Veterans day comes early

Strait, R.E.M., Morrison debut big

A pair of acts that first hit the Billboard 200 during President Reagan's first term rule the chart this week.

Country megastar George Strait crashes in at No. 1 with "Troubadour." It's his fourth chart-topper on the big tally — and his hat-spinning 22nd on the country chart. The Texas singer-guitarist has more than two dozen platinum or multiplatinum albums under his belt buckle.

"Troubadour" extends an impressive streak: Strait has placed at least one album on the Billboard 200 every year since 1984, when "Right or Wrong" peaked at No. 163. His run on the country chart goes back three more years.

Meanwhile, R.E.M. roars back with the hard-rocking "Accelerate," the band's first studio album in 31/2 years. It's the Athens, Ga., trio's eighth top 10 set and its highest-charting disc in a dozen years, matching the No. 2 peak of "New Adventures in Hi-Fi."

Two disparate acts score their first top 10 albums this week. Miami rapper Trina debuts at No. 6 with "Still Da Baddest." Each of the four discs has peaked higher than its predecessor. But the bigger surprise from many is the other newcomer to the top tier: Van Morrison. He finally cracks the top 10 after four decades of recording with "Keep It Simple."

Other debutants this week include the Rolling Stones' soundtrack to its Martin Scorsese-directed concert film "Shine a Light" (No. 11, 37,000 units) and the Black Keys' "Attack & Release" (No. 14, 29,000).

Overall album sales are up 3.5% from last week at 7.99 million units but down a steep 24.5% from same week in 2007.

Billboard contributed to this report.

1 New George Strait Troubadour 166,000

2 New R.E.M. Accelerate 115,000

3 5 Various artists Now 27 60,000

4 1 Day26 Day26 51,000

5 16 Soundtrack Alvin and the Chipmunks 51,000

6 New Trina Still Da Baddest 47,000

7 4 Danity Kane Welcome to the Dollhouse 47,000

8 3 Counting Crows Sat. Nights & Sun. Mornings 43,000

9 6 Rick Ross Trilla 41,000

10 New Van Morrison Keep It Simple 37,000