mos Def, Damian Marley and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. A new single, “Unbreakable,” originally intended for “Diary,” has climbed into the top 20 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

After spending one week at the summit, Nickelback’s Roadrunner/IDJMG set falls to No. 2 on sales of 170,000, a typical 48% second week sales slide.

At No. 3, “Tough All Over” gives Allan a career-high perch on The Billboard 200 and his first No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. Sales of 97,000 mark the best sales week the MCA Nashville country artist has posted. His 2003 set “See If I Care” started at No. 17 with 58,000 copies and has sold 800,000 to date.

The yo-yo effect strikes the Black Eyed Peas’ “Monkey Business” (A&M/Interscope) again as the album rebounds 9-4 on a 13% gain to 90,000 copies. Kanye West’s “Late Registration” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) jumps 6-5 despite a 12% dip to 83,000.

Martin’s “Life” (Columbia), his first English-language album in five years, opens at No. 6 on the strength of 73,000 copies. His last such set, 2000’s “Sound Loaded,” bowed at No. 4 with 318,000 units and has sold 1.7 million.

Rounding out the top tier is Sheryl Crow’s “Wildflower” (A&M), falling 5-7 on a 44% drop to 59,000; Twista’s “The Day After” (Atlantic), which dips 2-8 on a 55% skid to 58,000; Gretchen Wilson’s “All Jacked Up” (Epic), slipping 4-9 as sales slid 52% to 57,000; and Young Jeezy’s “Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation” (Corporate Thugz/Def Jam/IDJMG), which leaps 19-10 on a 3% rise to 54,000.

Also debuting this week is Story Of The Year’s sophomore effort, “In the Wake of Determination” (Maverick). The No. 19 entry and first-week sales of 42,000 are career bests for the St. Louis-based rock act. It’s a marked improvement over the group’s 2003 debut, “Page Avenue,” which started at No. 104 with 11,000 units and has sold 790,000.

Sevendust’s first post-TVT album, “Next” (Winedark), starts at No. 20 with 41,000 copies. The band’s 2003 set “Seasons” entered at No. 14 with 67,000 and has sold 303,000.

Other notable entries include Danger Doom’s “The Mouse and the Mask” (Epitaph, No. 41), Dolly Parton’s “Those Were the Days” (Sugar Hill, No. 48) and Jamie Cullum’s “Catching Tales” (Verve, No. 49).

Overall U.S. album sales were down 6% from last week at 10 million units, about 2.6% off the same week last year. Year-to-date sales trail 2004 by 10% at 436 million units.

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