Dion tops charts again

'Decade' back at No. 1, B.I.G. down

After a one-week absence, Celine Dion’s greatest hits package returned to the No. 1 slot on the U.S. pop album charts, while previous champ Notorious B.I.G. tumbled to No. 14.

In fact, the slain rapper formed an unlikely bond with perky talkshow host Rosie O’Donnell: These two artists were the only two in the top 50 to suffer a sales drop in the week ending Dec. 19, the last full week before Christmas.

Dion’s “All the Way … A Decade of Song” sold 536,700 copies in the latest round, its best score after five weeks in release, her label 550/Epic said Wednesday. The album has spent three of those five weeks at No. 1 and sold a total of 1.9 million copies. It was at No. 2 last week.

Jive Records artists Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears each rose one spot to No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, as Christina Aguilera jumped two places to No. 4 and Santana held steady at No. 5.

The only new entry in the top 50 was rapper Juvenile’s “G-Code” (Cash Money/Universal) at No. 10, with 290,000 units sold. His last album, “400 Degreez,” debuted at No. 36 with 37,000 copies in November 1998, peaked at No. 9 and currently stands at No. 39 with total sales of 3.2 million. Billboard ranked it as the top R&B/hip-hop album of 1998.

At the other end of the scale, George Michael may be huge everywhere else in the world, but he barely qualifies as a cult act in the United States. His Virgin Records America debut, “Songs From the Last Century,” bowed at No. 182, having opened at No. 2 in Britain and at No. 4 in Germany. He was last on the U.S. charts with a Sony double-CD compilation, “Ladies & Gentlemen,” which debuted at No. 24 in November 1998. Before that, his DreamWorks release “Older” debuted at No. 6 in May 1996.

Boys cash in

Backstreet Boys’ “Millennium” sold 506,000 units in the latest week, as its 31-week total rose to 8.7 million copies. Spears shifted 444,000 units of “… Baby One More Time,” taking its haul to 7.7 million units after 49 weeks in release.

Aguilera’s self-titled RCA Records debut scored the highest percentage gain in the top 10 (up 52%), selling 425,700 copies in its 17th week; its total stands at 2.9 million. Santana’s “Supernatural” (Arista) passed the 4-million mark in its 27th week, selling 399,500 units.

Rounding out the top 10 were Kenny G’s “Faith: A Holiday Album” at No. 6 (up one from last week); Shania Twain’s “Come on Over” at No. 7 (up one); Mariah Carey’s “Rainbow” at No. 8 (up four); and Will Smith’s “Willennium” at No. 9 (up one). The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Born Again” fell 48% in the latest week, while O’Donnell’s “A Rosie Christmas” dipped 18% as it slid 14 places on the charts to No. 34.

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