The advent of the SoundScan point-of-sale album tally system, first used in 1991, has again proven to be a blessing for hard-rock artists, as “Far Beyond Driven,” the third release from Texas metal-heads Pantera, slams into the top spot on this week’s sales chart.

According to figures obtained by an industry source, the EastWest-released “Driven” sold nearly 186,000 copies in its first week. The vinyl version of the album, released a week earlier, sold 1,200 copies in its first seven days.

Bonnie Raitt’s latest Capitol album, “Longing in Their Hearts,” bows on the chart at No. 2. Her 12th studio issue, and third for Capitol, sold more than 148 ,000 copies.

Last week’s No. 1 title, “The Sign,” the debut from Arista dance group Ace of Base, is at No. 3 with sales of 108,000.

Music from “Philadelphia” (Epic Soundtrax), the period’s largest sales gainer , featuring Bruce Springsteen’s trophy winner, “Streets of Philadelphia,” leaps from No. 34 to 12 on sales of 76,000, more than double the last chart’s figure.

The Virgin-released soundtrack from multiple Oscar-winner “The Piano” also doubled its sales, jumping from No. 76 to 41, while MCA’s John Williams soundtrack from best picture “Schindler’s List” debuts on the chart at No. 45.

Other bows this time include: the Death Row/Interscope-released “Above the Rim” soundtrack, featuring new music from SWV, Al B. Sure! and others, at No. 4; pop singer Morrissey’s latest Sire effort, “Vauxhall & I,” at No. 18; “Not a Moment Too Soon” (Curb) at No. 19.

Also, the latest Victory-issued album from British progressive art rockers Yes, “Talk,” at No. 33; “Things in tha Hood,” the Assault/Big Beat/Atlantic debut from rappers DFC, at No. 71; “Brother, Sister,” the latest from soulful Delicious Vinyl dance act Brand New Heavies, at No. 95; and “Woke Up With a Monster,” the Warner Bros. debut from veteran Chicago rock band Cheap Trick, at No. 123.

A notable mover for the week was “Live at the Acropolis,” the new Private Music concert recording from new ager Yanni, bulleting from No. 11 to 5 in its fourth week, on sales of 90,000.

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