Bruce rules as 'Devils' debuts atop chart

Bruce Springsteen returns to the top of the charts as his “Devils & Dust” (Columbia) takes No. 1 on sales of 222,000 in the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Soundscan.

“Devils & Dust,” released only as a CD/DVD DualDisc, is the Boss’ seventh album to hit No. 1. His 1980 release “The River” was the first; “The Rising,” his last studio effort, debuted at No. 1 in 2002. That disc received a considerable promotional effort, while “Devils” has been more low-key, limited to a VH1 “Storytellers” appearance, some press and radio interviews. He began a 14-date solo acoustic tour of the U.S. last week and heads to Europe later this month.

The new album will also debut at No. 1 in Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Springsteen led a class of eight newcomers in the top 50. Bobby Valentino, the first R&B artist signed to Ludacris’ Island Def Jam/Disturbing tha Peace joint-venture label, sold 180,000 copies of “Disturbing tha Peace Presents” in its opening stanza to take third place. Valentino, a 22-year-old resident of Atlanta, will appear next week on “Jimmy Kimmell Live” and “Live With Regis & Kelly.”

R&B singer Amerie saw her sophomore effort “Touch” (Columbia) sell 123,000 and debut at No. 5. The week was especially good for Sony BMG’s Columbia imprint, which had three discs in the top 10; Il Divo’s debut sold 74,000 copies to take No. 9 in its second week.

Country warbler Jo Dee Messina opened at No. 7, selling 99,000 copies of “Delicious Surprise” (Curb). Ben Folds posted the best numbers of his career, debuting at No. 12 with “Songs for Silverman” (Epic) selling 50,000.

Buddy Jewell, the Columbia Records country act who won the first “Nashville Star” crown, sold 25,000 copies to take No. 31. Mint Condition’s “Livin’ the Luxury Brown” (Image), the first album in six years from the Minneapolis R&B band, sold 20,000 copies as did New Order’s “Waiting for the Sirens’ Call” (Warner Bros.). The discs were No. 45 and 46.

Nashville-based singer-songwriter John Prine, who has been making records for 34 years and has self-released his last 10 albums, landed the highest chart position of his career this week. “Fair and Square” (Oh Boy) sold 17,000 copies to debut at No. 55; his 1975 album “Common Sense” was his previous best, having reached No. 66.

Last week’s No. 1, Rob Thomas’ “…┬áSomething to Be” (Melisma/Atlantic) dropped to No. 4, selling 145,000 copies. Mariah Carey’s “Emancipation of Mimi” (Island) held on to the No. 2 slot, selling 196,000 units.

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