Shaggy back on top; Clapton debuts big

Matthews Band drops to second place

NEW YORK — In a striking turnaround from the debut drought of the past couple of months, the album rankings were riddled with new releases this week, including a strong bow from guitar god Eric Clapton. Still, it was chart veteran Shaggy who reclaimed top honors, consigning the Dave Matthews Band to second place.

“Hotshot,” the third major-label LP from Jamaica-born Shaggy, returned to the No. 1 spot from No. 3, according to Soundscan data; album was a chart topper for four weeks in a row last month.

The MCA-released album actually saw its sales decline by 11% in the latest week to 210,000 units. Nevertheless, “Hotshot” has shown remarkable legs in its 32 weeks on the charts, selling more than 4.3 million copies.

MCA topper Jay Boberg attributed the record’s chart longevity in part to the simultaneous presence in heavy radio rotation of two Shaggy singles, “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel.”

‘Angel’ flies

” ‘Angel’ set a record this week with 8,000 spins on Top 40, but at the same time, you have ‘It Wasn’t Me’ still getting more than 2,500 spins,” Boberg told Daily Variety. “You’ve got two songs that are absolutely hammering radio at the same time.”

Bumped to second place was Dave Matthews Band’s “Everyday.” Sales of the frat-rock band’s fourth record on RCA slipped 29% to 199,000 after a precipitous 61% drop the previous week. Despite the declines, however, “Everyday” has managed to scan an impressive 1.2 million albums in the three weeks since its debut.

The strongest debut in this week’s rankings was “Reptile” (Warner), Clapton’s first solo studio work since 1998’s “Pilgrim.” “Reptile” clocked in at No. 5, shifting a respectable 102,000 copies.

Nonstop Clapton

Release is the latest in a string of strong performances from the blues-rock workhorse: His recent albums, including last year’s collaboration with blues great B.B. King, “Riding With the King,” and ’98’s “Pilgrim,” have debuted in the top 10 and gone on to platinum status.

Also bowing in the top 10 this week were R&B artists Tank and Jaheim, at No. 7 and No. 9, respectively. Tank’s Virgin release “Forces of Nature” moved just under 98,000 copies, while New Jersey-based Jaheim’s “Ghetto Love” (Warner) sold 80,000.

Absent from the top 10 for the first time in months was the Beatles’ “1,” the Fab Four singles compilation that has single-handedly rejuvenated many industryites’ faith in the value of catalog. The record slipped from seventh place to 12th in its 18th week in the rankings, with sales of nearly 6.9 million records in the U.S. alone to date.

Corrs surfing

Meanwhile, the Corrs rode a wave of U.S. publicity after their numerous appearances on ayem television programs for St. Patrick’s Day. The Irish rockers’ Atlantic LP “In Blue” leapt from 79 to 42, enjoying a corresponding 80% sales jump to more than 36,000 units.

Also on the debut slate this week were French dance music gurus Daft Punk, whose Virgin LP “Discovery” came in at No. 44; Canadian pop metalers Our Lady Peace’s “Spiritual Machines” (Columbia) at No. 81; and country act Trick Pony’s eponymous Warner release at No. 91.

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