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"The thing about U2 is how wonderful it is to rely on a great band that comes with great music which guarantees you great sales."
——Jerry Kamiler, Trans World
BOMB’S AWAY FOR U2!!
U2 Album Tops 838k, Eminem #2, While Gwen Stefani and Fantasia Bow Top 10
Retailers are now dreaming of a Green Christmas.

Irish rockers U2’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb hit stores with nuclear force this week, scoring the largest first-week numbers of the year for a rock band. The total of 838k is the third highest of 2004 behind Usher’s Confessions (1.09 million) and Norah JonesFeels Like Home (1.03 million), both of which came out in the first quarter.

See what a multi-million-dollar Apple iPod campaign can do?

Trans World’s Jerry Kamiler is ready to believe in leprechauns, pots of gold and Ron Artest insisting he’s a changed man: "The thing about U2 is how wonderful it is to rely on a great band that comes with great music which guarantees you great sales. And there aren’t too many musical acts out there right now that have that kind of continuity. People buy songs instead of artists, but U2 is really a band in the true sense of what a band is all about. I love the group so much because you can rely upon their album being wonderful, quality product that will sell great."

Interscope labelmate Gwen Stefani’s Love, Angel, Music, Baby (#7) and J/RMG Idol winner Fantasia (#8) are the week’s other Top 10 debuts.

Fantasia leads a charge of the hit TV series’ stars to hit the charts, with RCA/RMG’s Clay Aiken Christmas album at #12, J/RMG’s Ruben Studdard at #20 and J/RMG’s Kelly Clarkson hitting the street today.

Shady/Aftermath’s Eminem drops to #2 after two weeks on top, with Mercury Nashville’s Shania Twain (#3) and DreamWorks Nashville’s Toby Keith (#4) giving UMG the top four positions on the chart. Columbia/CRG’s Destiny’s Child (#5), Capitol’s Now 17 (#6), Geffen’s Snoop Dogg (#9) and LaFace/ZLG’s revitalized Usher (#10) round out the Top 10.

Other chart newcomers include Wind-up’s Creed greatest hits (#15), Columbia/CRG’s Jessica Simpson Christmas album (#16), Geffen’s Nirvana box set (#18), Wind-up’s Evanescence (#30), Rounder/IDJ’s Allison Krauss (#31) and Arista/RMG’s Kenny G (#42).

Curb’s Tim McGraw (#23-13) leads the way, with a humongous 197% increase over the previous week, thanks to the giant hit, "Live Like You Were Dying," followed by Fo’ Reel/Universal’s Nelly Suit (#13, +91%), also benefiting from McGraw’s star power on the duet, "Over and Over." Buena Vista/Hollywood’s Hilary Duff (#26-21, +79%), Now 17 (+75%), Geffen’s Ashlee Simpson (#47-37, +73%) and Twain (+72%) are the other top gainers.

Next week, look for WB’s Linkin Park/Jay-Z mash-up on a Collision Course for 250-300k in first-week sales edging Atlantic’s new T.I. album. Look for both Columbia’s Nas and J’s Clarkson to crack next week’s Top 10.

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