He's making it Biggie again

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

The Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down a decade ago this month in Los Angeles, but Biggie Smalls is living large again on the U.S. album charts as his "Greatest Hits" career survey takes over this week at No. 1, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The CD of music from the man born Christopher Wallace sold 99,000 copies to claim the top spot on the U.S. album chart and features familiar hits as well as two previously unreleased tracks: "Want That Old Thing Back" and "Running Your Mouth."

Despite the No. 1 position, the sales totals for Biggie won't do much to cheer up record industry executives; in six of the 10 weekly charts so far this year, the No. 1 bestseller failed to crack the six-digit sales-unit threshold. In addition, overall album sales are down 16% for the year, compared with 2006.

A flurry of new titles did arrive near the top of the chart this week, and they represent an array of genres. At No. 2, it's "Neon Bible," the sophomore album from the Arcade Fire, which sold 92,000 copies during its first week in stores. The acclaimed Canadian band is one of the more eagerly anticipated headliners at next month's Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio.

At No. 5, it's Montebello native Gary Herzberg, better known to country fans as Gary Allan. Allan, who toured last year with Rascal Flatts, has piled up a decade of radio hits, such as "The One," "Smoke Rings in the Dark" and "Best I Ever Had," which are collected on his "Greatest Hits," selling 70,000 copies in its first week in stores.

Relient K, the Christian punk-pop quintet that qualifies as a MySpace success story, debuts at No. 6 with "Five Score & Seven Years Ago," the group's fifth album. It sold 64,000 copies.


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