Material Girl Dethroned By Diamond

The following story was part of the Day in Rock Report for 5/14/08 - (antiMusic) Neil Diamond's new album "Home Before Dark" debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart after selling 145,840 copies last week. Produced by Rick Rubin, the album is Neil's first chart topper in his 48-year career. Some speculate that an appearance on American Idol pushed him over the top, but a former Idol also debuted a new album last week and sold less than half of what his previous album had sold.

Toby Keith's new double "best of" collection sold 103,000 copies last week to claim the No. 2 spot. Last week's, No. 1 from Madonna dropped to No. 3 with a little more than 94,000 people opting for some "Hard Candy".

Then there is Clay Aiken and his second album of new material. Aiken's "On My Way Here" made a respectable No. 4 debut just barely beat out by Madonna. However, the 94,071 units sold is significantly less than his last album, the covers collection "A Thousand Different Ways," which sold over 205,000 copies in its first week of release and landed at No. 2.

In fact, that release sold less than his holiday release "Merry Christmas With Love," which moved 270,100 copies the first week and set a Billboard record. And his debut, "Measure Of A Man," opened at the top of the charts with sales of over 613,000 units. While he still has a insanely devoted fanbase of "Claymates," it just appears there are less of them these days. Either that or less casual fans opting to buy the CD. Perhaps making TV appearances where he didn't perform to showcase the songs on new album might not have helped reach out to those potential buyers either.

Other top 10 debuts this week include new releases from Gavin DeGraw, Josh Groban and Dierks Bentley. DeGraw's self-titled album sold 66,111 copies last week to enter the charts at No. 7. Groban's CD/DVD "Awake Live" came in at No. 8 with 58,000 in sales and Bentley's new hits collection sold 43,000 for a no. 9 debut.

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