McGraw Is Strong, but Twain Dominates Album Charts

Tim McGraw ‘s new album sold almost 602,000 copies during its first week of release to debut at No. 2 on Billboard‘s Top Country albums chart. Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors also debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, a chart reflecting sales of all musical styles. McGraw eclipsed first-week sales of several superstars, including the late Tupac Shakur’s Better Dayz, Jennifer Lopez’s This is Me … Then and Paul McCartney’s two-CD concert recording, Back in the U.S. Live 2002.

However, McGraw’s sales were still below the 623,000 copies level of Shania Twain ‘s Up! Twain’s two-CD set remains at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart and the Billboard 200 for the second consecutive week.

Both Twain and McGraw have songs in the Top 10 of Billboard‘s Hot Country Singles and Tracks, but Rascal Flatts ‘ “These Days” tops the chart for the third straight week. For the second week in a row, Toby Keith is at No. 2 with “Who’s Your Daddy?” and George Strait is No. 3 with “She’ll Leave You With a Smile.” The next two titles swap chart positions, with the Dixie Chicks ‘ “Landslide” settling at No. 4 and Keith Urban ‘s “Somebody Like You” sliding to No. 5. McGraw’s “Red Ragtop” holds steady at No. 6, Mark Wills ‘ “19 Somethin’” rises two slots to No. 7 and Emerson Drive’s “Fall Into Me” climbs two positions to No. 8. Twain’s “I’m Gonna Getcha Good!” dips two notches to No. 9, and Kenny Chesney ‘s “A Lot of Things Different” moves to No. 10 from No. 11.

Ironically, McGraw’s album assumed the No. 2 spot held for two weeks by his wife. Faith Hill ‘s double platinum Cry dips to No. 3. Elvis Presley ‘s durable ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits climbs one spot to No. 4. Falling two positions each are the Dixie Chicks’ Home (to No. 5) and Keith’s Unleashed (to No. 6). Rascal Flatts’ Melt remains at No. 7, and Alan Jackson ‘s Let It Be Christmas falls two notches to No. 8. Chesney’s No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems falls one slot to No. 9, and Jackson’s Drive is on cruise control at No. 10.

Jackson scores the highest debut on Billboard‘s Top Country Singles & Tracks with the title track from his Let It Be Christmas entering the chart at No. 53. “She’s My Kind of Rain,” a track from Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors, arrives at No. 55.

With major record labels releasing albums to capitalize on the holiday buying season, McGraw will be the last country superstar to chart a new album in 2002. However, two titles re-enter the country albums chart this week — LeAnn RimesI Need You (at No. 66) and John Anderson ‘s recent Anthology (at No. 73).

Calvin Gilbert has served as CMT.com’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.