''God Bless America'' benefit CD debuts at No. 1
TOWERING TRIBUTE The hottest songwriter in the country right now? Irving Berlin. His ”God Bless America,” as performed by Celine Dion, lends its title to the compilation album that debuted atop the Billboard chart this week. ”God Bless America,” which features patriotic and comforting songs from the Sony vault (including tracks by Bob Dylan, Lee Greenwood, Mahalia Jackson, Mariah Carey, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) sold 180,975 copies, according to SoundScan, with some of the proceeds going to benefit the Twin Towers Fund. Enya‘s ”A Day Without Rain,” whose track ”Only Time” has also become a post-Sept. 11 song of solace, held at No. 2 (169,025 sold). With more than 3.1 million copies sold since its release a year ago, it’s her best-selling album.
After two weeks at No. 1, Ja Rule‘s ”Pain Is Love” slipped to No. 3 (158,000 copies). Ozzy Osbourne debuted at No. 4 with ”Down to Earth” (152,525 sold), his first studio album in six years. Remaining at No. 5 was Nickelback‘s ”Silver Side Up” (126,375 units). The rest of the top 10 were also holdovers, including ”Totally Hits 2001” (No. 6), Linkin Park‘s ”Hybrid Theory” (No. 7), Jay-Z‘s ”The Blueprint” (No. 8), Usher‘s ”8701” (No. 9), and Alicia Keys‘ ”Songs in A Minor” (No. 10). Watch for a possible shakeup next week, however, with new albums by DMX and Bush.
Sony has another patriotic benefit compilation coming out next month: a two disc set of music from last weekend’s Concert for New York, with live performances by Paul McCartney, Elton John, Billy Joel, John Mellencamp, and others. VH1, which coproduced the six hour show and aired it live, will probably reair it, while sister network CBS will whittle it down to a two-hour rebroadcast. No word on whether either the CBS airing or the CD will feature New York firefighter Mike Moran, who told the Madison Square Garden crowd and a worldwide audience that Osama bin Laden can ”kiss my royal Irish ass” and dared, ”I live in Rockaway Beach. This is my face, bitch!”