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"The Chicago soundtrack just might be the O Brother of musicals when all is said and done. The word of mouth on this record is huge, and the movie hasn’t even opened in wide release yet. This has all the earmarks of a yearlong sales phenomenon."
——Hastings’ Mike Fuller
TOP HAT & SALES!
Norah Stays #1, Leads the Female-Dominated Chart for the Fourth Week in a Row, but Look at the Chicago Soundtrack
The Bears, Bulls, Cubs and Blackhawks may be down, but Chicago, that toddlin’ town, is not only the nation’s second city, the Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax album from the award-winning film of the same name is also #2 on this week’s HITS Top 50 chart.

It’s almost enough to make us want to put on some tap shoes and trip the light fantastic. Just like the movie, the record’s got legs.

HastingsMike Fuller, claiming he can croon and hoof at least as well as Richard Gere, explains: "The Chicago soundtrack just might be the O Brother of musicals when all is said and done. The word of mouth on this record is huge, and the movie hasn’t even opened in wide release yet. This has all the earmarks of a yearlong sales phenomenon."

The disc, boasting 100k-plus sales, with an impressive 21% increase, landed right behind torchy throwback Norah Jones, whose Blue Note album holds onto #1 for the fourth straight week.

That leads a once-again distaff-heavy Top 10 that includes Arista sk8te-punk phenom Avril Lavigne (#3), Open Wide/Columbia/CRG’s Dixie Chicks (#4), Epic’s Jennifer Lopez (#5) and GM/Elektra/EEG’s Missy Elliott (#8).

The week’s fastest-rising album was Lava/Atlantic’s Kid Rock, which has catapulted 18-8 with a 38% increase on the strength of the smash Sheryl Crow duet, "Picture," more than a year after its release in November 2001.

Said Fuller: "Yeah, I get the ‘Picture.’ This Kid Rock record is seeing huge sales behind the new single. If it doesn’t continue its rise, I promise to, you’ll pardon the expression, eat Crow."

The Top 10 is rounded out by Shady/Interscope/UMG Strx’s 8 Mile (#6) and a pair of guys with girl names in Daylight/Epic’s Good Charlotte (#9) and Fo’ Reel/Universal’s Nelly (#10).

Interscope’s Queens of the Stone Age (36-27) recorded an 8% jump on the strength of the hit Active Rock/PoMo single, "No One Knows," while Capitol’s Coldplay went 26-20, and it should see a spike next week following a live performance on the premiere of Jimmy Kimmel’s ABC talk show, which aired after the Super Bowl.

Newcomers to the chart include Interscope’s Russian bad girls T.A.T.U. (#42), Mercury/Nashville’s Terri Clark (#47), Columbia/CRG’s Solange, who’s the sister of Beyonce Knowles (#48), and J’s Tyrese (#49).

Next week, expect a strong debut from Billy Corgan’s new, post-Pumpkins band Zwan, with this Tuesday’s release of the new Martha’s Music/Reprise effort, Mary Star of the Sea.

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