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"[Gretchen Wilson] has a monster #1 single at Country radio that should have her hanging around in the Top 5 for quite awhile. Of course, Usher just keeps on coming. Three singles at radio and no end in sight."
——George Deahl, Hastings
USHER BY A "NECK"
Gretchen Wilson Makes #2 Debut, 8Ball & M.J.G. Enter at #3 and Teena Marie Bows at #6
It was nip and tuck all the way, but LaFace/ZLG soul superstar Usher nips Epic/Sony Nashville newcomer, "Redneck Woman" Gretchen Wilson, by less than 3,000 for the top spot on this week’s HITS Top 50, making it seven weeks at #1 for the hit crooner.

HastingsGeorge Deahl wasn’t surprised by Wilson’s success since he often dates redneck women: "She has a monster #1 single at Country radio that should have her hanging around in the Top 5 for quite awhile. Of course, Usher just keeps on coming. Three singles at radio and no end in sight."

Bad Boy/Universal rappers 8Ball & M.J.G. are the other top debut, landing at #3, while Cash Money/Universal’s veteran R&B diva Teena Marie makes an impressive comeback with a #6 bow.

Deahl also noted: "From my research at the Department of Redundant Redundancies, it certainly appears that Eightball & M.J.G. and Teena Marie had solid debuts. "

The rest of the Top 10 includes Shady/Interscope’s D12 (#4), Island/IDJ’s Hoobastank (#5), Capitol’s Now 15 (#7), Jive/ZLG’s Petey Pablo (#8), Bad Boy/Universal’s Mario Winans (#9) and NPG/Columbia’s Prince (#10).

In all, Universal Music Group had five of the Top 10.

Other chart newcomers are RoadRunner/IDJ rockers Killswitch Engage (#19), DreamWorksShrek 2 soundtrack, bolstered by the Counting Crows’ "Accidentally in Love" single (#40), and Curb’s Wynonna Judd (#47).

Added Deahl: "Killswitch Engage built nicely on the fan base they garnered from their first release, but what’s with that name?"

The overall market was off anywhere from 15-20% compared to the week before. The only double-digit increases were registered by Roc-A-Fella/IDJ’s Jay-Z (#37-23, +16%), which is gaining thanks to multi-format play for "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and Epic’s Los Lonely Boys (#48-31, +10%), climbing on the back of the Top 40 and Top 40 Adult hit, "Heaven."

Next week, several big-name artists will hit the charts, including Def Jam/IDJ’s Method Man, Maverick’s Alanis Morissette, Geffen’s New Found Glory, Virgin’s Lenny Kravitz, So So Def/ZLG’s Jermaine Dupri, Epic’s George Michael, Attack/Sanctuary’s Morrissey and Razor & Tie’s Kidz Bop Gold.

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