For the Dixie Chicks, there’s no place like home.
The Chicks continued a banner year for country music, becoming the fourth twangy act to lasso a number one debut in 2002.
Moreover, fans stampeded the retail racks in such numbers that Home set several new sales landmarks. Home sold 780,000 copies for the week ended Sunday, according to SoundScan numbers, giving the Chicks the best first week sales ever for any female group–country or otherwise. Home also scored the second best sales week for all of 2002, playing, um, second fiddle to The Eminem Show.
The Dixie Chicks are still the only country group to open on top of the pop charts, and they’ve done it twice, having previously debuted at number one with 1999’s Fly (which sold 341,000 copies). Home’s sales were fueled by two singles working on radio, the bluegrass-heavy “Long Gone” released earlier this summer and a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” issued last month.
Fans were especially primed to buy Home considering it was the first new album from the Texas trio in three years. The Chicks originally went on hiatus to begin nesting, variously marrying and having chicklets. But then, last year, the threesome of Emily Robison, Natalie Maines Pasdar and Martie Seidel sued Sony Music, accusing the label of swindling them out of millions of dollars. The band and Sony reached a settlement in June (reportedly for $20 million), paving the way for the new, chart-dominating release.
Prior to 2002, only four country artists had scored number ones: Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes and the Chicks, with Brooks the only repeat offender before this week (Brooks landed country’s first ever number one debut with 1991’s Ropin’ the Wind). So far this year, however, three more country artists–Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney–have reached this milestone. With a new Faith Hill album set for release in the coming weeks, 2002 may finish with an unprecedented five pop number ones for the genre.
With the Chicks ruling the world, VMA highlight Eminem ( news – web sites) fell back to number two spot as The Eminem Show sold 76,000 copies. Another MTV Video Music Award winner, newcomer Avril Lavigne, held at number three as Let Go finally moved past Nelly’s Nellyville, now at four.
Critic darlings Coldplay landed the week’s next best bow. The mellow Brit rockers’ A Rush of Blood to the Head the follow-up to their 2000 breakthrough, Parachutes, sold sold 141,000 at number five. Rapper Eve followed at six with Eve-Olution selling 123,000 copies.
The rest of the Top 10, all holdovers, were Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising at seven, James Taylor’s October Road at eight, Clipse’s Lord Willin’ at nine and Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 10 at, appropriately enough, number 10.
Other heavy-hitting debuts included Lil’ Flip’s Undaground Legend at12, Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf at 17, BBMak’s Into Your Head at 25, country duo Montgomery Gentry’s My Town at 26 and the rap-heavy soundtrack to the upcoming comedy Barbershop (starring Ice Cube and Eve) at 30.
Indie star Aimee Mann’s Lost in Space sold 31,000 copies to open at 35–an exceptional feat for an independent. She handily bested Slipknot side project number two, Stone Sour, whose self-titled album opened at 46.
With few new releases coming next week because of the anniversary of 9-11, this week packed in more debuts than normal: VMA host Jimmy Fallon’s Bathroom Wall checked in at 47, Devin the Dude’s Just Trying ta Live landed at 61, Silverchair’s Diorama opened at 91 and actor Jared Leto’s band, 30 Seconds to Mars, orbited at 107 with their self-titled debut.
Here’s a recap of the Top 10 albums for the week ended September 1:
1. Home, Dixie Chicks
2. The Eminem Show, Eminem
3. Let Go, Avril Lavigne
4. Nellyville, Nelly
5. A Rush of Blood to the Head, Coldplay
6. Eve-Olution, Eve
7. The Rising, Bruce Springsteen
8. October Road, James Taylor
9. Lord Willin’, Clipse
10. Now That’s What I Call Music! 10, various
Entertainment – E! Online Music