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On the charts: Lady Antebellum leads in anticipation of a Bieber explosion

March 24, 2010 | 12:09 pm

Inara_George_2 While no release tops the six-figure sales mark in the U.S. this week, country-pop trio Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" is able to remain out front. The act leads the nation's pop chart for the fourth, non-consecutive week, racking up an additional 93,000 in sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan, bringing its total well above the 1.4 million mark.

Overall U.S. album sales are trending down about 8% from the comparable period last year, according to Billboard, and three new albums this week land in the top 20. Veteran gospel artist Marvin Sapp comes in at No. 2 with his latest, "Here I Am," a set that sold 76,000 copies. The album, reports Billboard, is the highest-charting gospel release ever in the 54-year history of the magazine's U.S. pop chart -- its surprise success fueled by the crossover hit "Never Would Have Made It." 

Next week's chart will get a major shakeup, courtesy of teeny-voiced teen sensation Justin Bieber, whose "My World 2.0" is expected to debut at No. 1. If that's the case, it will no doubt be helped by the nice price of $5.99 on iTunes, and $6.98 on Amazon. But look for a strong, albeit not top 10, showing from local electro-pop outfit the Bird and the Bee, whose "Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1 (A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates)" is getting a major push on iTunes, and carrying a $7.99 price tag on Amazon. 

Last week's "American Idol" featured selections from the Rolling Stones songbook, and SoundScan is reporting heavy increases for the band's hits collection "Hot Rocks 1964-71." Overall, sales of the album were up 79%, according to SoundScan, but some perspective. Though "Idol" hopefuls gave the Glimmer Twins' songs the grandest of karaoke stages, the Stones' hit set still failed to crack the top 200. The No. 200 album this week is Three Days Grace's "One-X," which sold a little more than 3,000 copies. 

Yet TV has powered at least one album onto the top 10. The hard rock compilation "The Edge" enters at No. 4, with sales fueled largely by an old-school direct-response TV campaign. Featuring former hits from the likes of Evanescence, 30 Seconds to Mars and Jet, the album sold 53,000 copies this week.

As Jack White is moving ahead with plans for a new Dead Weather album, his signature band the White Stripes is getting the heritage act treatment with a live set in "Under the Great Northern Lights." The album lands at No. 11, selling about 29,000 copies. 

-- Todd Martens

Photo: The Bird and the Bee's Inara George. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times