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Good Charlotte Finds Its Audience

October 07, 2002|Randy Lewis

In the music business, fall is the season of the heavy hitters. This week is a prime example, with rock legends Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones duking it out for supremacy on the sales chart with new hits collections, while powerhouse rapper Xzibit enters the fray with "Man vs. Machine," the follow-up to his platinum-selling "Restless" two years ago.

In its first week in stores, the Stones' "40 Licks" two-CD compilation appears to be outselling the Presley "30 #1 Hits" album, now in its second week of release. Presley's album sold 500,000 copies its first week out, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures, entering the sales chart at No. 1.

Late last week, Xzibit led the Stones at the Wherehouse chain, but the veteran rock bad boys were ahead at Tower Records, setting up a horse race as to which will land at No. 1 when Nielsen numbers for the week ending Sunday are released on Wednesday.

All this star power makes it a lousy time to be a rising band looking for attention, right?

Not for scrappy Maryland pop-punk band Good Charlotte. The quartet is sneaking up on the heavyweights with its sophomore album, "The Young and the Hopeless."

"It's selling more than Xzibit for us, and twice as much as the Elvis record across the entire chain," says Tower Records' Southwest region director, Bob Feterl. "It's selling a lot stronger on the East Coast, but if someone had told me it would be outselling Xzibit and Elvis, I wouldn't have believed it. They've got to be pretty happy."

The group's debut album moved just 7,000 copies in its first week two years ago but has since sold more than 300,000, the result of the band's constant touring and increasing visibility on packages such as this year's Vans Warped Tour.

"I think they built their fan base the right way," says Wherehouse senior rock buyer Bob Bell. "Their first record has been selling steadily for a very long time, and now all those fans have been waiting for this one."

It's the second time this year a young punk band has come out of nowhere to land in the upper reaches of the sales chart. In June, Florida punk group New Found Glory's "Sticks and Stones" entered at No. 4, with first-week sales of 91,200.

"A lot of these pop-punk records take people by surprise," Bell says. "They're not necessarily on the industry's radar screen. For this record to be outselling the Stones and 'American Idol' and a lot of other high-profile new releases, it's pretty impressive."

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