West's '808' tops Guns N' Roses' 'Democracy'

Moving on-sale dates to Sunday and Monday from the traditional Tuesday did not generate the sales rush that labels and retailers had hoped for as the holiday shopping season got under way.

Kanye West’s “808s & Heartbreak” (Roc-a-Fella/Island Def Jam), one of three albums released Nov. 24 by Universal Music’s Island Def Jam, topped the album chart, selling 450,000 copies. Disc is the hip-hop artist’s first to be dominated by his singing; his last album, “Graduation,” sold 957,000 in 2007.

“Chinese Democracy” (Geffen), the most talked about album of the season and Guns N’ Roses’ first in 17 years, registered 261,000 sales, according to Nielsen Soundscan. Tally includes sales from Nov. 23, a Sunday, through Saturday, corresponding to Best Buy’s sales calendar instead of Soundscan’s Monday-Sunday week. The disc is available exclusively at Best Buy outlets.

Ludacris’ “Theater of the Mind” (DTP/Def Jam) moved 213,000 copies to open at No. 5. The Killers’ third album, “Day & Age” (Island), sold 193,000 to start at No. 6.

Every album in the top 10 sold more than 100,000 copies; during Thanksgiving week last year, only five albums sold more than 100,000 copies. (Jordin Sparks was the lone debut in the top 10). Overall, the week’s sales were down less than 1% from the same period last year.

In 2006, when five debuts opened in the top 10, 19 albums sold more than 100,000 copies in the opening stanza of holiday sales period. And a year before that, 16 topped the 100K mark. 

Other debuts last week included Barry Manilow’s “Greatest Songs of the Eighties” (Arista) (78,000, No. 14); Coldplay EP “Prospekt’s March” (Capitol) (77,000, No. 15); Trace Adkins’ “X” (Capitol Nashville ) (37,000, No. 32); Jeremy Camp’s “Speaking Louder Than Before” (BEC) (32,000, No. 38); and E-40’s “Ball Street Journal” (Warner) (30,000, No. 42). Linkin Park’s live album “Road to Revolution” (Warner Bros.) sold 31,000 (No. 41) and ushered earlier albums “Minutes to Midnight” and “Songs From the Underground” back into the top 100.

Artists who performed on the American Music Awards telecast on Nov. 23 saw sales bumps for their albums: Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” was up 50,000 units to 267,000 (No. 2); Pink’s “Funhouse” was up 20,000 to 61,000 (No. 20); Miley Cyrus’ “Breakout” was up 18,000 to 46,000; and the Jonas Brothers’ “A Little Bit Longer” was up 16,000 to 43,000 (No. 24). Albums by Rihanna and Ne-Yo also enjoyed sales spikes.

Combination of the new EP and an AMA appearance gave Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” a significant boost: Album more than doubled its sales from the week previous to 43,000 and rose 29 slots to No. 25.

Among Christmas/winter-themed albums, Warner Music artists Faith Hill and Enya are almost neck and neck for the lead. Last week, Hill’s “Joy to the World” sold 73,000 (No. 17) to lift its cume to 206,000, while Enya’s “Winter Came” frosted 66,000 (No. 18), bringing its total to 242,000.

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