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The 'God Bless America' Collection, Inspirational and Patriotic, Is No. 1

Pop Albums

October 25, 2001|ROBERT HILBURN | TIMES POP MUSIC CRITIC

Patriotism makes strange bedfellows.

The unlikely combination of Celine Dion, Bob Dylan, Mariah Carey, Frank Sinatra and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir holds the No. 1 spot on the nation's album chart, thanks to their roles in the collection of patriotic songs.

"God Bless America," a Columbia Records package that features a new studio version of the title track by Dion along with previously released material by most of the other artists, sold 181,000 copies last week, according to SoundScan.

Other selections include a live version of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's "Land of Hope and Dreams," Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A.," Carey's "Hero" and Sinatra's "America the Beautiful."

Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Twin Towers Fund.

Two other inspirational collections also continued to fare well: Enya's "A Day Without Rain" sold 169,000 to finish No. 2, while Greenwood's 1992 album "American Patriot" sold 41,000 to rank No. 1 on Billboard magazine's "catalog" chart, which ranks sales of older product.

The other artists in the Top 10 this week are, in order: Ja Rule, Ozzy Osbourne, Nickelback, the compilation "Totally Hits 2001," Linkin Park, Jay-Z, Usher and Alicia Keys.

The nation's best-selling single continues to be Whitney Houston's "The Star-Spangled Banner." Among the other patriotic hits in the Top 20: Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." (No. 2), Aaron Tippin's "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly" (No. 4) and Elvis Presley's "America the Beautiful" (No. 8).

Don't, however, expect "God Bless America" to rule the charts next week. Several new releases, including albums by rap superstar DMX and the rock groups Incubus and the Dave Matthews Band, are expected to pass it on the charts. DMX is widely regarded as the favorite.

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