At the risk of spoiling the surprise before you open your holiday packages, it’s safe to say that a lot of people will be receiving CDs by Shania Twain , the Dixie Chicks and Tim McGraw . The conclusion is easily drawn from the substantial sales spikes for all three acts during the days leading up to Christmas.
Meanwhile, George Strait is wearing an especially big grin after claiming the latest chart-topping single of his 21-year recording career. Strait’s “She’ll Leave You With a Smile” hits No. 1 this week on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks.
Sales increases for the superstars placed three country acts in the four uppermost positions on the Billboard 200, a chart that tracks sales of all genres of music. For the fourth consecutive week, Twain’s Up! stands at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Twain logged an 18 percent increase over the previous week. The Dixie Chicks’ Home jumps from No. 9 to No. 2 after logging a whopping 105 percent sales increase following the Dec. 10 debut of their NBC-TV concert special. Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors chalked up an 11 percent sales increase to land at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. The No. 3 spot was taken by the chart debut of the new album by the late R&B singer Aaliyah.
Twain, the Chicks and McGraw, respectively, hold the top three slots of Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. Elvis Presley ’s ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits logs in at No. 4, followed by Faith Hill ’s Cry at No. 5 and Toby Keith ’s Unleashed at No. 6. Alan Jackson ’s Let It Be Christmas is at No. 7 and Rascal Flatts ’ Melt remains at No. 8. Kenny Chesney ’s No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems weighs in at No. 9 and Jackson’s triple-platinum Drive is at No. 10 following 48 weeks on the chart.
On the country singles chart, Strait occupies the top spot previously held by Keith’s “Who’s Your Daddy?” — which dips to No. 2. Holding steady at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, are Rascal Flatts’ “These Days” and Mark Wills “19 Somethin’.” Emerson Drive’s “Fall Into Me” jumps three slots to No. 5 and McGraw’s “Red Ragtop” dips one position to No. 6. Chesney’s “A Lot of Things Different” climbs two positions to No. 7 while Keith Urban ’s “Somebody Like You” falls to No. 8 from No. 6. Terri Clark ’s “I Just Wanna Be Mad” climbs one slot to No. 9 and Blake Shelton moves up one notch to No. 10 with “The Baby.”
Two cuts from Brooks & Dunn ’s new holiday album make their debut — “It Won’t Be Christmas Without You” at No. 56 and “Hangin’ Round the Mistletoe” at No. 58. Another duo — Montgomery Gentry — fill up the space by debuting at No. 57 with “Speed.”
No new country albums made their chart debut this week.