Rather than sending get-well cards, Luther Vandross fans expressed their affection for the ailing R&B veteran by rushing to record stores last week, sending his new album to No. 1. ''Dance With My Father,'' released as Vandross recovers from a stroke that had left him comatose, debuted atop Billboard's album chart with nearly 442,000 copies sold, according to SoundScan figures released Wednesday. That beat the 362,000 units moved by the week's No. 2 album, Metallica's ''St. Anger,'' which debuted at No. 1 last week.
In a week of strong sales, the top 10 is filled with other debuts, led by Radiohead's ''Hail to the Thief,'' which sold nearly 300,000 copies, nabbing the No. 3 spot (easily beating the 230,000-copy first week of the band's last album, 2001's ''Amnesiac''). Eurythmics lead singer Annie Lennox's first solo album in eight years, ''Bare,'' landed at No. 4, with 152,000 units moved, while country singer George Strait's ''Honkytonkville'' hit No. 5 with 142,000 sold. Critically acclaimed rapper Joe Budden's self-titled debut scored No. 8 (selling 94,000), while Steely Dan's ''Everything Must Go'' grabbed No. 8 (they sold 90,000).
Last season's ''American Idol'' runner-up, Justin Guarini, failed to debut in the top 10 -- his self-titled first album skidded in at No. 20, with only 57,000 copies sold. The rest of the top 10 included the ''2 Fast 2 Furious'' soundtrack at No. 6, 50 Cent's ''Get Rich or Die Tryin'''' at No. 7, and Norah Jones' ''Come Away With Me'' at No. 10. Last week's No. 2 album, Jewel's ''0304,'' fell to No. 12, with a still-respectable 81,000 copies sold.