NEW YORK — It took 14 months on the album charts and nearly 4.4 million in U.S. sales, but the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack has finally reached No. 1.
Lost Highway Records’ odds-defying, roots music smash sold nearly 160,000 copies in its 62nd week out according to SoundScan data, edging out the latest effort from R&B singer Brandy for the top spot amid a flurry of post-Grammy consumer interest.
“O Brother” shocked many Grammy watchers by taking home five awards last month, including the coveted album of the year nod. Disc debuted in December 2000 at a decidedly modest No. 192, later lodging itself in the top 50 for months on strong word of mouth and critical acclaim.
But with national attention focused on it following the Grammy kudocast, “O Brother” climbed into second place last week behind a debut from Alanis Morissette.
While “O Brother” may well be the disc that took the longest between its release date and the top spot, other efforts have had similar long climbs. Hootie and the Blowfish’s Atlantic debut, “Cracked Rear View” took 43 weeks to reach No. 1 in May 1995, for example.
Taking over the silver-medal spot this week was Brandy’s long-awaited third disc “Full Moon” (Atlantic), which scanned 155,000 units on its debut run at the charts. Release marks the 23-year-old diva’s return to the studio after almost four years, following 1998’s five-times platinum “Never Say Never.”
Slipping to third place was Morissette’s “Under Rug Swept” (Maverick/Warner Bros.), whose sales tumbled by nearly half to 120,000 units.
Sales across the board were lower this week after last session’s Grammy bump. In the latest outing, only two of the returning releases in the top 20 — Puddle of Mudd’s “Come Clean” (Geffen) sold nearly 61,000 and Shakira’s “Laundry Service” (Epic) did 56,000-plus — posted higher sales numbers than last week.
Other than “O Brother,” Grammy beneficiaries mostly retreated. “Songs in A Minor” (J Records) by Alicia Keys, who won five awards, slipped three places to seven, while “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” (Interscope) by U2, which garnered four Grammys, fell from 10 to 17 on sales of 56,000. India.Arie, who received seven nominations but was shut out at the Grammy podium, sank to 23 from 14 this week after surging following the awards broadcast.
Veteran Christian rockers Jars of Clay opened at 28 in the latest outing with “Eleventh Hour” (Brentwood/Essential) shifting more than 39,000 units. And sultry Aussie vocalist Natalie Imbruglia bowed at 35 (33,000 sold) with “White Lilies Island” (RCA), her first release since storming the pop world with 1998’s “Left of the Middle.”
The Grammy winners weren’t the only musicians to benefit from TV exposure in recent weeks: heavy-metal legend Ozzy Osbourne’s most recent disc, “Down to Earth” (Epic), surged to 93 from 145, following the highly rated bow on MTV of “The Osbournes,” a reality series documenting the daily life of Ozzy and his family.
Keep an eye out next week for strong chart debuts from Epic Records’ teen-pop act B2K, as well as a remix record from R&B trio Destiny’s Child and new material from Irish pop-rockers the Corrs.