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Cash lives in the No. 1 spot with ‘American V’

Times Staff Writer

NOT quite three years after his death, Johnny Cash has landed his first No. 1 album since 1969’s “Johnny Cash at San Quentin” with the latest in his Grammy-winning series of recordings with producer Rick Rubin, “American V: A Hundred Highways.”

The collection, which the Man in Black was working on until shortly before he died Sept. 12, 2003, includes the last song he ever wrote, “Like the 309.” It sold 88,000 copies during its first week in stores. That’s the lowest figure for an album premiering at No. 1 since Nielsen SoundScan began monitoring sales in 1991.

Rubin, who also produced the latest Red Hot Chili Peppers album, the Beastie Boys and Tom Petty’s forthcoming solo album, has called “American V” his favorite of the stripped-down albums he and Cash made together. At least one more album will follow “American V,” Rubin says.

The Cash album also tops the country sales chart, bumping the Dixie Chicks’ “Taking the Long Way” to No. 2. On the overall chart, Cash’s album is followed by Nelly Furtado’s “Loose,” which moved up one slot on sales of 81,000 copies. Last week’s chart topper, India.Arie’s “Testimony Vol. 1, Life & Relationship,” drops to No. 3 after selling 69,000 copies in its second week of release.

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Gnarls Barkley, the R&B; duo that plays July 20 at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa and July 23 and 24 at Avalon Hollywood, moved up to No. 5, its highest position yet, with its debut album, “St. Elsewhere,” which sold 56,000 copies.

The only album to debut in the Top 100 during a very slow July 4 holiday sales week was the soundtrack for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” which sold 30,000 copies and enters the chart at No. 24.

Poised to debut on next week’s chart among Tuesday’s releases are Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s first solo album, “The Eraser,” the debut album from Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” collaborator Rhymefest (“Blue Collar”) and Marc Anthony’s “The Hits” compilation.


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