Keys storms chart with mega-hit  'As I Am'


NEW YORK -- Alicia Keys storms The Billboard 200 this week with "As I Am" (J), which debuts at No. 1 after selling 742,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's the best sales week for a solo female artist since Norah Jones' "Feels Like Home" shifted 1 million copies in 2004.

In a week where every top 10 album shifted more than 100,000 units, Josh Groban's "Noel" (143/Reprise) zooms 6-2 with a 93% increase to 223,000. Celine Dion's "Taking Chances" (Columbia), her first new pop album in four years, opens at No. 3 with 214,000. The multi-label, multi-artist "Now 26" collection is new at No. 4 with 208,000, the third lowest opening tally for the "Now" line.

Garth Brooks' "The Ultimate Hits" (Pearl) slips 3-5 (-42%, 204,000), while the Eagles' "Long Road Out of Eden" (Eagles Recording Co.) drops 2-6 (-45%, 197,000). Led Zeppelin's two-disc retrospective "Mothership" (Swan Song/Atlantic) debuts at No. 7 after selling 136,000, 25% of which came digitally.

Last week's chart-topper, Jay-Z's "American Gangster" (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) plummets 1-8 with a 70% decrease to 131,000, while Carrie Underwood's "Carnival Ride" (Arista Nashville) drops 5-9 despite a small 6% decrease to 113,000. Chris Brown's "Exclusive" (Jive) falls 4-10 in its second week, thanks to a 63% decline to 110,000.

Comedian Dane Cook's "Rough Around the Edges: Live From Madison Square Garden" (Comedy Central) debuts at No. 11 with 90,000. His last set, 2005's "Retaliation," made history as the highest debuting comedy album in the history of The Billboard 200 when it bowed at No. 4. That effort started with 86,000.

At No. 12, the Killers enter the chart with the rarities collection "Sawdust" (Island), which sold 82,000. George Strait's "22 More Hits" (MCA Nashville) is new at No. 13 with 80,000, while James Taylor's debut for Starbucks' Hear Music imprint, "One Man Band," arrives at No. 16 with 63,000.

Five other albums open inside the top 40 this week, led by Boyz II Men's "Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA" (Decca) at No. 27 with 42,000. Right behind are Trisha Yearwood's "Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love" (Big Machine, No. 30, 33,000), Goo Goo Dolls' "Greatest Hits, Volume 1, The Singles" (Warner Bros., No. 33, 33,000), Seal's "System" (Warner Bros., No. 35, 30,000) and Duran Duran's "Red Carpet Massacre" (Epic, No. 36, 29,000).

Album sales are up 17.9% from last week's to 11.72 million, but down 6.2% from the same week last year.