Pearl Jam hits No. 1

"Backspacer" is band's first album chart topper since 1996

Veteran Seattle band Pearl Jam bows atop the Billboard 200 chart this week with its ninth studio album, "Backspacer," shifting 189,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

It's the group's fourth chart-topper and first since 1996, when "No Code" landed in the penthouse with 367,000. Pearl Jam's last studio album, its 2006 self-titled J Records effort, debuted and peaked at No. 2 with 279,000.

"Backspacer" is Pearl Jam's 30th charting album on the Billboard 200. That sum includes nine studio albums, a greatest hits package, a B-sides set and 19 live albums. Between "No Code" and "Backspacer," the band placed four other sets within the top 10.

Last week's No. 1, Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3," slips to No. 2 with 134,000 (down 55%). The set has blown through 908,000 copies in its three weeks on the chart.

Next in line is Three Days Grace's "Life Starts Now," which debuts at No. 3 with 79,000. It's the best sales week and highest charting album for the band, which previously had gone as high as No. 5 with its last set, 2006's "One - X."

Three more debuts crowd Nos. 6-8, with Brand New's "Daisy" leading the charge. It enters with 46,000 and marks the first top 20 set for the group, which hadn't previously gone any higher than No. 31.

The metal outfit Five Finger Death Punch starts at No. 7, selling 44,000 copies of its sophomore set, "War Is The Answer." The band's debut album, "The Way Of The Fist," peaked at No. 107 on the Billboard 200 over a year ago.

Harry Connick, Jr.'s "Your Songs" starts at No. 8 with 37,000. It's the jazz singer's second top 10 album, the first being 2004's "Only You," which debuted and peaked at No. 5.

As for the rest of the holdovers in the top 10, Whitney Houston's "I Look To You" falls two spots to No. 4 with 66,000 (down 58%), Miley Cyrus' "The Time Of Our Lives" (EP) stands still at No. 5 with 61,000 (down 18%), Drake's "So Far Gone" (EP) goes from No. 6 to No. 9 with 36,000 (down 51%) and Muse's "The Resistance" drops seven slots to No. 10 with just under 36,000 (down 72%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Sept. 27) totaled 5.93 million units, down 8% compared to the sum last week (6.43 million) and down 8% compared to the same sales week of 2008 (6.46 million). Year to date album sales stand at 256.5 million, down 14% compared to the same total at this point last year (297.8 million).
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