By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 03, 2003 11:00 AM

More good news for Eminem: He was the top-selling recording star of 2002, according to SoundScan’s year-end music industry report.

The Detroit rapper and newly minted movie star (thanks to his fall box-office hit “8 Mile”) had the No. 1-selling CD with “The Eminem Show” selling 7.6 million copies. He also had the fifth best-seller of the year, the soundtrack to “8 Mile,” which sold 3.5 million copies.

Country album sales posted the largest increase last year as sales rose 12.2 percent from the previous year. This boost was largely fueled by such crossover sensations as Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, Alan Jackson and Faith Hill.

Total CD album sales last year were 649.5 million, a 8.7 percent drop from the 712 million sold in 2001.

Interesting note: Elvis also sold well last year, which marked the 25th anniversary of the King’s death. His “Elvis: 30 No. 1 Hits” rose to the 15th position on the year-end sales chart.

According to SoundScan, the top 10 selling albums of last year were Eminem’s “The Eminem Show” (7.6 million), Nelly’s “Nellyville” (4.9 million), Avril Lavigne’s “Let Go” (4.1 million), Dixie Chicks’ “Home” (3.7 million), the “8 Mile” soundtrack (3.5 million), Pink’s “Missundaztood” (3.1 million), Ashanti’s self-titled release (3.09 million), Alan Jackson’s “Drive” (3.05 million), Shania Twain’s “Up!” (2.9 million) and the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack (2.7 million).

Speaking of his success to the Detroit Free Press last week, Eminem, 30, said: “It’s almost to the point where I truly believe I may be getting too big for my own good. And I never really asked for that.”