‘Black’ disk at No. 1

Col pic soundtrack unseats Spice Girls

Buoyed by the box office success of the film and an inescapable musicvideo and single of the title track, the soundtrack to the Columbia Pictures film “Men in Black” was the bestselling album in the nation last week.

It was the first time since “Sleepless in Seattle” in 1993 that the studio nabbed the chart’s No. 1 spot, though that disc took several weeks to hit the top spot.

The 179,000 copy tally logged by the Columbia Records disc, which features Will Smith warbling the first single, was sufficient to push the Spice Girls’ Virgin Records disc “Spice” into the No. 2 post with sales of 131,000 copies.

For the week ending July 13, Prodigy’s Maverick/Warner Bros. Records disc “Fat of the Land” fell to No. 3 on sales of 124,000 units.

“It’s always great to have the No. 1 record in the country, but to have the same project, ‘Men in Black,’ as the No. 1 film is fantastic,” Thomas D. Mottola, prexy and chief operating officer of Sony Music Entertainment, told Daily Variety. “And this is just the beginning for Will Smith’s solo career.” Smith is inked to Columbia Records.

‘Wedding’ music climbs

Sony Music Soundtrax, the recently created banner designed to help shepherd the bow of soundtracks, can also celebrate with the 11-notch rise of the disc to TriStar Pictures’ “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” It rose to No. 16 on sales of 52,000 copies.

The Work Group/SMS disc, while benefiting from VH1’s consistent airing of the first single by Diana King, “Say a Little Prayer,” got an additional goose when the cabler last week added a clip from the film featuring the principal cast members singing the well-known track.

The clip had been sought by many magazine shows, but was released only to VH1 after Columbia Records prexy Don Ienner persuaded “Best Friend’s” producer Jerry Zucker to make it available. The cabler has often been playing the two videos back-to-back.

Mercury Records trio Hanson saw their “Middle of Nowhere” disc hold steady at No. 4 on sales of 94,000 copies. The tally fell from last week despite a highly promoted appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and the seemingly ubiquitous single “Mmmbop.”

Clocking in at No. 5 was B’Rite/Interscope Records act God’s Property From Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation, whose “God’s Property” disc rose one notch on sales of 72,000 copies.

Rounding out the top 10 were the Wallflowers at No. 6, on sales of 67,000 copies of the band’s Interscope disc “Bringing Down the Horse”; Tim McGraw’s Curb Records set “Everywhere” at No. 7 on sales just south of 67,000 units; Bob Carlisle’s Diadem/Jive album “Butterfly Kisses (Shades of Grace)” at No. 8 on 66,000 copies; Jewel at No. 9 on 58,000 copies of her Atlantic Records disc “Pieces of You”; and Virgin’s “Pure Moods” compilation disc, checking in at No. 10 on sales of 57,000 copies.

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