Our latest mailbag considers more group lead singers who could hit big solo, back-to-back ballads atop the Hot 100, Hilary Duff's hit albums and more.
As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20
In light of this week's tragedy in my hometown of Boston, how lucky we are simply to discuss a pleasure like music.
Certainly everyone's first home maintains a special personal place, but evidence suggests that for New Englanders, who hail from a region known for longtime family roots, it's perhaps magnified. While working in Boston, I once interviewed for a radio job in Poughkeepsie, New York. Early on, it became apparent that the interviewer was hesitiant to continue. Not because of anything I said, however (I think). "People from New England don't leave there," he reasoned. Eventually, I did leave to join Billboard and work in, and live not far from, New York City.
You can take me out of Boston, but ...
I join in saluting the heroic work performed in the past week by the first responders at the Boston Marathon; the Boston Police Department and additional local and national authorities; and the staffs of Boston area hospitals who've attended to those wounded, many severely, in Monday's unthinkable attacks. For the depths of evil we witnessed this week, so, too, did we see the extent of human altruism, bravery and compassion.
As this is Billboard, it's fitting to note that music's power can be stronger than we often realize. "What resonates for me … is the way music can offer comfort to people in times of joy or sorrow," Neil Diamond said on Thursday before visiting Boston's Fenway Park during yesterday's Red Sox game to lead the crowd of 35,000 in a jubilant sing-along of "Sweet Caroline" (which is played at each game). "With a tragedy like this, there are no words. But, if people can find healing in music, (that's) the reason I've been doing this for the last 50 years.
"It goes beyond what I ever imagined."
The impromptu (and oh-so-loud) crowd's singing of "The Star Spangled Banner" at Wednesday night's Boston Bruins game also reinforced how music can do its part to bring people together in times when it's most needed. ("This is how every event should start. Forever!," one YouTube commenter suggests.)
Sadly, music can only go so far.
Amid the pride that Bostonians, New Englanders, and, in such heart-warming fashion, countless others worldwide, are feeling and/or expressing, may we keep the more than 170 injured and facing difficult recoveries in our thoughts.
And, none more so than those we lost, as well as their families: Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, MIT officer Sean Collier and eight-year-old Martin Richard.
Whether from Boston, or, as so many have proven to be since Monday, a neighbor a bit further away around the globe, may we always remember them.