Grammys boost Braxton to chart top

Singers Toni Braxton, Sting and Whitney Houston have all parlayed their recent Grammy Award wins into explosive album retail action.

According to SoundScan sales figures obtained by an industry source, Braxton, the winner of the best new artist and best R&B female vocalist trophies, saw her self-titled LaFace/Arista debut return to the top spot on the album chart from No. 8 last week on sales of nearly 104,000 copies. Last week’s No. 1, Mariah Carey’s Columbia set “Music Box,” fell to No. 5.

The Arista soundtrack from the hit pic “The Bodyguard,” which is dominated by Houston but also features Braxton and others, jumped from No. 16 to 6 on sales of more than 81,000, and was the week’s largest sales gainer. Houston won three Grammys, including album of the year for “The Bodyguard,” which has sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S.

Both Houston and Braxton performed on the CBS Grammy telecast, which was ranked No. 10 among last week’s primetime programs. It was further evidence that this show — along with the American Music Awards — is one of the most effective marketing tools for music.

BMG-distributed Arista has five titles in the top 40 this week: In addition to the Houston and Braxton discs, the bow from dance hitmakers Ace of Base, “The Sign,” moves from No. 3 to 2; the sophomore effort from Canada’s Crash Test Dummies, “God Shuffled His Feet,” is at No. 22; and Kenny G’s “Breathless” moves from No. 34 to 32.

Ranked by percentage increase, Sting was big winner for the week. Following his double-Grammy win, including best male pop vocal, his latest A&M collection “Ten Summoner’s Tales” leaped from No. 62 to 34, with sales increasing from 16, 000 to 32,000.

The week’s top bow belongs to rapper Hammer, whose first project for Giant, “The Funky Headhunter,” sold more than 61,000 units, good enough for No. 12.

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