The former teen pop singer is back with her first Billboard chart entry in 13 years. Plus, 'heaven'-ly and holiday hits ascend.
ROCK & ROLL 'HEAVEN': Speaking of "Too Much Heaven," a new "heaven"-ly title ascends to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 this week, as Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven" lifts 2-1.
The song is the fifth No. 1 in the chart's 54-year history with the word "heaven" in its title.
Here's the list:
"Too Much Heaven," Bee Gees, 1979
"Heaven," Bryan Adams, 1985
"Heaven Is a Place on Earth," Belinda Carlisle, 1987
"Inside Your Heaven," Carrie Underwood, 2005
"Locked Out of Heaven," Bruno Mars, 2012
The perhaps most notable recording with the word "heaven" its name never reached the Hot 100: Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," from 1971's "Led Zeppelin IV," was never released as a single and, thus, ineligible for the chart at the time. (A remake, by Far Corporation, did, however, dent the tally, stepping to No. 89 in 1986.)
It's only fitting that songs about heaven have risen higher than songs about hell. The All-American Rejects' "Gives You Hell" is the highest-charting song with "hell" in its name, having burned to a No. 4 peak in 2009. Avril Lavigne follows with last year's No. 11-peaking "What the Hell."
And, aw, heck, an honorable mention to a band whose name derives from the river that separates Earth and the Underworld, per Greek mythology: "Babe" topped the Hot 100 for two weeks in 1979, marking the sole No. 1 by ... Styx.
'RAINBOW' BRIGHT: New at No. 96, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," the signature song from "The Wizard of Oz," graces the Hot 100 for only the second time, again spurred by TV exposure.
The composition returns courtesy of Nicholas David, one of the three contestants remaining on NBC's "The Voice," which wraps its second season on Tuesday (Dec. 18). His cover starts at No. 30 on Digital Songs with 48,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Former "American Idol" finalist Katharine McPhee debuted and peaked at No. 12 with her version of the song in 2006.
While Judy Garland's original 1939-released "Rainbow" has never appeared on a Billboard chart, another well-loved take soared (like a farmhouse in a Kansas girl's dream): late Hawaiian singer Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole's ukulele-infused interpretation has led World Digital Songs for an astonishing 129 weeks dating to the chart's January 2010 launch.
ROCKIN' AROUND: Two acts bring holiday cheer to Billboard rock charts.
The Killers dash onto Rock Songs at No. 41 with "I Feel It In My Bones," featuring Ryan Pardey, while Dropkick Murphys decorate Rock Airplay at No. 49 with "The Season's Upon Us."
Holiday hits are rare on Rock rankings, with Adam Sandler's "The Chanukah Song" a noteworthy example. The song first decorated the tally the week of Jan. 6, 1996, on its way to a No. 25 peak.
FAB CHRISTMASTIME: The AC chart, meanwhile, continues to welcome holiday hits.
In addition to Jordan Hill at No. 11, and Rod Stewart at No. 1 for a third week with "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," Paul McCartney bows at No. 27 with "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)." It's McCartney's 39th solo AC entry. (The Beatles charted only seven AC hits, their sound generally too guitar-oriented for the then-beautiful music-heavy format in the '60s.)
"Chestnuts" appears on the covers set "Holidays Rule," which also includes the Shins' version of McCartney's yuletide classic "Wonderful Christmastime." The set reached No. 7 on Holiday Albums earlier this month.
"Having [McCartney] on this record is unbelievable," the set's producer, Sara Matarazzo, says. "As far as I'm concerned, I could walk on the moon and it wouldn't surpass this."