Kanye West outperforms Guns N' Roses on album chart

Wed Dec 3, 2008 1:49pm EST
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By Katie Hasty

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Kanye West has earned his third straight No. 1 on the U.S. pop album chart with the debut of "808s & Heartbreak," while Guns N' Roses' first album in 17 years took third place.

West's Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam set moved 450,000 copies in the U.S. during the week ended November 30, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's the rapper's lowest debut sales figure since his first album, "The College Dropout," bowed with 441,000 in 2004.

His last release, 2007's "Graduation," began with 957,000 at No. 1, and sophomore set "Late Registration" checked in with 860,000 at No. 1 in 2005.

With the help of Thanksgiving sale prices and a performance from the singer at the November 23 American Music Awards, sales for teenage country star Taylor Swift's "Fearless" increased 23 percent to 267,000, pushing the set up from No. 4 to No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

At No. 3 with 261,000 was Guns N' Roses' Best Buy exclusive "Chinese Democracy," the first studio album of original material from the group since 1991. GNR's last studio efforts, "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II," debuted at Nos. 2 and 1, respectively, with sales of 685,000 and 770,000 after being released on the same day in 1991.

Since then, the rock act has charted with a covers set (1993's "The Spaghetti Incident?" with a 190,000 debut), a live effort (1999's "Live Era '87-'93;" 60,000) and a 2004 "Greatest Hits" package (169,000).

Beyonce's "I Am ... Sasha Fierce" declined by 47 percent in its second week, dropping from the top spot to No. 4 with 257,000. Debuting right behind at No. 5 was Ludacris' "Theater of the Mind" with 213,000. That marks the first time an album by the rapper debuted anywhere but No. 1 since 2001's "Word of Mouf" bowed and peaked at No. 3.

The Killers' third album, "Day & Age" entered the chart at No. 6 with 193,000.   Continued...

<p>Kanye West performs at the 2008 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, November 23, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>