‘Confessions’ Usher-ed back to No. 1

Lavigne slips to second, followed by Wilson's 'Party'

HOLLYWOOD — Usher returned to the top of the nation’s album sales chart, as the only debuting acts in the top 50 were hits packages from Dean Martin and Kenny Rogers.

Usher’s “Confessions” (LaFace), third place last week, sold 194,000 copies for the week ended Sunday, according to SoundScan. The album is just 34,0000 copies shy of cracking a cume of 4 million units.

Last week’s chart topper, Avril Lavigne’s “Under My Skin” (Arista), sold 170,000 copies in its sophomore sesh, a 55% drop but well outpacing the No. 3 disc, “Here for the Party,” (Epic) from country crooner Gretchen Wilson.

Prince’s “Musicology” jumped four spaces to No. 4 as 96,000 copies of his Columbia disc were scanned. Were the Sony-BMG merger approved and operating, the conglom would be the distrib of the top four albums.

Capitol’s 36-track “Dino: Essential Dean Martin” sold 32,000 copies to land at No. 28. Martin had 14 albums in the top 40 between 1955 and 1969, the last one being “Gentle on My Mind,” which reached 14.

Capitol Nashville’s two-CD “42 Ultimate Hits” from Rogers sold 28,000 to land at No. 39.

Several notable benchmarks were established during the week: Outkast’s “The Love Below/Speakerboxxx” (LaFace) passed the 5 million mark; Norah Jones’ “Feels Like Home” (Blue Note) topped 3 million; Kenny Chesney’s “When the Sun Goes Down” (BNA) cracked 2 million; and Martina McBride’s “Martina” (RCA Nashville) moved past 1 million.

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