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"Over the last five records, you can see that his time was coming to an end, but Johnny Cash is so iconic that 200 years from now people will be listening to him."
—-Terry Currier, Music Millennium
CASH CARRIES THE CHART
Late Legend Tops Furtado, India.Arie and Rihanna for #1

The man stepped through a ring of fire to land at #1.

Like a voice from beyond, the late Johnny Cash’s spirit proves indomitable as his posthumous, Rick Rubin-produced American/Lost Highway release, American V: A Hundred Highways, sits atop this week’s HITS album chart.

After telling us his favorite Cash song was “A Boy Named Sue,” Music Millennium’s Terry Currier commented: “These last recordings put Johnny Cash back in the forefront of everyone’s mind. And it wasn’t just a country audience; he returned to his rock roots where he started in the ‘50s. Over the last five records, you can see that his time was coming to an end, but Johnny Cash is so iconic that 200 years from now people will be listening to him.”

The 85k total was just enough to edge Geffen chanteuse Nelly Furtado’s Loose, who finished #2, thanks to “Promiscuous,” her multi-format smash with Timbaland. It was that rare week when not one album topped the six-figure mark in sales.

Last week’s #1, India.Arie’s Universal Motown album Testimony: Vol. 1, is #3, followed by Def Jam/IDJ’s Rihanna and Lyric Street’s still-strong Rascal Flatts. With Cash, Furtado, India.Arie and Rihanna, Doug MorrisUMG boasts the top four albums and, with Vagrant’s Dashboard Confessional at #7, five of the top seven.

The rest of the Top 10 includes Downtown/Atlantic’s Gnarls Barkley (#6), Open Wide/Monument/Columbia’s Dixie Chicks (#8), Disney’s High School Musical (#9) and Bad Boy/Atlantic’s Yung Joc (#10).

Geffen punk-rockers Rise Against are the other chart newcomers, debuting at #11, with Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack (#24) and Universal Republic’s Hinder (#43) representing the other debuts.

Double-digit increases are registered by Epic’s The Fray (#27-19, +12%), Island/IDJ’s Johnny Cash compilation (#44-30, +10%) and Virgin’s KT Tunstall (#50-39, +13%), with Fueled by Ramen’s Panic! at the Disco (#17-14), Roadrunner/IDJ’s Nickelback (#29-22), Universal Motown’s Blue October (#45-33), Show Dog Nashville/Universal’s Toby Keith (#43-38) and Jive/ZLG’s Nick Lachey (#49-41) also showing upward mobility.

This week’s releases include a likely chart-topper in Sony Music’s Now 22, along with XL’s Thom Yorke, WB’s Muse, Asthmatic Kitty’s Sufjan Stevens and Wind-up’s Seether. Or Music/Epic’s Los Lonely Boys and Elektra’s Third Eye Blind top the discs hitting retail July 18.

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