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This week’s big story, though, will be Grammy triple crown winners The Dixie Chicks, whose Open Road/Columbia album, Taking the Long Way, has been re-energized as record buyers “Make Nice” to the tune of a more than 1,000% increase at some retailers.

NO KEEPING UP WITH JONES

Blue Note Diva Will Return to #1 Spot Thanks to Valentine’s Day, TV Appearances
Valentine’s Day has become almost as important as Christmas for the record industry.

Blue Note diva Norah Jones proves to be a pretty effective Cupid this week, shooting her arrow and, in all probability, landing back at #1 on next week’s HITS Top 50, with what could be 250k or even more in sales, based on retailers’ one-day reports from around this love-besotted country of ours.

Jones has more than love, sweet love to thank, with a flurry of TV spots, including a feature on 60 Minutes last Sunday right before the Grammys, and appearances on David Letterman tonight and CBS This Morning tomorrow.

Atlantic soul legend Gerald Levert could be the only thing standing in Norah’s way, as his latest, In My Songs, is proving much bigger than expected, with an outside shot at 200k though the weather could cause stocking problems for the label.

This week’s big story, though, will be Grammy triple crown winners The Dixie Chicks, whose Open Road/Columbia album, Taking the Long Way, has been re-energized as record buyers “Make Nice” to the tune of a more than 1,000% increase at some retailers, from a total of between 5-6,000 to 70-80k, with a #1 at iTunes to boot for both album and winning single, “Not Ready to Make Nice.” Take that, Dubya.

Other acts taking advantage of Grammy sales spikes, which should develop as the week goes on, include John Mayer, Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Blunt, Shakira, Gnarls Barkley, Carrie Underwood, Tony Bennett and the Jimmy Sturr Orchestra.

Meanwhile, Star Trak/Interscope blue-eyed soul man Robin Thicke will benefit from a new deluxe version of his release hitting the streets last Tuesday to boost sales to 70-80k.

Lost Highway’s Lucinda Williams’ new release, West, is on target for between 35-40k, while Manhattan RecordsVan Morrison at the Movies: Soundtrack Hits collection is headed for 35-40k.

Overall, there was nothing to write home about. The market was up nearly 5% from last week, down almost 19% vs. same week last year and now down virtually 16% year-to-date.