Groban on top with Christmas album

'Noel' first holiday disc to hit No. 1 in 13 years

Josh Groban’s “Noel” becomes the first Christmas album in 13 years to hit No. 1 on the nation’s album sales chart.

Released by 143/Reprise, “Noel” sold 405,000 copies in the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Disc’s 81% sales spike came after an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s talkshow and, of course, the start of the gift-buying season.

The last holiday album to top the charts was Kenny G’s “Miracles” in 1994.

Albums already in stores filled the top nine slots, pushing down the debut from the latest “American Idol” winner to No. 10.

Jordin Sparks’ self-titled debut, released by 19 Recordings/Jive, posted the lowest first-week sales tally and chart position for an “AI” champ’s debut. Disc sold 119,000 in its first week.

Keith Urban’s “Greatest Hits” (Capitol) sold 117,000 to open at No. 11. MercyMe scored their fourth Christian Albums chart-topper, selling 84,000 copies of “All That Is Within Me” (Columbia) to debut at No. 15 on the pop chart. OneRepublic’s “Dreaming Out Loud” (Interscope) sold 75,000 to open at No. 17.

Other top-50 debuts came from rapper Freeway’s “Free at Last” (G-Unit/Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) selling 36,000 (No. 42); and the soundtrack to “Enchanted” (Disney) moving 31,000 (No. 48). Amy Winehouse’s debut album in the U.K., “Frank,” sold 22,000 copies in its first week to debut at No. 61.

Groban’s “Noel” switched places with last week’s No. 1, Alicia Keys’ “As I Am,” which sold 349,000 copies.

The release of the deluxe edition of Disney’s “High School Musical 2” pushed the album up 130% — to 183,000 — making it the top-selling album of the year. Beyonce’s “B’day” returned to the top 200, selling 73,000 copies after appearing on the American Music Awards on Nov. 18.

The release of “Hairspray” on DVD led to the soundtrack more than doubling its sales to 30,000 from 13,000 the week before. The collector’s edition of “Hairspray” sold 15,000 copies in its first week to open at No. 89.

For all the good news, the industry continues to be mired in a slump; this year’s Thanksgiving week was down 18% from last year’s.

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