McEntire, Strait, Swift dominate album sales

There’s a bit of twang in the current album chart, as country stars Reba McEntire, George Strait and the ever-resilient Taylor Swift claimed three of the top 10 slots for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Soundscan.

McEntire’s “Keep on Loving You” debuted at the top of the chart with sales of some 95,800 units, while sales of Strait’s “Twang” dropped 60% over last week, when the album claimed No. 1 out of the gate. Total sales of Strait’s LP to date are 216,000, while Swift’s “Fearless” continues to mount impressive numbers, with another 34,000 units sold last week (a drop of only 8%); it’s 41st on the chart.

Last week, the late Michael Jackson surpassed the country ingenue with the bestselling album of 2009. Jackson’s “Number Ones” racked up yet another 68,000 units in sales, falling only 15% from the previous week and logging its 35th week on the comprehensive albums chart. For the year, “Number Ones” has sold 1,619,000 units vs. 1,608,000 for “Fearless,” according to Gary Trust, charts manager for Billboard.

Overall, “Number Ones” has racked up 3.3 million units in sales since its release in 2003, compared with “Fearless” at 3.7 million since bowing in 2008, with few signs of slowing.

While industry pros are no doubt anticipating how Whitney Houston’s upcoming “I Look to You” (Aug. 31) will perform, Trust sees the Beatles — due to release their remastered catalog Sept. 9 — Jackson and Swift as the biggest sales sensations of the year.

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