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Jackson and Pearl Jam register with merchants

Janet Jackson’s Virgin records debut “janet” was named bestselling recording of the year while Epic’s Pearl Jam was the bestselling artist in the National Assn. of Recording Merchandisers Best-Seller Awards, announced Tuesday at the conclusion of the trade org’s 36th annual convention.

TV personality Regis Philbin and puppeteer Shari Lewis were the co-presenters for the awards, determined for the first time by SoundScan sales figures for a 52-week period ended March 6.

Jackson’s victory was a mild upset over Arista’s soundtrack juggernaut, “The Bodyguard,” which has dominated award shows and hugged the top of the charts for close to 18 months.

But Jackson failed to beat Pearl Jam as the top artist at the cash registers, as the artist category covers catalog as well as current release. Thus, Pearl Jam’s latest, “Vs.,” and earlier but still hot-selling “Ten” enabled it to carry the category.

A complete list of bestselling winners follows:

Gospel recording: “It Remains to Be Seen,” Mississippi Mass choir, Malaco

Box set: “Live Sh*t: Binge & Purge,” Metallica, Elektra

Christmas recording: “When My Heart Finds Christmas,” Harry Connick Jr., Columbia

Musicvideo: “Comedy Video Classics,” Ray Stevens, Curb Video

Latin recording: “Mi Tierra,” Gloria Estefan, Epic

Recording merchandised as classical music: “In Concert: Carreras/Comingo/Pavarotti,” London

Comedy recording : “Talkin’ Shit,” Martin Lawrence, EastWest Records

Dance recording: “Whoomp! (There It Is),” Tag Team, Life/Bellmark

Alternative recording: “Vs.,”Pearl Jam, Epic

Single of the year: “Whoomp! (There It Is),” Tag Team, Life/Bellmark

Catalog recording: “Bat Out of Hell,” Meatloaf, Cleveland Intl./Epic

Chartmaker (consistent week-to-week sales): “The Bodyguard,” various artists, Arista

Jazz recording: “Breathless,” Kenny G, Arista

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