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"Our holiday business was good. We held our own with last year, maybe even a little bit up. Overall, we’re very happy."
——Kevin Hawkins, Tower Records

HEY YA! OUTKAST RULES FIRST NEW CHART OF THE YEAR

Now Vol. 14, Greatest Hits Collections from No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys Dominate
OutKast is in for 2004.

The Atlanta rap duo’s Arista double-album, Spearkboxxx/The Love Below, which sold 3.1 million in 2003, is off to a fast start in the new year, topping 2004’s first album chart with almost 150k sold.

The group, whose album was #5 on the 2004 list, was bolstered by two smash singles in "Hey Ya!" and "The Way You Move." The hip-hop twosome also lead the way with six Grammy nominations, including nods for Record of the Year and Album of the Year.

Columbia/CRG’s Now Vol. 14 continued its holiday momentum by finishing #2, while Interscope scored a pair of greatest hits collections with No Doubt (#3) and A&M’s Sheryl Crow. The Top Five is rounded out by the critically praised sophomore album from J RecordsAlicia Keys (#5). All five sold in excess of 100k units.

Tower Records' Kevin Hawkins held his baby aloft from a snapping crocodile to admit: "Our holiday business was good. We held our own with last year, maybe even a little bit up. Overall, we’re very happy. OutKast was definitely our #1 record of the season. No Doubt, Alicia Keys and the Beatles were also very strong. And the Coldplay record continues to blow my mind, just how strong it stayed. Some upper-demo titles like Josh Groban, Rod Stewart, Sarah McLachlan and Sheryl Crow also fared very well."

Wind-up’s Evanescence (#6), Roc-A-Fella/IDJ’s Jay-Z (#7), 143/Reprise’s Groban, G Unit/Interscope’s G-Unit and Geffen’s Blink-182 (#10) complete the Top 10. Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope label group scored three of the Top 10.

DreamWorks Nashville’s Toby Keith finished just outside the charmed circle at #11, folowed by WB’s Linkin Park (#12), Buena Vista/Hollywood’s Hilary Duff (#13), J Records’ Ruben Studdard (#14) and Jive’s Britney Spears (#15).

Columbia/CRG’s Jessica Simpson, thanks to a spate of TV appearances, including a halftime performance at the Fed Ex Orange Bowl, returned her album to the charts at #32. Cash Money/Universal’s Juvenile entered the charts with his late-December release at #36, while labelmates Big Tymers clocked in at #44. Other newcomers included Reprise’s Return of the King soundtrack (#40).

Epic’s Phantom Planet tops the rather limited list of this week’s new releases.

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RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
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Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
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