Linkin Park's new album, "Minutes to Midnight", debuted at No. 1 on this week's Billboard album chart, selling 623,000 copies in its first week of release and landing the highest first-week total of 2007. The band also scored the biggest first-week sales since Jay-Z's "Kingdom Come" moved 680,000 copies last December, and was one of only six albums in the past two years to sell more than 600,000 copies in a single week. Singer Chester Bennington told Launch that while he had high hopes for the album, he didn't expect the sales to be that massive. "I know that we're all extremely proud of this record, and we hoped that it would do well and I was thinking big and I was like, 'If we sell 250,000 copies of this thing in the first week, like, I'll be super happy,'" he said. "But six hundred and twentysomething thousand in the first week is just unbelievable, especially nowadays, you know. That just doesn't happen anymore. So, you know, I can't express it enough, but we have the best fans in the world, hands down." The band's last full-length studio effort, 2003's "Meteora", also entered in the top spot with sales of 810,000 copies. The state of the music industry has changed a lot since "Meteora" came out, but guitarist Brad Delson told Launch recently that Linkin Park wasn't worried about matching its previous sales figures. "I almost think it's less pressure because sales are so much smaller than what they were," he said. "Everyone's expectations in terms of sales are a lot different than what they were, so from that perspective, it's probably less pressure. For us, the emphasis first and foremost is on making great music that's challenging and exciting to us, and hopefully to our fans." "Minutes to Midnight" also debuted at No. 1 in the U.K., Germany, France, Switzerland, Norway, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, the Philippines, Italy, Sweden, Austria, and Ireland. The disc has already been certified platinum in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Austria, Switzerland, and France, while it's been certified gold in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and the U.K." Source Text: 93XROCKS! Thanks to LPTimes!