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ALBUM SALES

A first for Vandross: 'Dance' tops the chart

June 19, 2003|Robert Hilburn | Times Staff Writer

In one of the feel-good pop stories of the year, Luther Vandross' "Dance With My Father" entered the national sales chart at No. 1 on Wednesday after selling 442,000 copies in its first week in stores.

It's the first No. 1 album ever for the Grammy-winning R&B singer, who has been hospitalized since suffering a stroke April 16. The previous highest pop-chart position for any Vandross album was No. 5, which was achieved by "Songs" in 1994.

Because Vandross has been unable to promote the album, the singer's mother, Mary Vandross, has been doing a series of TV interviews for the new collection. The singer is hospitalized in New York, where he was recently moved out of intensive care and upgraded from critical to stable condition.

Vandross' strong showing prevented Metallica's "St. Anger" from holding on to the No. 1 position in its first full week in stores. The album was supposed to be released June 10, but was rush-released June 5 by Elektra Records to help defuse the effects of piracy. That meant it had only four days in the stores the week ending June 8, but that was enough to sell 418,000 copies and enter the chart at No. 1. Last week, its sales fell to 363,000 copies, placing it at No. 2 on the chart, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Radiohead's "Hail to the Thief" led a group of new albums that joined Vandross in the Top 10. The British rock group's record sold 300,000 copies to finish No. 3. Other Top 10 debuts: Annie Lennox (No. 4), George Strait (No. 5), Joe Budden (No. 8) and Steely Dan (No. 9).

To make room for the newcomers, six albums fell from the Top 10, including Jewel (falling from No. 2 to No. 12), Led Zeppelin (No. 9 to No. 14) and Train (No. 6 to No. 19).

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