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“No sophomore jinx for Ashlee Simpson who had a great first week with us. She’s a bona fide star and the SNL appearance before the release date didn’t hurt."
——Virgin Entertainment Group’s Jerry Suarez

NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP FOR ASHLEE AT #1

Ashlee, Rod, Martina, Stevie, Bun B and Depeche Mode All Debut in Top 10
I Am Me as she is she...and we are all together. Nope, she sure ain’t the Walrus, but Geffen’s Ashlee Simpson is no longer just Jessica Simpson’s little sister, as she scores the #1 spot on this week’s chart, selling 227k of her sophomore release. If this success proves anything, it’s that the average consumer ultimately doesn’t care about last year’s Saturday Night Live lip-synching “scandal.”

But Simpson is only one of six debuts in this week’s Top 10: Rod Stewart (J Records/RMG) comes in #2, selling 187k of his fourth American Songbook title; the lovely Martina McBride (RCA Nashville) never promised us a rose garden, but she’s still #3, selling 173k of her collection of authentic country classics covers (so authentic, in fact, that Buck Owens did some liner notes); Rap-A-Lot/Asylum’s Bun B (we could have some nasty fun with that name...but we’re feeling nice today) comes in #5, with 118k; Motown/Universal’s Stevie Wonder is #6, with 113k; and Reprise’s Depeche Mode returns at #7, with 104k.

“No sophomore jinx for Ashlee Simpson who had a great first week with us,” says Virgin Entertainment Group’s Jerry Suarez. “She’s a bona fide star and the SNL appearance before the release date didn’t hurt. But the week had so many hot debuts with Depeche Mode, Rod Stewart and Bun B—and I’m guessing that Martina McBride had a huge week at the racks.”

Rounding out the rest of the Top 10 are stalwarts Nickelback (Roadrunner/IDJ) who drop two spots to #4, with 129k; A&M/Interscope’s Black Eyed Peas drop four spots to #8, with 92k; J Records/RMG’s Alicia Keys drops eight spots to #9, with 79k; and Roc-A-Fella/IDJ’s Kanye West drops five spots to #10, with 74k (but he’s probably stll pleased as punch about the scandals surrounding the White House this week...).

Other notable debuts: Mercury Nashville’s Billy Currington at #11, with 52k; Island/IDJ’s Thrice at #15, with 48k; Columbia/CRG’s Chris Botti at #21, with 39k; MCA Nashville’s Tracy Lawrence at #37, with 29k of a new compilation; and Bad Boy/Atlantic’s Black Rob (no relation to Black Bart) at #39, with 29k.

Watch for debuts next week from Aerosmith, Destiny’s Child, NSYNC, Joe Nichols and Bette Midler covering Peggy Lee.
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