October 22, 2008 / 11:43 PM / 10 years ago

Kenny Chesney leads pop chart as sales slide

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Country star Kenny Chesney scored his fifth No. 1 on the U.S. pop album chart Wednesday, but with one of his worst opening tallies in years.

Kenny Chesney poses with the Entertainer of the Year award at the 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards show in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 18, 2008. REUTERS/Richard Brian

“Lucky Old Sun,” Chesney’s 11th studio album, sold 176,000 copies during the week ended October 19, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The last studio album to start so poorly was “Everywhere We Go,” which sold 30,000 copies when it opened at No. 51 in 1999.

His previous release, “Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates,” debuted at No. 3 with 387,000 copies last September. His career-best start was the 551,000 haul for “When the Sun Goes Down” in 2004.

Chesney ended T.I.’s two-week reign atop the Billboard 200, as the rapper’s “Paper Trail” slipped to No. 2 with 132,000 copies.

Singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne easily scored his best charting and sales week yet as his third album “Gossip in the Grain” bowed at No. 3 with 60,000 copies. His 2006 set, “Till The Sun Turns Black,” opened at No. 28 with 28,000, while his 2004 debut, “Trouble,” moved 3,000 units in its first week, peaking at No. 189.

Metallica’s former chart-topper “Death Magnetic” fell two places to No. 4 with 51,000, and Jennifer Hudson’s self-titled debut dropped one to No. 5 with 46,000.

In its 54th week on the chart, Kid Rock’s “Rock N Roll Jesus” rose one to No. 6 with 45,000.

British rock band Keane’s third album, “Perfect Symmetry,” opened at No. 7 with 43,000. Its last offering, 2006’s “Under the Iron Sea,” entered at No. 4 with 75,000.

Ne-Yo’s “Year of the Gentleman” held tight at No. 8 with 40,000 copies.

Country/rock vet Lucinda Williams’ “Little Honey” started at No. 9 with 35,000. Her 2007 album, “West,” sold 57,000 copies in its first week, but debuted at No. 14. James Taylor’s “Covers” held at No. 10 with 31,000.

Other debuts included country singer Billy Currington’s “Little Bit of Everything” at No. 13, indie singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson’s “Be OK” at No. 35, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s “Yo-Yo Ma & Friends: Songs of Joy & Peace” at No. 41.

At 6.53 million units, sales last week were up 1.8% from the previous week, but down 17.6% from the same week last year.


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