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George Strait bows big, but Lil Wayne tops album chart

Sep 14, 2011, 10:41 a.m.
Rapper Lil Wayne performs at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles August 28, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

By Chris Willman

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - George Strait had the week's best SoundScan bow, but in the end the country superstar was still just playing straight man to the comical indomitability of rapper Lil Wayne.

Not surprisingly, Wayne's "Tha Carter IV" took a big tumble in Tha Week II, falling 77 percent from its blockbuster debut. But a 219,000-unit second week still represents the kind of sales most other acts would give their gold teeth for.

In a battle to see who would debut highest on the Billboard album chart, it was the Beatles, with a reissue of their collection of 27 No. 1 singles, versus George Strait, who can claim a record-setting 57 No. 1 country singles on his resume.

Neither was destined to resume their chart-topping ways with Wayne still in the picture. But Strait fared best, selling 91,000 copies of "Here for a Good Time" to debut at No. 3, behind second-place Adele. The country veteran, who's celebrating the 30th anniversary of his first hit, may be slipping a little, as this represents his weakest opening figure since 1994.

The Beatles' "1" made its way back onto the chart at No. 4 more than a decade after its initial release, thanks to becoming available on iTunes for the first time and a digital remastering of the CD version that sold in many outlets for a bargain-priced $9.99. Having already sold nearly 12 million units, the hits set added 60,000 more to its tally.

After being marooned in lesser regions of the chart for a while, Maroon 5 moved back into the top 10 for the first time in 11 months. The reason? The band's recently released hit, "Moves Like Jagger," previously only available as a digital single, was stripped onto new copies of the album. The "Hands All Over" disc handily jumped 16 spots to No. 7 with sales of 29,000.

Hugh Laurie's New Orleans-flavored "Let Them Talk" arrived at No. 16 with 20,000 sold, putting the "House" star well ahead of Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins in the recent actor-to-singer sweepstakes.

Proving there's limited hunger for a Mac attack right now, Lindsey Buckingham's "Seeds We Sow" could only sew up a No. 45 entry.

The digital songs chart saw Maroon 5 returning to the top, after a brief post-VMAs interruption by Adele. Clearly, the newfound availability of "Moves Like Jagger" on the band's resurgent album wasn't stopping budget-conscious fans from picking it up as a single. Maroon 5's Christina Aguilera-enhanced hit sold another 220,000 downloads.

How much have pop fans missed Kelly Clarkson? Hard to tell straight away, as pop's Miss Independent sold 107,000 first-week downloads of "Mr. Know It All," good enough only for a No. 9 bow on the digital songs chart.

Lil Wayne's tenure at the top of the album chart will likely be cut short next week, since Lady Antebellum's "Own the Night," which came out Tuesday, should establish chart ownership for at least one frame.

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