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"Valentines Day is traditionally a huge week for record sales, and this year proved to be no exception. The 50 Cent phenomenon continued virtually unabated. It’s hard to recall a record that decreased so little in its second week of release."
——Virgin Entertainment Group’s Jerry Suarez
HEART-SHAPED SALES!!!
Valentine’s Day Boosts Retail Overall, but Once Again It’s All About 50 Cent
He loves me. He loves me not. He shoots me. He shoots me not.

While this week’s HITS Album chart is filled with sales prompted by Valentine’s Day (it couldn’t be Presidents’ Day), the top slot is once again reserved for a guy who expresses his love the hip-hop way—by blowing up the competition.

Shady/Aftermath/Interscope rap sensation 50 Cent shot an arrow in the air, and it landed at #1, with remarkable second-week sales of 801k, a less than 1% drop from his huge opening, giving hip-hop’s newest superstar 1.6 million units moved in less than two weeks.

Can you say humongous?

Virgin Entertainment Group’s Jerry Suarez can, but just barely: "Valentines Day is traditionally a huge week for record sales, and this year proved to be no exception. The 50 Cent phenomenon continued virtually unabated. It’s hard to recall a record that decreased so little in its second week of release."

Open Wide/Monument/Columbia’s Dixie Chicks stayed at #2 with 161k and a 49% increase. Blue Note’s Norah Jones (#3, +39%), Lava/Atlantic’s Kid Rock (#4, +23%) and Epic/SMS’s Chicago (#5, +55%) all topping 100k, collectively replacing chocolate, roses and Hallmark cards as this year’s fave Valentine’s Day gifts.

Rounding out the Top 10 were debuting MCA Nashville cowboy George Strait (#6), Arista’s Avril Lavigne (#7, +22%), Mercury/IDJ’s Shania Twain (#8, +57%), Epic’s Jennifer Lopez (#9) and GM/Elektra’s Missy Elliott (#10).

Just outside the Top 10, J RecordsRod Stewart (#11) and 143/Reprise boy crooner Josh Groban (#12) showed the effect of hearts and flowers, as they registered impressive sales gains of 79% and 90%, respectively.

Continued Suarez: "Almost everything was up from last week—not only some obvious titles like Dixie Chicks, Norah Jones and Chicago, but also Rod Stewart and Josh Groban were way up as well." We’re so glad Jerry can read and count at the same time.

MCA Nashville’s Vince Gill (#13) and Aware/Columbia Grammy nominee John Mayer (#14) probably owed their high chart debuts to Cupid as well.

And that’s not all. Thirty-six of the Top 50 boasted sales increases of more than 35%, including Blackground/Universal’s Aaliyah (#15, +48%), Capitol’s Coldplay (#20, +39%), Curb’s Tim McGraw (#25, +72%), UTV’s Elton John best-of (#32, +93%), Atlantic’s Sean Paul (#34, +39%) and WB’s Faith Hill (#35, +92%).

And that doesn’t even include chart newcomers like WSM’s Grammy nominees CD (#19), Virgin’s Yanni (#23), Columbia’s Ramones tribute album (#37), Arista’s Kenny Lattimore (#41), Mercury/IDJ’s Rush greatest hits (#42), American Gramaphone’s Mannheim Steamroller (#43) and re-entries by Island/IDJ’s Bon Jovi (#48) and Columbia diva Vivian Green (#48).

Here’s looking forward to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Secretary’s Day.

HARLOW TAKES
OVER WARNER U.K.
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EGGNOG!
Ours is mostly bourbon.
MISTLETOE!
Delicious in salads.
CHESTNUTS!
Ours are roasting, but it could be these slim-fit jeans.
WEED!
An entire Christmas tree made of it. Is what we want for Christmas.
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