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    Alanis Holds Off R. Kelly

    You oughta know that Alanis Morissette could hold off a tough field of multiplatinum stars to hang on to the No. 1 position at the nation's music retailers, her Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie moving 268,000 units for the week ended November 15.

    But you also oughta know that Alanis won't be holding on to the top spot much longer. Garth Brooks should be ropin' in that coveted slot come next week, thanks to the huge marketing push his Double Live--released Tuesday--is getting.

    Wal-Mart alone tried to sell a million copies the first day out, featuring the hatted one in a special concert exclusive to the chain. (The company refused to say whether Brooks hit the million mark, but a Wal-Mart rep did say, "It was the largest single-day music sales in the history of our company.") Tonight, NBC beams out three separate Brooks' live performances--one for the Eastern/Central time zones, one for Mountain and one for Pacific.

    When all the beans are counted next week, Brooks may beat the first-week sales record currently held by Pearl Jam's Vs., which sold 950,000 copies. (Note: Because it's a double album, Double Live's sales are multiplied by two.)

    And while Brooks got the lion's share of publicity on the so-called Super Tuesday, he won't be the only one vying for top chart honors next week. Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Jewel, Offspring, Seal and the star-studded Prince of Egypt soundtracks were also released yesterday and should be featured prominently in the Billboard poll.

    In any case, Alanis still reigns for this week: Even though her sales were down from her impressive debut last week of 469,000, it was still enough beat the surprising showing by soulster R. Kelly. Still riding a popularity wave from his Space Jam smash "(I Believe) I Can Fly," his new album R. came close to a No. 1 debut, with sales of 216,000.

    It is also a significant week for Kelly's relatively small record label, Jive, which is enjoying two albums in the Top 10, with the Backstreet Boys charting in the 10 spot.

    At first glance, it looks like U2 was knocked out of its No. 2 bow by Celine Dion and Jay-Z. However, Best of U2 1980-1990 with a bonus disc of rarities and B-sides sold 136,000 units, and the same greatest hits package minus the extras sold 29,000 (presumably to those fans who wanted to save a couple of bucks and take their U2 neat). So altogether, U2's new offering sold 165,000 in both configurations.

    Dion sold a relatively modest 162,000 copies of her holiday album These Are Special Times, though the Titanic soundtrack and her last studio album, Let's Talk About Love, remain on the charts.

    Another Yuletide release, Home for Christmas from singing hunks 'N Sync, sold 117,000 in its first week, giving the group the No. 6 and No. 7 position (for their eponymous debut) and reason for a little Chrtistmas spirit at their label, RCA. Also in the Top 10 this week was Shania Twain and Dru Hill at No. 8 and No. 9 respectively.

    Other debuts included 112 at No. 20, George Michael's greatest hits collection at No. 24, Bruce Springsteen's six-disc Tracks at No. 27 and Rush's live triple album at No. 35.

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