Aerosmith's Impressive Second Life

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Steven Tyler and the rest of Aerosmith should have an extra bounce to their step when they walk on the stage Monday in New York to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Where many acts are way past their commercial prime by the time they reach the hall of fame, Aerosmith can toast the band's latest hit album, which entered the national sales chart at No. 2 on Wednesday.

In fact, the collection, "Just Push Play," came within some 40,000 copies of taking the No. 1 spot away from the Dave Matthews Band's "Everyday." The latter sold 280,000 to hold the top spot for the second straight week.

Aerosmith isn't just one of the great success stories in rock history, but also one of the great comeback stories. After a spectacular early run that included such hits as "Dream On" and "Walk This Way," the band virtually disappeared as a pop-rock force in the early '80s. It was a victim of declining sales and excessive alcohol and drug use.

But the band cleaned up its act and returned with a bang in the late-'80s, capturing a whole new generation of fans with such wry hits as "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" and "Love in an Elevator."

Retailers were impressed by Aerosmith's showing, but Wherehouse Entertainment rock buyer Craig Swedin doesn't think the group will be able to wrestle the No. 1 spot on the charts away from the Matthews band. "I think Matthews has a stranglehold on No. 1 for a while." The collection has sold a little more than 1 million copies in two weeks.

Looking ahead, Best Buy projects first-week sales of 110,000 for Eric Clapton's new "Reptile," which arrived in stores Tuesday. That should make it the highest arrival on next week's chart, but not a challenge to Matthews or Aerosmith.

The next certain blockbuster would appear to be "Now That's What I Call Music, Vol. 6," another multi-artist hits compilation due in stores April 3. The last entry in the series sold 450,000 its first week and has sold nearly 4.1 million since its release early in December.

Shaggy's "Hotshot" was a close third in sales last week with 235,000 copies sold. Rapper Eve's second album, "Scorpion," entered the chart at No. 4 by selling 162,000 copies last week. The best-selling single for the second straight week was vocal group 112's "It's Over Now."

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