‘Titanic’ track tops

Strong Madonna debut can't sink ship

The soundtrack to “Titanic” was the best-selling album in the nation for the ninth consecutive week with an impressive 478,000 copies of the Sony Classical/Sony Music Soundtracks disc being sold to consumers.

Madonna’s eagerly awaited “Ray of Light” nabbed the chart’s No. 2 spot with sales of 371,000 copies of her Maverick/Warner Bros. disc, for the period ended March 8, according to sales data released Wednesday.

The hefty bow, which put an end to a one-two hold on the chart by Sony-family albums, tops the first-week totals logged by any of Madonna’s previous offerings. It is also a testament to the advance set-up of the disc by Warners marketers and the Madonna publicity machine on full-throttle.

While there was little change in most of the chart’s upper reaches, bows from Madonna and Scarface pushed some longtime chart top-10 residents into lower berths.

The sales action was unusually brisk in the chart’s top lineup, with eight of the top-10 discs logging six-figure takes, at a time of year when high-five figure totals are typically the norm.

Dropping one notch to No. 3 was Celine Dion’s 550/Epic Records disc “Let’s Talk About Love,” which logged north of 224,000 copies and continues to reap the benefit of the heat surrounding the “Titanic” disc.

Dion’s extensive TV show warblings of the “Titanic” theme “My Heart Will Go On” continues to buoy sales.

Scarface claimed the No. 4 post, with its Virgin Records disc “My Homies” logging 179,000 copies in its first week on sale and edging out Savage Garden, which previously held the chart berth for several weeks.

Savage Garden’s self-titled debut, which is being aided by the seemingly ubiquitous followup single “Truly Madly Deeply,” checked in with 107,000 copies and earned the band the No. 5 spot.

Silkk the Shocker’s No Limit/Priority bow “Charge It 2 Da Game” nabbed the chart’s No. 6 post on sales of 104,000 copies. More than 500,000 copies of the disc have been sold in its three weeks of release.

At No. 7 was dynamic duo K-Ci & Jo Jo, whose MCA Records disc “Love Always” logged north of 100,000 copies and rose one chart slot for the fourth consecutive week.

Rounding out the top 10 was the eponymous bow from Jive Records success story Backstreet Boys at No. 8 on a tally of 98,000 copies; the Maverick Records soundtrack to “The Wedding Singer” at No. 9 on sales of 93,000 units; and “My Way” from LaFace/Arista R&B crooner Usher nabbing No. 10 with more than 90,000 copies of his effectively promoted debut going home with consumers.

Other notable chart movements include Garth Brooks’ Capitol Nashville disc “Sevens” jumping 10 chart berths to No. 11 by logging 71,000 copies — almost double its previous week tally; and the Artist (Prince) nabbing a 79-berth boost to No. 62 for his independently distributed disc “Crystal Ball.”

The $50 disc, which was initially only going to be sold through the Internet and mail order, had an unimpressive 8,900-unit first-week tally.

The jump can be attributed to the disc becoming available at select retail chains, such as Best Buy and Blockbuster.

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