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Blige, blissfully in love, goes straight to the top

September 04, 2003|Robert Hilburn | Times Staff Writer

Mary J. Blige's "Love & Life" album entered the national sales chart at No. 1 on Wednesday, marking the second time the New Yorker has had an album reach No. 1.

The CD, which sold 286,000 copies in its first week in stores, represented a change for the singer, whose music has influenced a generation of singers and won her a wide following for chronicling her own struggles in relationships and in building self-esteem.

In "Love & Life," Blige -- who is known as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul -- "is in love, and bliss fairly oozes from her new album," Natalie Nichols noted in reviewing the album for The Times. Blige's only other No. 1 album was "Share My World" in 1997.

"Love & Life" was one of three new releases that entered the Top 10. The others were by actress-singer Hilary Duff (No. 2, with sales of 204,000 copies) and rappers YoungBloodz (No. 5, sales of 85,000 copies).

Warren Zevon's "The Wind" entered the chart at No. 16 after selling 48,000 copies.

It marks Zevon's highest chart position; his "Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School" reached No. 20 in 1980. "The Wind" generated much media attention because Zevon, an acclaimed singer-songwriter, announced last September that he was suffering from inoperable cancer in both lungs. He is joined on the new collection by numerous guests, including Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Don Henley.

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