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The superstar’s Rick Rubin-produced Home Before Dark is his first album to ever debut at #1, which it does this week with 140k in sales.

IN THE SKY WITH DIAMOND

Seven Debuts in Top 10 Include Neil, Keith, Aiken, DeGraw, Groban, Bentley, Miguel
Neil Diamond set another record in a career full of them.

The superstar’s Rick Rubin-produced Home Before Dark is his first album to ever debut at #1, which it does this week with 140k in sales, many of them no doubt to mothers who grew up singing “Sweet Caroline.”

Kudos to Columbia’s team of Steve Barnett and Rubin for executing the feat after being teamed by Sony Music chief Rob Stringer in a bold move last year.

UMe/Show Dog’s Toby Keith bows at #2 with 35 Biggest Hits, one of seven newcomers to the Top 10, one ahead of RCA/RMG’s Clay Aiken, whose On My Way Here sports a #3 debut.

J Records/RMG’s Gavin DeGraw enters at #7 with his self-titled sophomore album, followed by Reprise crooner Josh Groban’s CD/DVD Awake Live (#8), Capitol Nashville country star Dierks Bentley’s Greatest Hits 2003-2006 (#9) and Warner Music Latina’s Luis Miguel (#10).

The holdovers include Island/IDJ’s Mariah Carey, whose E=MC2 lands at #4, while last week’s chart-topping Madonna Warner Bros. album, Hard Candy, falls to #5. J/RMG’s Leona Lewis hangs tough at #6, giving new BMG boss Barry Weiss three in the Top 10, thanks to Clive Davis’ A&R expertise and Richard Palmese/Tom Corson’s well-thought-out game plan.

Columbia’s Tye Tribbette (#16), Reprise’s Michael Buble (#34) and Interscope’s androgynous emo-glam band Tokio Hotel (#37) are the other chart newcomers.

Pearl RecordsGarth Brooks returns to the Top 50 at #40 with his Ultimate Hits album.

The week’s biggest double-digit gainer is Reprise’s Michael Buble, who moves #29-20, +59% with Call Me Irresponsible.

Arista/RMG’s Carrie Underwood is next, moving #36-22, +48%, followed by J Records’ Alicia Keys (#30-23, +35%), 19/Jive/ZLG’s Jordin Sparks (#23-18, +28%), Capitol Nashville’s Trace Adkins (#49-39, +24%), Brushfire/Universal Republic’s Jack Johnson (#19-14, +22%), Arista Nashville’s Alan Jackson (#33-27, +20%), MCA Nashville’s George Strait (#18-15, +18%), RCA/RMG’s Daughtry (#26, +18%) and Epic’s Sara Bareilles (#32, +15%).

Next week, expect chart debuts from Atlantic’s Death Cab for Cutie, Mercury/IDJ’s Duffy, Atlantic’s Jason Mraz, Capitol’s Cherish, Rhino’s Frank Sinatra collection and Keith Sweat, Universal Republic’s 10 Years and Papa Joe’s Ryan Cabrera.

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