"Our customer base definitely favored Morrissey. He is the quintessential Tower Records artist and topped our chart this week."
——Kevin Hawkins, Tower Records

USHER’S 8-BALL IN SIDE POCKET

LaFace/ZLG Soul Star Notches Eighth Week at #1, While Method Man, New Found Glory, Alanis Morissette, Montgomery Gentry and Morrissey Bow in Top 10
Eight is apparently more than enough for Usher.

Despite five newcomers to the Top 10, the LaFace/ZLG soul star powers his way to an eighth week (out of the last nine) at #1, missing only when Shady/Interscope’s D12 (#6) debuted in first.

Def Jam/IDJ rapper-turned-sitcom star Method Man tops the list of debuts at #2, followed by Drive Thru/Geffen’s New Found Glory (#3), Maverick’s Alanis Morissette (#5), Columbia/CRG’s Montgomery Gentry (#9) and Attack/Sanctuary’s Morrissey (#10).

Tower RecordsKevin Hawkins took time off from speed-dialing American Idol to vote for William Hung to opine: "Method Man had a solid first week of sales, especially figuring how much time it’s been since his last release. New Found Glory has really developed a loyal fan base. They are a prime example of actual artist development. Alanis also fared well with us. But our customer base definitely favored Morrissey. He is the quintessential Tower Records artist and topped our chart this week."

Aside from D12, Top 10 holdovers include Epic/Sony Nashville’s Gretchen Wilson (#4), Island/IDJ’s Hoobastank (#7) and Bad Boy/Universal’s 8Ball & M.J.G. (#8).

Other chart bows are registered by Virgin’s Lenny Kravitz (#16), Epic’s George Michael (#25), Epic’s Franz Ferdinand (#44), Island/IDJ’s Lionel Richie, Warner Bros. Nashville’s Big & Rich (#48) and Capitol’s George Thorogood & the Destroyers Greatest Hits (#49).

In a flat week, DreamWorksShrek 2 soundtrack goes 40-15, registering a giant, green 106% gain. Other double-digit gainers include Roc-A-Fella/IDJ’s Jay-Z (#22, +13%), Epic’s Modest Mouse (#23, +17%), Capitol’s Yellowcard (#31, +19%), Elektra’s Jet (#34, +13%) and Epic’s Los Lonely Boys (#35, +15% ).

Gotta give props to Epic’s Steve Barnett, Joel Klaiman and the rest of the label team, with breakout bands Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand and Los Lonely Boys all registering significant gains.

Next week, look for Arista/RMG teenpop idol Avril Lavigne and RoadRunner/IDJ masked metallers Slipknot, which both hit the streets today, to challenge Usher for the top spot.

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