Listeners can’t stop loving Ray Charles. His eight Grammys for “Genius Loves Company” propelled the CD to a 202 percent sales increase in the week following the telecast.

That helped “Genius” pole-vault from No. 15 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album chart to No. 1 – to 224,430 from 74,294 last week. It’s the first No. 1 album for the late star since 1962.

The dramatic spike was barely enough to give Charles the top slot over the mighty Green Day. Their “American Idiot” sold 201,962 this past week, pushing it up a notch, to No. 3. The group snagged “Best Rock Album,” but lost in the top categories.

By percentage, the second-biggest post-Grammy windfall, after Ray, went to Kanye West. His “College Dropout” zoomed by 201 percent to 47,005, pushing the CD from No. 99 to 33. “Dropout” had lost much of its sales power in the months before the awards.

In terms of number of CDs sold, four-time winner Alicia Keys easily bested West. Her “Diary of Alicia Keys” went from 29,759 to 73,947 copies – a 148 percent increase – enough to shoot her CD from No. 47 to 11.

Other Grammy bouncers included:

• Los Lonely Boys, whose self-titled debut, which won Best Pop Performance, saw a 98 percent sales increase, pushing it from No. 51 to 22.

• John Mayer’s “Heavier Things,” Song of the Year winner, grew 85 percent, pushing his CD from 42 to 19.

• U2, who took two awards, saw their “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” explode from 34 to 20, with a 43 percent sales increase. n Norah Jones got more attention for her duet with Ray than for her own work, which explains her modest 34 percent increase for her “Feels Like Home.”

• Maroon 5 enjoyed only a 35 percent increase, despite taking the key Best New Artist trophy. That’s because the group had already been selling powerfully.

As usual, artists don’t have to bag a Grammy to have their bank accounts fattened.

Joss Stone, who lost her bid for Best New Artist, still saw a 98 percent sales surge for “Mind Body & Soul.” Her prominent appearance in the tribute to Janis Joplin bumped her CD from No. 85 to 42, and her first CD, “Soul Sessions,” had an 87 percent upswing.

Queen Latifah lost in the Traditional Pop category for “The Dana Owens Album.” But the disk increased sales by 50 percent after her hosting and singing on the telecast.

On the other side of the ledger, stars who win awards that aren’t telecast and who make no other appearance on the show can suffer.

Rod Stewart picked up the first Grammy of his career – Best Traditional Pop – but because he was off touring Australia, sales of “The Great American Songbook, Volume III” were off 8 percent.

Gretchen Wilson, one of the most nominated performers, sang on the show, but her only prize came off-camera. She suffered a sales decline of 4 percent for “Here for the Party.”

There’s worse news for the music business. The show, the lowest-rated in more than a decade, did nothing to lift the overall sales picture.

Total figures for the Top 200 dropped from 5,001,274 before the show to 4,862,493 after – which may give music an even deeper case of the blues than anything Ray Charles could conjure.


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