March 12, 2009 / 1:24 AM / in 9 years

U2 makes 7th trip to top of U.S. album chart

NEW YORK (Billboard) - U2 scored its seventh No. 1 album on the U.S. pop album chart Wednesday, although sales were down sharply from the opening haul for its previous release.

<p>Members of the rock group U2, Adam Clayton (L), Bono (2nd L), Edge (2nd R) and Larry Mullen (R), hold street signs after a portion of West 53rd Street was renamed U2 Way in New York, March 3, 2009. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn</p>

“No Line on the Horizon” sold 484,000 copies during the week ended March 8, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In 2004, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” bowed at No. 1 with 840,000.

U2 first topped the Billboard 200 in 1987 with “The Joshua Tree,” spending nine consecutive weeks at No. 1. The group followed it with four No. 1s in a row: “Rattle and Hum” (1988), “Achtung Baby” (1991), “Zooropa” (1993) and “Pop” (1997). The run ended in 2000 when “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” opened at No. 3 behind two rap releases.

The tally for “No Line on the Horizon” is the best for an artist since Britney Spears’ “Circus” arrived at No. 1 in early December with 505,000. U2 is now tied with Led Zeppelin for the third-most No. 1s among groups, behind only the Beatles’ 19 and the Rolling Stones’ nine.

U2 ended Taylor Swift’s nonconsecutive 11-week reign at the top, as the country starlet’s second album “Fearless” slipped to No. 2 with 52,000.

Neko Case easily earned her biggest charting week yet as “Middle Cyclone” debuted at No. 3 with 44,000. Her last album, 2006’s “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood,” debuted and peaked at No. 54 with an 18,000 start.

Lady GaGa’s “The Fame” climbed three places to a new peak of No. 4 after selling 42,000 copies. Nickelback’s “Dark Horse” held at No. 5 with 36,000.

Jamie Foxx’s “Intuition” rose three to No. 6 with 32,000. Denver rock act the Fray’s self-titled album rose one to No. 7, also with 32,000. Beyonce’s “I Am... Sasha Fierce” fell two to No. 8 with 31,000, while the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire” fll five to No. 9 with 24,000. In its 23rd week on the chart, T.I.’s “Paper Trail” rebounded one to No. 10 with 24,000.

Total album sales stand at 7.02 million units, up 1.6% from the previous week, but down 8.6% from the year-ago period. Year-to-date sales, at 70.84 million, were off 11.5%.

Editing by Dean Goodman at Reuters

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