A cracklin', rosy start for pop legend


Quick! How many No. 1 albums does Neil Diamond have?

Take your time. Think way back through four-plus decades of more than three dozen gold and platinum records. The answer is likely to surprise you.

One, as of today.

The revered singer-songwriter scores the first chart-topper of his career with "Home Before Dark," his second collaboration with producer Rick Rubin following 2004's "12 Songs." His 15th top 10 album beats the No. 2 peak of 1973's "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" soundtrack.

The 146,000-unit start marks Diamond's best debut week since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. An appearance on "American Idol" didn't Hurt.

Seven discs bow in the top 10 for the second week in a row.(partialdiff)