Simon Vozick-Levinson
July 08, 2009 AT 06:15 PM EDT

Michael Jackson sold more records than anyone in the country this past week, just like last week: a stunning 800,000 albums in total, including 339,000 copies of Number Ones and 187,000 copies of Thriller, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But just like last week, those two best-sellers were only counted for Billboard‘s Top Comprehensive Albums chart due to their age, leaving NOW That’s What I Call Music! 31 to top the flagship Billboard 200 albums chart with a comparatively small 169,000 units shifted. Such are Billboard‘s rules. Note that this makes two weeks in a row where catalog albums have soundly outsold the Billboard 200’s No. 1, something that had never happened before in the chart publication’s history. Count it as just one more testament to Michael Jackson’s lasting impact on pop culture.

Not that there weren’t plenty of other strong debuts to go around on the chart. Brad Paisley’s American Saturday Night made it to No. 2 with 130,000 sold. No. 3 went to Rob Thomas’ Cradlesong, with 122,000. Wilco took No. 4 with 99,000 of Wilco (the album) — a career best for the Chicago rockers, breaking the personal first-week record they set with their last album in 2007. “Birthday Sex” singer Jeremih might be marking another day for celebration on his calendar after selling 59,000 of his self-titled debut CD for a No. 6 bow. Killswitch Engage land at No. 7 with 58,000 of their own self-titled disc.

And that’s it for Top 20 debuts this week. What do you think of this week’s numbers?

More from EW’s Music Mix:
Michael Jackson memorial: Who was that singing “Heal the World”?
Michael Jackson memorial: Which performance moved you most?
Black Eyed Peas top the albums chart despite big Michael Jackson sales
New Paramore single “Ignorance”: Stream it today
Maroon 5 covers Frank Sinatra

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