Jones returns to top spot

Nine albums cracked the 100,000 sold mark

Norah Jones’ “Not Too Late” (Blue Note) returned to No. 1 on the nation’s album sales chart as the combination of the Grammys and Valentine’s Day led to a major sales week. Nine albums cracked the 100,000 sold mark, among them “Taking the Long Way,” from Grammy champs the Dixie Chicks, which saw sales leap more than 700%.

Despite the positive numbers last week, album sales were down 10.5% vs. the same week in 2005, and for the year, sales are down 15%, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Romance provided the one-two punch at the top of the charts. Jones’ album sold 211,000 copies, and “In My Songs” (Atlantic), the first posthumous album from R&B singer Gerald Levert, sold 165,000.

The top 10 chart was largely the result of the Grammy effect: Winning is great, but performing on the telecast is even better. The “Grammy Nominees 2007” compilation rose four slots to No. 3 on sales of 131,000; Corinne Bailey Rae’s Capitol disc rose five slots to No. 4, selling 120,000; and Justin Timberlake’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds” (Jive) spiked up three slots to No. 7 on sales of 108,000. All the acts more than doubled their sales from the previous week.

The Dixie Chicks’ “Taking the Long Way” (Columbia) came in at No. 8, selling 103,000, and John Mayer’s “Continuum” landed at No. 10 — a 19-slot rise — on sales of 80,000.

Other albums by Grammy performers and winners to see significant boosts were Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Stadium Arcadium” (No. 12, 67,000 sold); John Legend’s “Once Again” (No. 23, 42,000); Christina Aguilera’s “Back to Basics” (No. 41, 27,000); Gnarls Barkley’s “St. Elsewhere” (No. 44, 27,000); Tony Bennett’s “Duets: An American Classic” (No. 45, 26,000); and James Blunt’s “Back to Bedlam” (No. 47, 23,000).

Among other debuts, Lucinda Williams secured her best week yet, selling 57,000 copies of “West” (Lost Highway). EMI’s compilation “Van Morrison at the Movies” opened at No. 35, selling 29,000.

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