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Metallica's 'Anger' rises fast

June 12, 2003|Robert Hilburn | Times Staff Writer

Metallica's "St. Anger" sold 418,000 copies in its first four days in the stores to easily top the nation's album sales chart this week, Nielsen SoundScan reported Wednesday.

Though albums are traditionally released on Tuesdays, Elektra Records rush-released the Metallica album last Thursday to help defuse the effects of piracy.

Even sacrificing the two sales days, the veteran metal band's album almost tripled the sales of Jewel's "0304," which finished No. 2 after selling 144,000 copies in its first week.

Still, the "St. Anger" figure was far below the sizzling four-day sales pace set by New York rapper 50 Cent's major-label debut, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," last February. That album, which was rush-released by Interscope Records in hopes of combating online piracy and bootlegging, sold 872,000 in its first four days.

Metallica's success extends rock's hold on the No. 1 spot to four weeks. Led Zeppelin topped last week's chart, while Staind and Marilyn Manson were No. 1 the two previous weeks, respectively.

But that streak could be broken next week if Luther Vandross' new album lives up to early retail projections. According to Hits Magazine, the R&B singer's "Dance With My Father" got off to such a fast start Tuesday that it is likely to top the 300,000 mark this week. That means it could battle Metallica for No. 1 on next week's chart. Radiohead's "Hail to the Thief" also reportedly got off to a strong start.

Metallica and Jewel were among seven albums that debuted this week in the Top 40. The others were by Train (No. 6), Lonestar (No. 7), a Warped Tour compilation (No. 21), Sugar Ray (No. 29) and John Mellencamp (No. 31).

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