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Published: 5/15/2009

Bob Dylan Bows Atop Billboard 200


Bob Dylan landed his fifth No. 1 album this week as Together Through Life opens atop the list with 125,000. Dylan's last project, Modern Times also debuted at the top spot on the charts.

By Keith Caulfield, L.A.

Bob Dylan, whose Billboard 200 chart career began in 1963, lands his fifth No. 1 album this week as "Together Through Life" (Columbia) opens atop the list with 125,000. It gives the icon back-to-back No. 1s with studio albums, as 2006's "Modern Times" also started in the penthouse. However, the latter set bowed with a much stronger number -- 192,000. "Modern" was ushered in with an Apple iTunes/iPod TV spot, which starred Dylan himself singing that album's song "Someday Baby." The new album did not have such a splashy marketing tie-in.

"Together's" first week is more in line with what Dylan saw with 2001's "Love and Theft" (134,000 for a No. 5 debut) and 1997's "Time Out of Mind" (102,000 for a No. 10 debut).

Last week's No. 1 album, Rick Ross' "Deeper Than Rap" (Maybach/Slip-N-Slide/Def Jam), takes a not-unexpected 67.5% second-week decline, falling to No. 4 with 51,000 after his debut with 158,000 last week. It's not unusual for hip-hop albums to take a nose-dive in their second week, as the chart has proven in the past. Earlier this year, Jadakiss' "The Last Kiss" (Ruff Ryders/D-Block/Def Jam) fell 66.7% in its sophomore frame (going from 135,000 to 45,000), UGK's "UGK 4 Life" (Trill/UGK/Jive) slipped 65.6% in its second week (76,000 vs. 26,000) and Jim Jones' "Pray IV Reign" (E1/Columbia) fell 68% in week number two (43,000 vs. 14,000).

The Billboard 200's second-highest debut this week comes from rock super group Heaven & Hell with "The Devil You Know." The Rhino effort, which boasts four current and former members of Black Sabbath, starts at No. 8 with 30,000. The world music-flavored compilation "Playing for Change" (StarCon/Hear Music) starts at No. 10 with 26,000, powered by strong sales from Internet retailers and Starbucks stores.

Elsewhere in the top 10 this week ... the "Hannah Montana: the Movie" soundtrack (Walt Disney) holds at No. 2 with 86,000 (down 18%), Rascal Flatts' "Unstoppable" (Lyric Street) climbs one rung to No. 3 with 53,000 (down 22%), Lady GaGa's "The Fame" (Streamline/KonLive/Cherrytree/Interscope) rises two slots to No. 5 with 40,000 (up 0.6%), the soundtrack to "Twilight" (Summit/Chop Shop/Atlantic) stays steady at No. 6 with 35,000 (down 14%), the "Now 30" compilation (UMe) moves up two rungs to No. 7 with 33,000 (down 10%) and Taylor Swift's "Fearless" (Big Machine) returns to the top 10 at No. 9 -- moving up two slots -- with 29,000 (up 1%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending May 3) totaled 6.172 million units, down 0.6% compared to the sum last week (6.176 million) and down 18.3% compared to the same sales week of 2008 (7.557 million). Year to date album sales stand at 124.0 million, down 12.5% compared to the same total at this point last year (141.8 million).






 
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