Lady Antebellum holds atop U.S. album chart

Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:37pm EST
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By Keith Caulfield

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" claimed the No. 1 spot on the U.S. pop album chart for a second week, while rapper Lil Wayne, who's awaiting a prison sentence, debuted in second place.

The country trio's set sold 209,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, during the week ended February 7. The album bowed atop the list the previous week with sales of 481,000, the biggest sales week for a country album since Taylor Swift's "Fearless" opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 592,000 copies in November 2008.

Lady Antebellum performed the album's title track on the Grammy Awards. The January 31 televised event hit a high note in the Nielsen ratings, with 25.8 million viewers -- the most for the show since 2004 and up 35 percent from 2009's broadcast.

Lil Wayne, another Grammy show performer, debuted Wednesday at No. 2 with his oft-delayed "Rebirth" set, selling 176,000 copies. It's the seventh top 10 album for the hip-hop star, who was scheduled to be sentenced to a year-long prison term Tuesday until dental surgery delayed the sentencing.

Wayne's previous album, "Tha Carter III," debut at No. 1 in 2008 with 1 million sold in its first week. "Rebirth" did better than initial projections of 125,000 to 150,000.

The chart's second-highest debuting album was Nick Jonas & the Administration's "Who I Am," at No. 3 with 82,000. The Jonas brother's solo debut also started better than expected; industry prognosticators had predicted sales of 60,000 to 65,000 copies.

The third and final debut in the top 10 was Rob Zombie, whose "Hellbilly Deluxe 2" started at No. 8 with 49,000. The set is the rocker/director's first effort on Loud & Proud/Roadrunner after almost 18 years with Geffen Records. Zombie's last studio set, "Educated Horses," opened at No. 5 with 108,000 in 2006.

As for the holdovers on the chart that populate the top 10 this week, all but one of them have an explicit connection to the Grammy Awards. (And even the one that didn't -- Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed at Dream" -- was joked about on the show by presenter and winner Stephen Colbert.) Show opener and two-time winner Lady Gaga saw "The Fame" get pushed down one spot to No. 4 (with sales of 79,000). Outside the top 10, her "Fame Monster" EP dropped two rungs to No. 12 (34,000). The "2010 Grammy Nominees" compilation climbed three slots to No. 5 (71,000), while performer and winner the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." jumped four spots to No. 6 with (70,000).

Taylor Swift, who won four trophies and performed on the show, moved up the chart with her album-of-the-year winner, "Fearless," which rose from No. 13 to No. 7 (53,000). The aforementioned Boyle release fell five spots to No. 9 (46,000). Finally, best new artist winner Zac Brown Band reached the top 10 for the first time with "The Foundation," climbing 12 slots to No. 10 (40,000).

Overall album sales totaled 6.72 million units, up 3.3 percent from the previous week and down 8.3 percent from the comparable sales week of 2009.