HITS Daily Double
"Ashanti continues to be very strong—even without the UMG rebate plan. It’s a bona fide hit."
—— Mike Fuller of Hastings


Ashanti Rules Again, Celine Still Strong, While Josh and Norah Grow—but the Big Bow Belongs to Sheryl.
She’s a 40-year-old songwriter who’s apparently just as comfortable in a skin-baring Stuff photo spread as she is on the front lines of the Recording Artists Coalition fight in Sacramento. But does such diverse exposure add up to record sales?

Um…seems that way. Of course, Interscope’s setup for Sheryl Crow and the single, "Soak Up the Sun," may have a bit to do with this week’s #2 album chart debut for C’mon, C’mon.

"Her high profile only goes so far. She needed the right single, and she got it," said Mike Fuller of Hastings. Naturally, the right single to Mike is folded into the G-string of a dancer on Route 9, but that’s another story.

Crow battled Murder Inc./IDJ’s Ashanti for the top spot right up to the final cha-ching. "Ashanti continues to be very strong—even without the UMG rebate plan. It’s a bona fide hit," said Fuller, quickly inhaling his own bona fide hit.

Rounding out this week’s Top Five are Epic’s Celine Dion, UTV’s Now Vol. 9 and Reprise’s Josh Groban, who took the momentum from a recent 20/20 appearance and rode it into the Top Five, with a 24% increase in sales.

Groban’s good fortunes this week are rivaled only by an elite few, including Blue Note’s Norah Jones (40-19), whose sales jumped a whopping 34%—and Columbia’s John Mayer, who climbed 31-22.

"The Norah Jones story is nothing less than amazing," said Fuller. "To crack the Top 20 with no radio play is a feat. Of course, the real feat will be if radio continues not to play the record." Indeed, Blue Note executives are currently planning ways to keep her off the radio long enough to go Platinum.

Other upswings this week belong to Interscope’s No Doubt (27-21) and Atlantic’s Nappy Roots (36-23). "I take Xanax for my upswings," concluded Hastings’ Fuller, resuming his daily ritual of pondering a tangerine.