‘Spice’ twice at No. 1

Virgin Records’ Spice Girls continued their run atop the album sales charts as their “Spice” disc logged nearly 135,00 copies during the week ending May 18, according to label execs. Sales of the disc dipped only slightly in its second week as the nation’s bestselling album.

Dark-horse entry Bob Carlisle surprised industry execs by jumping 93 places into the No. 2 spot with his Diadem/Jive Records disc “Butterfly Kisses (Shades of Gray).” The disc ascended on sales of just under 100,000 copies.

The Christian music artist benefited from wide radio airplay and a catchy title track that started on contemporary-Christian format radio and shifted to pop and adult contemporary stations just over a month ago.

The disc was one of just two albums in the top 50 that experienced sales increases from the previous seven-day period.

“Life After Death,” the disc from the late Bad Boy/Arista artist Notorious B.I.G., rose to No. 3 on sales of 94,000 copies. The disc’s first single, “Hypnotize,” has become a radio and video channel stalwart.

MCA Records artists George Strait and Mary J. Blige held the Nos. 4 and 5 posts, respectively, with the country crooner of the label’s Nashville arm logging just north of 91,000 copies of “Carrying Your Love With Me.” With 94,000 units sold, Blige’s “Share My World” rocketed well past gold territory (500,000) in just four weeks.

Universal, with its 14.77% market share, almost squeezed past industry leader Warner Music, which has a 14.99% share of current albums during the week. EMI placed third, with its 14.76% share, followed by BMG at 13.5% and Sony at 12.08%.

Mercury Records trio Hanson continued its run near the chart’s top with 76,000 copies of the “Middle Of Nowhere” disc rising three spots to No. 6, thanks primarily to first single “MMMBop.” The tune has become a schoolyard and MTV staple while continuing to experience strong airplay nationwide. It joined Carlisle’s as the only other disc with a sales increase during the period.

Atlantic Records Group held the Nos. 7 and 8 spots with the soundtrack to “Space Jam” and Jewel’s “Pieces of You,” respectively. “Jam,” which is being driven by R. Kelly’s nugget “I Believe I Can Fly,” has crossed the 3 million-unit mark, a noteworthy tally for a soundtrack.

Jewel’s 69,000-unit take, aided by the single “You Were Meant For Me,” which has spent more than six months in heavy rotation on the radio and sales charts, helped the debut disc cross into the vaunted 3 million-unit arena.

Closing out the top 10 were the Wallflowers’ Interscope disc “Bringing Down The Horse” at No. 9 on sales of 68,000 units, and Universal Records success story Erykah Badu’s “Baduizm” disc, which held No. 10 by logging north of 62,000 copies.

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