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‘Now’ keeps rollin’

Joins hot rookie class

Six rookies debuted in the top 10 on the nation’s album sales chart, led by the 23rd volume of “Now That’s What I Call Music.”

Four of the albums sold more than 200,000 copies each, lifting overall sales 12% above last week’s totals to 11.9 million.

The hits compilation “Now” sold 337,000 copies in the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Released by Sony BMG’s Epic Records, this edition trailed the sales figure of “Now Vol. 22,” which sold 398,000 in its first week in July.

Josh Groban’s “Awake” (Reprise) took second place on sales of 270,000. Tickets went on sale Wednesday for Groban’s U.S. tour, which runs from February into early April.

Keith Urban, named CMA male vocalist of the year last week, saw his “Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing” (Capitol Nashville) debut at No. 3 on sales of 267,000 copies. Atlanta-based country trio Sugarland posted their career-best numbers, selling 211,000 copies of “Enjoy the Ride” to open at No. 4.

Rapper Jim Jones’ fourth album in three years, “Hustler’s P.O.M.E. (Product of My Environment)” (Diplomat/Koch), sold 94,000 copies in its opening sesh to land at No. 6.

The Dave Matthews Band’s two-CD hits package “Best of What’s Around Vol. 1” (RCA) opened at No. 10 on sales of 65,000. Album sold seven more copies than the No. 11 disc, Andrea Bocelli’s live album “Under the Desert Sky” (Decca).

Carrie Underwood parlayed two CMA awards into a significant (62%) sales spike, rising to No. 8 from No. 19 on sales of 72,000. Other beneficiaries of the kudocast were Brooks & Dunn’s “Hillbilly Deluxe” (Arista Nashville), which rose 116 slots to No. 58, and Alan Jackson’s “Precious Memories” (Arista Nashville), which spiked 36 slots to No. 61.

Last week’s No. 1, the “Hannah Montana” soundtrack (Disney Buena Vista), dropped to No. 5 on sales of 131,000.

Other debuts included Foo Fighters’ “Skin and Bones” (RCA), a live album recorded on their recent all-acoustic tour, which sold 49,000 copies (No. 21); “Road to Escondido” (Reprise), the first collaboration between J.J. Cale and Eric Clapton, at 43,000 (No. 23); “Only Hits” (Rhino), featuring recent Warner Music tracks such as Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” at 34,000 (No. 32); and Ricky Martin’s “MTV Unplugged” (Norte), which banged out 28,000 (No. 38).

Also, Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Wisin & Yandel’s “Presentan Los Vaquerros” (Machete) sold 26,000 (No. 44); Michael W. Smith’s “Stand” (Reunion) sold 23,000 (No. 49) and “Everready (Religion)” (Strange Music), the sixth album from Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne, sold 22,000 (No. 50).

Arrival of new titles sent several of last week’s top 10 falling, including Barry Manilow’s “Greatest Songs of the Sixties,” which dropped 68% in sales to 64,000 and slid 11 slots to No. 13; Kellie Pickler’s “Small Town Girl” (down 51% and 18 slots to No. 27); Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell III” (down 63% and 27 slots to No. 35); the Who’s “Endless Wire” (down 68% and 38 slots to No. 45); and the Deftones’ “Saturday Night Wrist” (down 67% and 37 slots to No. 10).

Faring better were John Legend’s “Once Again” (No. 14, down 45% in sales) and My Chemical Romance’s “The Black Parade” (down 37%, No. 19).

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