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"The Dixie Chicks are nothing short of a phenomenon. The word of mouth on this record was just tremendous and should help propel it through the entire fourth quarter."
——Hastings' Mike Fuller
CHICKS TAKE FLIGHT!!!
Coldplay and Eve Bow in Top 10, but This Week’s Chart Is Whistlin’ Dixie
The music industry took some comfort in country this week.

The album chart hatched a genuine blockbuster, with Wide Open/Columbia/CRG’s Dixie Chicks providing some welcome relief from the summer heat, as their new album Home nabbed a cool #1 debut, with more than three-quarters of a million in first-week sales. That’s a lotta egg yolks, folks.

HastingsMike Fuller hit his office spittoon at 15 feet and uttered the immortal comment: "The Dixie Chicks are nothing short of a phenomenon. The word of mouth on this record was just tremendous and should help propel it through the entire fourth quarter."

The crossover cowgirls sported a nearly 600k lead on their closest competition—a trio of acts that definitely profited from VMA exposure. Aftermath/Interscope’s four-time Moonman winner Eminem stopped threatening rival Moby long enough to nab the #2 slot over Fo’ Reel/Universal’s Nelly at #3 and Arista’s red-hot Avril Lavigne, who sported a 12% increase at #4, thanks in part to her pre-show performance and nod as Best New Artist in a Video.

Said Fuller: "Eminem continues to show real strength and was helped by the VMAs as well. But why was he so mean to Moby?"

Capitol U.K. art-rock band Coldplay was the week’s second-largest debut, bowing at #5, while Ruff Ryders/Interscope’s Eve finished right behind at #6.

Added Fuller: "Another big debut was Coldplay, showing that Capitol broke more than a song from their last album. And Eve also had a solid first week. See, I can analyze the charts as well as Geoff Mayfield."

A trio of artists appealing to adult buyers remained ensconced in the Top 10: Columbia’s Bruce Springsteen (#7) and James Taylor (#8), along with Blue Note/Virgin’s Norah Jones, who moves up a notch to #9.

Said Fuller: "Perhaps the biggest ongoing story is about the adult-leaning titles like James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Norah Jones and John Mayer, who all continue to sell, no matter what turn the marketplace takes. Can I go back to watching American Idol now?"

The VMAs helped boost a number of other artists as well, with Arista winner Pink showing an 11% increase and Capitol’s The Vines, who performed, up an impressive 24%. Other significant increases were shown by Atlantic’s Nappy Roots (14%), Epic’s Shakira (9%) and Wind-up’s Creed (7%).

Other chart newcomers included Loud/Columbia rapper Lil’ Flip (#14), Atlantic hip-hop diva Trina (#16), Interscope acid-rock stoners Queens of the Stone Age (#20), Hollywood’s boys-to-men band BBMak (#24), Columbia country-western crooner Montgomery Gentry (#26), Roadrunner/IDJ Slipknot spinoff Stone Sour (#29), DreamWorks VMA host Jimmy Fallon (#30), Island/IDJ blue-eyed soul man Daniel Bedingfield (#31), Superego indie queen Aimee Mann (#36) and Epic’s R&B-flavored Barbershop soundtrack (#43).

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