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"BMG is going great guns, as Clay Aiken and Rod Stewart have big third weeks, Dido continues to deliver huge numbers and the Strokes have a strong debut, coming in at the top of our chart."
——Jerry Suarez, Virgin Entertainment Group

AIKEN LEADS THE WAY AS BMG’S
CHART ATTACK CONTINUES

Aiken, OutKast, Rod Stewart, The Strokes, Dido Land in Top 10, as R.E.M., Gerald Levert Debut
The bubbly is flowing fast in Gutersloh.

BMG’s Rolf Schmidt-Holtz and Michael Smellie, not to mention Clive Davis and Antonio "L.A." Reid, are living the high life, as the German media conglom takes time out from their reported talks with Sony Music to celebrate five albums in the HITS Top 10, including four of the top five.

RCA’s three-time champ Clay Aiken leads the way at #1, followed by Arista runners-up OutKast (#2), J RecordsRod Stewart (#3) and RCA buzz-band The Strokes, debuting at #5. Only WB’s R.E.M. greatest-hits package, bowing at #4, broke up the BMG hegemony, while Sylvia Rhone’s Elektra sported two in the Top 10, including EW’s debuting Gerald Levert at #7 and WSM’s Eagles best-of at #8.

Virgin Entertainment Group’s Jerry Suarez took a break from his vigil waiting for Britney Spears’ new album to arrive to comment: "BMG is going great guns, as Clay Aiken and Rod Stewart have big third weeks, Dido continues to deliver huge numbers and the Strokes have a strong debut, coming in at the top of our chart. R.E.M. also had a solid first week in the streets, as their fans came out in force. It’s almost enough to make me want to don a pair of lederhosen and celebrate Novemberfest."

The rest of the Top 10 included Def Jam South/IDJ’s Ludacris (#6), Arista chanteuse Dido (#9) and Republic/Universal’s surging 3 Doors Down, up 24% at #10.

Other chart newcomers included J Records’ Luther Vandross live album (#21), Republic/Universal’s Hatebreed (#22) and Columbia/CRG’s Harry Connick Jr. holiday songs disc (#50).

Aside from 3 Doors Down, artists experiencing double-digit sales growth included A&M/Interscope’s Sting (+19%, 20-13), J Records’ first Rod Stewart collection (+17%, 46-33) and TVT’s Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz (+15%, 49-39). A&M/Interscope’s Black Eyed Peas (#40) and DreamWorks Nashville’s Toby Keith (#45) both returned to the Top 50.

Next week, look for Arista’s Sarah McLachlan to continue BMG’s dominance by vying for the #1 slot with DreamWorks Nashville's Keith, as Super Tuesday promises charting records from Murder Inc./IDJ’s Ja Rule, Atlantic/Atl G’s P.O.D., Capitol’s Coldplay DVD/CD hybrid, DreamWorks Nashville’s Darryl Worley, J Records’ Wyclef Jean, Lost Highway’s Ryan Adams, Columbia/CRG’s Now 14 and Jive’s Too Short. Also on tap, a remix album from Desert Storm/Elektra/EEG’s Fabolous and greatest hits collections by Jive’s Nick Carter, Capitol’s Bob Seger, Atlantic/Atl G’s Robert Plant and A&M/Interscope’s Sheryl Crow.

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