Country’s cooking

Boffo sales for Rascal Flatts' 'Gang'

Rascal Flatts becomes only the fourth country act in the past 15 years to sell more than 700,000 copies of a disc in a single week.

“Me and My Gang” sold 722,000 copies in the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen SoundScan, putting the pop-country trio among the ranks of Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks and Tim McGraw. It is the biggest sales week for any act this year.

Album, released by the Disney-owned Lyric Street Records, sold 30,000 digital units, making it the No. 1 country digital album debut in SoundScan history. Rascal Flatts’ previous album, “Feels Like Today,” was the biggest digital seller among country acts in 2005, selling 23,000 copies — for the year.

Disc was one of 11 albums debuting in the top 30.

The 21st edition of “Now That’s What I Call Music” (Universal) sold 334,000 copies. Hits compilation, which includes Mariah Carey’s “Don’t Forget About Us,” “Dance Dance” by Fall Out Boy and “My Humps” by Black Eyed Peas, debuted at No. 2.

Pink’s “I’m Not Dead” (La Face), featuring the track “Stupid Girls,” which pokes fun at the likes of Paris Hilton, sold 126,000 copies to open at No. 6. Southern rapper Bubba Sparxxx’ first album in 2½ years — and his first for Virgin — sold 51,000 copies to open at No. 9.

The Flaming Lips scored their highest chart debut in their 21 years of making records. “At War With the Mystics” (Warner), the Oklahoma City band’s 12th full-length album, debuted at No. 11 on sales of 48,000. Their previous best was “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,” which contained “Do You Realize??,” which hit No. 50.

Two acts that got their starts in ’80s pop metal, Queensryche and Poison, returned to the top 20.

Queensryche’s “Operation: Mindcrime II” (Rhino) debuted at No. 14 with a first-week sales total of 44,000 copies. Sequel to the band’s 1988 release resulted in Queensryche’s best sales week since 1997 and highest chart debut since 1994’s “Promised Land.” Queensryche will launch a tour Aug. 25 featuring theatrical performances of both “Operation: Mindcrime” albums in their entirety, complete with actors, surround sound and new video imagery.

Capitol’s “The Best of Poison: 20 Years of Rock” sold 40,000 units to open at No. 17, the band’s highest chart position since “Flesh & Blood” hit No. 2 in 1990. Album contains Poison’s new version of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band.” Capitol/EMI will release an expanded CD/DVD package, “The Deluxe Tour Edition,” on May 23 to coincide with Poison and Cinderella’s tour this summer.

Other debuts included “Disneymania 4” (Disney) at No. 21, selling 39,000 copies; and Morrissey’s “Ringleader of the Tormentors” (Sanctuary) sold 34,000 to open at No. 27, while “Karmacode” (Century Media), from Italian goth act Lacuna Coil, sold six fewer copies to debut at No. 28. Blue October’s third studio album, “Foiled” (Universal/Motown), sold 33,000 to open at No. 29, and Shooter Jennings, the son of the late Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, sold 17,000 copies of his sophomore Universal South effort “Electric Rodeo” to open at No. 64.

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