Fugee’s Hill tops album charts

Solo bow sets sales record for a female artist

The solo bow from Fugees front woman Lauryn Hill, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” was the bestselling album in the nation last week, according to sales data released Wednesday.

The highly anticipated Columbia Records disc — one of four in the Top 10 belonging to the Sony Music family — was snapped up by more than 422,000 fans, a first-week record for a female artist since SoundScan’s tracking of album sales was introduced in 1991.

The disc toppled the 371,000 tally logged in March by Madonna’s “Ray of Light,” the previous record-holder and now one of five female artists — including Janet Jackson, Celine Dion and Selena — to have albums bow with sales north of 300,000 copies.

But sales of Hill’s disc fell well short of eclipsing the year’s top first-week tally of 682,000 copies, recorded in July by the Beastie Boys’ “Hello Nasty.”

The Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal/Capitol Records disc held steady at No. 2 for the second consecutive week on sales of nearly 137,000 copies, for the period ended Aug. 30.

The current “Nasty” total represented a 31,000-copy slide from the previous week.

The Columbia Records/Sony Music Soundtrax of “Armageddon” rose a slot to No. 4; while “Stunt,” the Reprise Records disc from the Barenaked Ladies, jumped a pair of posts to No. 6.

Rob Zombie’s latest, “Hellbilly Deluxe,” bowed at No. 5 on sales action of 120,000 copies, a strong debut for the Geffen Records disc amid tough competition that included the sequel to the record-shattering “Titanic” soundtrack, “Back To Titanic.”

The Sony Music Classics/Sony Music Soundtrax disc, which features new musical tracks from the Paramount/20th Century Fox film and a reworked version of the Celine Dion hit “My Heart Will Go On,” had been widely expected to debut atop the chart.

The disc, which nabbed the No. 7 spot and went home with 114,000 devotees, will likely gain additional sales steam as the homevideo release of the film (which recently surpassed $600 million in domestic box office) continues its rollout. The original “Titanic” soundtrack nabbed a four-slot rise.

The previous listing’s chart-topper, Korn, saw its Immortal Records/Epic disc “Follow the Leader” drop to No. 9 on sales south of 110,000 copies. Sales will likely be helped by the band’s Family Values Tour, which is under way.

The highly promoted RCA Records Nashville set from country music elder statesmen Alabama, “For the Record — 41 Number Ones,” bowed at No. 13 with 71,000 copies, a very respectable showing for a country act among the numerous high-profile pop releases dotting the music industry landscape.

Other notable chart activity included the 34-slot rise to No. 54 for the soundtrack to the Mandalay/Columbia Pictures film “Dance With Me.”

More than 26,000 copies of the Epic Records/Sony Music Soundtrax disc, which is being led by “You Are My Home,” (a duet with the film’s stars Chayanne and Vanessa Williams) went home with consumers.

The bow of the Miramax film “54” helped the pair of Tommy Boy Records soundtracks “Fifty Four,” Vols. 1 & 2, triple their sales from the previous week to 14,000 and 15,000 units, respectively.

The latest DreamWorks Records release from best original song Academy Award nominee Elliott Smith, “XO,” bowed at No. 104 on sales of 14,000 copies.

Latin crooner Ricky Martin, who is being positioned for crossover appeal by label marketers — nabbed his first spot on the pop album sales chart.

His Sony Discos bow “Vuelve” entered at No. 189 with sales of nearly 7,000 copies adding to the more than 212,000 copies sold prior to its pop-side showing.

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