Gary Susman
February 11, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

It was an especially sunny week on the Billboard album chart, as Grammy anticipation sent buyers back into record stores. With ”When the Sun Goes Down,” chart-topper Kenny Chesney enjoyed the strongest debut in ages, selling 550,000 copies, according to SoundScan. (That’s more than twice the first-week numbers the country singer earned from his last No. 1 debut, 2002’s ”No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem,” which is still at No. 81 on the chart after 94 weeks.) Incubus also enjoyed a strong debut, coming in second with the 332,000-selling ”A Crow Left of the Murder,” besting the 266,000 that the band’s ”Morning View” sold its first week in 2001 (it also opened at No. 2).

Last week’s No. 1, Twista’s ”Kamikaze,” was pushed to No. 3, moving another 174,000 units. Josh Groban’s Super Bowl tribute to the fallen Columbia astronauts helped his ”Closer” rocket eight spots to No. 4 and sell another 172,000 copies. The week’s third top-five debut was ”Only You” from Harry Connick Jr., who scored a career best with a No. 5 opening and first-week sales of 145,000.

OutKast’s ”Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” (No. 6), Evanescence’s ”Fallen” (No. 7), ”The Very Best of Sheryl Crow” (No. 8), and Toby Keith’s ”Shock’n Y’all” (No. 9) all lost chart ground, even though they all saw sales boosts of up to a third over the previous week. Only Ruben Studdard’s ”Soulful,” which dropped five spots to No. 10, saw a sales drop, of less than 3 percent. Look for many of these artists to climb the chart again next week after Grammy viewers have hit the stores.

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