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Pink Floyd tops chart; Nirvana sales rocket

Pink Floyd’s first new album since 1987 is ringing up massive sales at the nation’s music retailers. But its performance may be overshadowed by a dramatic increase in sales for all three albums by Nirvana, whose sales were ignited by the death last Friday of singer/songwriter/guitarist Kurt Cobain.

Pink Floyd’s “The Division Bell,” the progressive British rock band’s 14th studio release and sixth for Columbia Records, exploded onto the top of this week’s SoundScan sales tally.

According to figures obtained by an industry source, “The Division Bell” moved a whopping 465,000 units, by far the top first-week report of the year and more than the combined sales of the next four titles.

Pink Floyd is currently in the middle of a sold-out U.S. tour and will arrive at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl this Saturday and Sunday.

Also generating significant sales action this week are the three DGC-released titles from Seattle’s Nirvana. The trio’s latesteffort, “In Utero,” was the period’s largest unit gainer and jumped from No. 72 to 27 on sales of 40,000 copies, more than double last week’s numbers.

Nirvana’s breakthrough album, 1991’s “Nevermind,” which is already certified for U.S. sales of over 5 million copies, leaped from No. 167 to 56 on sales of 20,000, up from only 6,700 last time. “Incesticide,” a collection of early band singles, B-sides and cover tunes released in 1992, re-enters the chart at No. 135. The group’s first record, “Bleach,” was issued by Sub Pop in 1989 and has yet to chart in the top 200 titles.

Slips to No. 4

Last week’s No. 1 album, “Longing in Their Hearts,” the new Capitol album from blues singer/guitarist Bonnie Raitt, slips to No. 4 this time, with sales registering 104,000. R&B singer R. Kelly’s “Bump N’ Grind” (Arista) is the No. 1 single for the third week in a row.

Besides Pink Floyd, there were only two notable debuts this week. The soundtrack to the TriStar romantic comedy “Threesome,” released by Epic Soundtrax and featuring music from U2, Duran Duran, Jellyfish and Tears for Fears as well as the reformed General Public’s hit single “I’ll Take You There,” enters the chart at No. 98 on sales of more than 11,000 copies. And “Some Change ,” the latest from singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs (and his first for Virgin Records), bows at No. 117.

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