TobyMac scores rare No. 1 Christian album on Billboard chart

LOS ANGELES Thu Sep 6, 2012 2:34am IST

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Christian singer TobyMac's "Eye on It" landed the top spot on the Billboard 200 Wednesday -- only the third time ever that a Christian album hit No.1 on the main U.S. album chart.

"Eye on It" was also the first Christian disc since 1997 to notch the top spot on the Billboard 200 after selling 69,000 copies in its first week, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.

TobyMac, 47, who was one of the first Christian rappers, also debuted at No.1 on the Christian Albums chart.

Sales for "Eye On It", his fifth studio album, were powered by Christian retailers and bookstores, Nielsen SoundScan said.

TobyMac's success puts him in the company of country star LeAnn Rimes, whose inspirational record "You Light Up My Life", lit up the Billboard chart in 1997, and Bob Carlisle, who notched two weeks at No.1 in the same year with "Butterfly Kisses (Shades of Grace)".

Elsewhere the Billboard 200 was dominated by the usual mix of hip-hop, rock and pop music.

Hip-hop group Slaughterhouse debuted at No.2 with "Welcome to Our House" pushing rapper Trey Songz' "Chapter V" down to third place and the "Now 43" hits compilation to fourth place.

Canadian-born singer Alanis Morissette's new album "Havoc and Bright Lights" entered the chart in the No.5 spot with 33,000 sales.

On the digital songs chart, country-pop crossover artist Taylor Swift held on to the top spot for a third week with single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together".

U.S. album sales so far for 2012 stand at 197.4 million units, down four percent from the same point in 2011.

(Reporting By Jill Serjeant)