Vol. 16 of 'Now' compilation series debuts on top

Volume 16 of the contempo hits collection “Now That’s What I Call Music” took the top spot in the nation’s album sales chart for the period ended Sunday, selling 504,000 copies in its debut session.

The Universal/EMI/Sony Music/Zomba compilation delivered the second-best week registered for a “Now” set, topped only by the first week sales of 550,000 generated by volume eight. Conceived as way to maximize sales of songs with a notoriously short shelf life, “Vol. 16″ includes several tracks still in rotation on radio, among them Nina Sky’s “Move Ya Body,” Hoobastank’s “The Reason,” Los Lonely Boys’ “Heaven” and Christina Milian’s “Dip It Low.”

While last week’s chart-topper, Ashlee Simpson’s “Autobiography” (Geffen), slipped a mere 32% on sales of 270,000 copies, Taking Back Sunday scored the biggest week ever for indie label Victory. The Long Island rockers’ second album, “Where You Want to Be,” sold 163,000 in its opening stanza to take No. 3.

The top 10 also saw the debuts of Fat Joe’s rap group Terror Squad and R&B-soca singer Kevin Lyttle. Terror Squad’s “True Story” (Universal), its first disc since its 1999 debut on Atlantic, sold 96,000 units to take No. 7. One slot lower was the debut from Lyttle, a native of St. Vincent, whose Atlantic disc sold 84,000.

Remaining in the top 10 were albums by Jimmy Buffett, Usher, Gretchen Wilson, Lloyd Banks and Big & Rich.

Country singer Terri Clark saw her “Greatest Hits” (Mercury Nashville) rounded up 62,000 times to land at No. 14. Pearl Jam’s first album for BMG — via their Ten Club fan org — after a dozen years with Epic, “Live at Benaroya Hall,” made it to No. 18 on sales of 52,000. Rapper B.G.’s “Life After Cash Money” (Koch) came in at No. 22 with 44,000 sold.

Gavin DeGraw’s J Records debut, repackaged with a second disc of 12 acoustic live performances and retitled “Chariot — Stripped,” sold 21,000 copies. “Hymns of the 49th Parallel” (Nonesuch), k.d. lang’s ode to Canadian songwriters, sold 18,000 in its first week to take No. 66.

The week’s biggest gainer, George Michael’s “Patience” (Sony) rose 93 slots to No. 51 on sales of 23,000, a spike of nearly 16,000. His appearance on “Oprah” was rerun during the sales period.

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