Charts: Kenny Chesney Muscles His Way to Top Albums

Shania Twain and Honky-Tonk Cathouse Song Catalyze Singles Action

Kenny Chesney knocked the album charts on their ears with big debut album sales numbers this week. Over on the singles side of country chart action, Shania Twain weighed in impressively, and a journeyman Texas honky- tonker finally cracked the charts with an intriguing song about a house of ill repute.

Chesney simply blew open both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts with a chart-topping and sizzling first-week sales figure of 550,000 copies (according to Nielsen SoundScan) for his new CD When the Sun Goes Down. That more than doubled the figure for the opening week of his last album, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems, and it rivaled the most recent best opening-week action by a country CD — Toby Keith’s Shock’n Y’all at 585,000 copies. (Think back, though, to Garth Brooks’ Sevens, which sold 897,000 copies in its first week in 1997.)

Keith’s Shock’n Y’all drops to No. 2 on the chart, followed by Alan Jackson’s Greatest Hits Volume II, Josh Turner’s Long Black Train and Keith’s Unleashed at No. 5. Rounding out the Top 10 are Martina McBride’s Martina, Twain’s Up!, Keith Urban’s Golden Road, Trace Adkins’ Comin’ On Strong and Chesney’s No Shoes.

Keith’s “American Soldier” finally muscles its way to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, knocking Jackson’s “Remember When” to No. 2 after two weeks at the top. Moving up are Tim McGraw’s “Watch the Wind Blow By” at No. 3, Terri Clark’s “I Wanna Do It All” at No. 4 and Brad Paisley’s “Little Moments” at No. 5. Chesney’s “There Goes My Life” drops to No. 6.

Advancing in the Top 10 are McBride’s “In My Daughter’s Eyes” (No. 7), Adkins’ “Hot Mama” (No. 8) and Jimmy Wayne’s “I Love You This Much” (No. 9).

The two prime debut singles of the week belong to a longtime superstar and a Texas club act getting radio play and sales from regional action.

Twain’s “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing” invades the singles chart at No. 50. The little sensation of the week, though, is a honky-tonk number out of Texas that climbs onto the national airplay charts. “House of Negotiable Affections” by Zona Jones hits the chart at No. 53.

Jones is a hard-working honky-tonk singer from Beaumont, Texas, a center of hard-core roadhouse music and home of Jones’ friends and accomplices Tracy Byrd and Mark Chesnutt — and long-ago launching pad of honky-tonk pioneer George Jones. Jones has been working the circuit hard for years and recorded his own CD Harleys & Horses himself. Prominent and award-wining Nashville songwriters Kim Williams and Bobby Braddock wrote his “House of Negotiable Affections.” The song concerns a 19th-century “cathouse” — as whorehouses used to be known in Texas — and it’s become a huge favorite in the Lone Star State.

Other new singles this week are John Arthur Martinez’ “Home Made of Stone” (debuting at No. 56), Lee Ann Womack’s “The Wrong Girl” (at No. 57) and Julie Roberts’ “Break Down Here” (bowing at No. 60).