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September 17, 2009

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Beatles storm back into the US charts

THE Beatles boasted some of the best-selling albums on the American pop chart yesterday after nostalgic fans scooped up the Fab Four's much-hyped reissues.

The Beatles sold 626,000 albums during the week ending September 13, according to tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan. Until last week, they had sold 635,000 copies this year, a low tally by their standards as buyers held out until the 09-09-09 release date.

Their best-seller last week was 1969's "Abbey Road," which moved 89,000 copies, making it the third-most-popular album in the United States. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band," the 1967 release that often tops lists of the greatest albums of all time, was No. 5 overall with 74,000.

But don't look for either album to appear on the benchmark Billboard 200 chart, which generally ranks only those albums released in the past 18 months - not catalog items.

On Billboard's Top Catalog Album Chart, the Beatles claimed 15 of the top 18 places with their 13 studio albums, the "Past Masters" compilation reissue and the 2000 "1" compilation. Michael Jackson was at Nos. 6, 15 and 16.

Behind "Abbey Road" and "Sgt. Pepper's" were "The Beatles" with 60,000, "Rubber Soul" with 58,000, and "Revolver" with 46,000. All were among the 10 biggest albums in the US. The least-popular Beatles reissue was "Yellow Submarine" with 14,000.

The Billboard 200 was led by Jay-Z, who sold 476,000 copies of "The Blueprint 3," his fifth No. 1 album. The only other act to reach the top more times is the Beatles with 19.

The Beatles managed to log two new entries on the Billboard 200 - the boxed sets containing all their albums. The new packages were offered in stereo and mono, stirring up an intense debate about which one was better. Consumers cast their votes for the stereo version, which sold 26,000 copies and landed at No. 15. The mono version, preferred by purists, ranked at No. 40 with 12,000 copies. Each boxed set counts as one unit.


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