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"Tim McGraw has become one of the most bankable country superstars in the nation and his sales this week were further proof of that."
——George Deahl, Hastings
FOUR SOAR!!
Hat’s Off to Curb Cowboy Tim McGraw on #1 Debut, Followed by Newcomers R. Kelly, Young Buck and Mase
Like his dad, pitcher Tug McGraw once put it, ya gotta believe!

And there were plenty of believers—755k of them, in fact—for Tim McGraw’s new Curb album, Live Like You Were Dying, resulting in a #1 debut for the country superstar.

Hastings' George Deahl took some time from hawking bootleg copies of The Passion of the Christ at his local church to exclaim: "Tim McGraw has become one of the most bankable country superstars in the nation and his sales this week were further proof of that."

But Mr. Faith Hill wasn’t the only beneficiary this week, as Jive/ZLG soul sex symbol R. Kelly’s double-CD Happy People/U Saved Me, lands at #2. Interscope’s latest G-Unit member Young Buck’s Straight Outta Ca$hville (#3) and Bad Boy/Universal’s returning rap veteran Mase’s Welcome Back (#4) are the other two debuts at the top of the charts.

Adds Deahl: "The rest of our top four debuts were all Urban with big first-week numbers from R. Kelly, Young Buck and Mase. We had high expectations for all of them, and they did not disappoint."

The rest of the Top 10 includes last week’s #1 UTV’s Now Vol. 16 (#5), followed by Geffen’s Ashlee Simpson (#6), Octone/J Records/RMG’s still-strong Maroon 5 (#7) and LaFace/ZLG VMA winner Usher (#8). Warner Bros. Nashville’s iconoclastic Big & Rich (#9) and RCA Nashville’s Jimmy Buffett (#10) give a resurgent country three of the week’s Top 10 records.

Other chart debuts are registered by TVT Cuban rapper (and Lil Jon protégé) Pitbull (#14), Koch’s Jim Jones (#15), Epic’s Garden State soundtrack (#23), Virgin’s Rolling Stones best-of (#27) and Wind-up’s 12 Stones (#28).

SRC/Universal’s Akon (43-29, +8%) and Warner Bros. Nashville’s Big & Rich (+3%) are the week’s biggest gainers.

Next week, look for Def Jam/IDJ’s LL Cool J to top a list of new releases, which includes Concord’s Ray Charles, Geffen’s Papa Roach, Hidden Beach/Epic’s Jill Scott and Elektra’s Bjork.

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