Born is the king: 'Noel'

Groban disc sets a record, tops '07

Josh Groban must have been really, really nice this year.

The singer's "Noel" logs a fourth week atop the Billboard 200, passing "Elvis' Christmas Album" for the most consecutive weeks at No. 1 for a holiday disc. The King's 1957 set became the first seasonal title to reach No. 1 and is the only other one to lead the list for four weeks, but it ceded the crown for a week during that run.

Groban's 669,000-unit haul is the second-biggest for a Christmas set in the 16-year SoundScan era, behind only Kenny G's "Miracles: The Holiday Album," which gifted 819,000 in 1994. "Noel" also becomes the first album since No Doubt's "Tragic Kingdom" in December 1996 to rule the chart for four straight weeks with gains in each of those weeks.

And that's not all: "Noel" this week also becomes the top-selling album of 2007 at 2.77 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But whether it will end the year on top remains in doubt.

"High School Musical 2" sits at 2.7 million, and as Christmas Day gets closer, sales of holiday albums tend to drop off. Groban will do his best to buck the trend with a slew of TV appearances this week, but the arrival of "HSM2" on DVD last week should continue to boost that record's tally.

Meanwhile, none of last week's new releases was able to crack the top 10. Bow Wow and Omarion's collaborations album "Face Off" arrives at No. 11, while Wu-Tang Clan's reunion disc "8 Diagrams" bows at No. 25.

Total album sales amounted to 18 million units, a 24.4% leap over last week's count but down a bruising 23.1% from the comparable 2006 frame.

Billboard's Geoff Mayfield and Keith Caulfield contributed to this report.



1 1 Josh Groban Noel 669,000

2 2 Alicia Keys As I Am 292,000

3 3 Eagles Long Road Out of Eden 241,000

4 4 Various artists Now 26 192,000

5 11 Mann. Steamroller Christmas Song 180,000

6 6 Various artists High School Musical 2 178,000

7 5 Miley Cyrus Hannah Montana 2 178,000

8 9 Taylor Swift Taylor Swift 139,000

9 7 Carrie Underwood Carnival Ride 138,000

10 8 Garth Brooks The Ultimate Hits 119,000
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