Ask Billboard: Robin Thicke Makes Chart History

Robin Thicke
Steven Taylor

Our mailbag is back, with readers discussing Robin Thicke's unprecedented family feat, the bevy of current dance covers, Jennifer Lopez's career sales and more

As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. 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

HERE COMES THE SON

Hi Gary,

With "Blurred Lines" ascending into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 this past week, Robin Thicke joins the list of artists who have followed their parents to the top 10 of the chart. Robin's mother, Gloria Loring, hit No. 2 in 1986 with "Friends and Lovers" (with Carl Anderson).

While I can think of examples of daughters who have followed their mothers or fathers, or sons who have followed their fathers, I can't seem to think of any other mothers and sons who have each scored top 10 hits.

(We'll exclude Shirley Jones and David Cassidy, who charted together as the Partridge Family ...)

Are there other such top 10-achieving mother-and-son combos?

Thanks,

John Farrell
Toronto, Ontario


Hi John,

(First off, I'm guessing you're not the same John Farrell who's manager of the Boston Red Sox, and who previously managed in Toronto. Unless your email above is what I saw him scribbling in the dugout during last night's game on ESPN …)

Anyway, after researching every woman who's ever had at least one Hot 100 top 10, no other mother-and-son have both tallied top 10s as solo artists apart from groups. Thicke's 11-6 ascent on the Hot 100, then, marks an historic first in the chart's nearly 55-year history.



And, let's not leave out the R&B singer's father, an accomplished musician, as well: Alan Thicke. The longtime TV personality, best known to many as Jason Seaver on ABC's "Growing Pains" (1985-92), wrote, among others, the themes to the sitcoms "Diff'rent Strokes" and "The Facts of Life."

Regarding the Partridge Family mention, however, Chart Beat reader Blair Buchta of Winnipeg notes that Shirley Jones scored three top 10s under the billing "The Partridge Family Starring Shirley Jones and David Cassidy" in 1970-71. While David Cassidy is her stepson, Shaun Cassidy is her birth son and he also notched three top 10s in 1977-78. Each even reached No. 1: Jones with the TV family's "I Think I Love You" and Shaun Cassidy with "Da Doo Ron Ron." Still, Loring and Thicke mark the first mother-and-son to climb to the Hot 100's top tier each as solo artists apart from groups on their respective top 10s.

As you note, John, several other parents-and-children have hit the Hot 100's top 10. Among them:

In addition to John Lennon's 34 top 10s with the Beatles, he tallied seven as a soloist. His son Julian added two of his own: "Valotte" (No. 9) and "Too Late for Goodbye" (No. 5) in 1985.

Frank Sinatra notched three top 10s (with his career predating the Hot 100) and daughter Nancy outpaced him with four. One, of course, was shared: their four-week 1967 No. 1 "Somethin' Stupid."

Pat Boone posted two Hot 100 top 10s in 1961-62, while daughter Debby soared in with the 10-week topper "You Light Up My Life" in 1977.

Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool" is historic as the first Hot 100 No. 1 (of 1,026 total) on Aug. 4, 1958. He amassed 14 top 10s. His sons Matthew and Gunnar, as Nelson, arrived with two in 1990-91: "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection" (No. 1, one week) and "After the Rain" (No. 6).

And, Billy Ray Cyrus boot-scooted to No. 4 in 1992 with "Achy Breaky Heart." Later that year, his daughter Destiny Hope was born. Better known as Miley (or Hannah Montana), she's managed six top 10s. She could be headed for another this week, as her new "We Can't Stop" is set to make a lofty entrance.

Among mothers-and-daughters, and including group accomplishments, Michelle Phillips earned six top 10s as a member of the Mamas & the Papas, including the three-week 1966 No. 1 "Monday, Monday." In 1990-91, her daughter Chynna reached the top 10 four times as part of Wilson Phillips, who celebrated three No. 1s: "Hold On," "Release Me" and "You're in Love."

Two honorable mentions regarding musical mothers and sons: Cher has collected 12 Hot 100 top 10s, as well as five as half of Sonny & Cher. While her son Elijah Blue Allman has never reached the chart, as a member of Deadsy he peaked at No. 8 on Internet Albums in 2006 with the band's set "Phantasmagore."



And, Carly Simon has logged five Hot 100 top 10s, including the three-week 1973 No. 1 "You're So Vain." Her son (with James Taylor) Ben Taylor has graced the top 10 of various Regional Heatseekers Albums charts.

Notably, Ben Taylor's recent single "Oh Brother" (above) is fittingly a bit of a family affair, featuring the line, "You can always call out my name," which references his dad's classic "You've Got a Friend." The song also includes the lyric, "We just get some of that old-time JT right here now, baby!"

("Ask Billboard" continues on pages 2-5)


The Best of Billboard Video:

See All Billboard Video



As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. 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

DOUBLING THEIR 'LUCK(Y)'

Hi Gary,

This week's top 10 in Iceland features two versions of the same song: "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk, and a cover by the group Ylja.

I'm wondering if an original and a cover of a song have ever charted at the same time on the Hot 100 in the U.S.?
 
Thanks,

Brendan O'Neill
@oneillb1


Hi Brendan,

Thanks for the spotlight on a country that most readers likely don't often think about unless listening to Bjork or Of Monsters and Men. While the two versions of "Get Lucky" are interesting, so too, is the current No. 1 song in the country: Danish singer Emmelie De Forest's "Only Teardrops," the newly crowned champion of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest:



Per your question, in the early days of the Hot 100, such examples were commonplace, with, as at least one reason for the practice, artists looking to show their skills by offering their takes on popular songs. The week of Sept. 6, 1958, for instance, Dean Martin's "Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu)" rose to its No. 15 peak. Simultaneously, the McGuire Sisters logged a week at No. 80 with their version.

In a more atypical example, the 1990 movie "Ghost" includes the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody," which, aided by the hit film, returned to the Hot 100, reaching No. 13. The original had peaked at No. 4 in 1965. With the original available only on vinyl in 1990, the song returned to the chart based primarily on airplay. Seeking to capitalize on its revival, the duo recorded a new version of "Melody." Released as a cassette single, the cover peaked at No. 19, almost exclusively due to sales. So, essentially, radio in 1990 played the original version of the favorite, as heard in "Ghost," but consumers purchased the only widely-available version, the cover, on cassette (to play on our boom boxes, which we did at the time, because it was 1990).

The digital era has also spurred covers, with studio acts looking to sell similar-sounding remakes of current hits to "unsuspecting" consumers, as Billboard director of charts Silvio Pietroluongo has noted. On the current Dance/Electronic Songs chart, Girl Power debuts at No. 33 on the latest list with "I Love It (I Don't Care)." It's the fourth cover version of Icona Pop's former No. 1 (now at No. 2) to hit the chart, following renditions by Melissa Adams (which hit a No. 30 peak), Hit Mix (No. 41) and Stephanie Treo (No. 23).

And, recently, the act that holds the record for the most Hot 100 entries (206) has often charted covers alongside originals: the "Glee" cast. The week of Nov. 27, 2010, for example, when the act's "Teenage Dream" debuted at No. 8, Katy Perry's original ranked at No. 13 after spending two weeks at No. 1.

Speaking of "Glee," I was lucky enough to attend a brief performance that Matthew Morrison – aka, Will Schuester – staged at the Friars Club in New York on Thursday night. "I play a high school teacher … I don't really hang around high schools in real-life," he clarified to the crowd.

In a fun surprise for "Glee" fans, Brad Ellis accompanied Morrison on piano. Viewers would recognize Ellis (who was so affable in our brief conversation) as Brad the piano player on "Glee," who always magically materializes for song performances.

And, there was one other special – make that legendary – guest in attendance:



Pretty Miraculous!

Also check out Morrison's interview recently taped at Billboard's studios, in which he discusses his new album, "Where It All Began."


As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. 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

J.LO's SALES

Hi Gary,

@gthot20,

@JLo's U.S. album and digital song sales need an update, kind sir!

Zachary Theriault
@zachriaul


Hi Zachary,

With Jennifer Lopez rumored to be in the mix to return as an "American Idol" judge, and her currently rising to No. 26 on Pop Songs with "Live It Up," featuring Pitbull, let's rank her top-selling albums in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan:

3.8 million, "J.Lo" (2001)
2.8 million, "On the 6" (1999)
2.6 million, "This Is Me…Then" (2003)
1.5 million, "J to the L-O! The Remixes" (2002)
744,000, "Rebirth" (2005)
342,000, "Love" (2011)
213,000, "Como Ama Una Mujer" (2007)
168,000, "Brave" (2007)

Lopez's career U.S. album sales stand at 12.4 million.

As for her song sales? "Live It Up" has sold 190,000 downloads, while 2011's "On the Floor," also featuring Pitbull, is her best-selling digital song, having sold 3.8 million.

Here are her five best-selling downloads (keeping in mind that several of her hits were released before the digital era):



3.8 million, "On the Floor" (featuring Pitbull)
1.2 million, "Dance Again" (featuring Pitbull)
692,000, "Get Right"
601,000, "I'm Into You" (featuring Lil Wayne)
538,000, "Do It Well"


As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. 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

GEORGIA ON HIS MIND

Hi Gary,
 
As the duo Florida Georgia Line ranks in the Hot 100's top 10 with "Cruise," featuring Nelly, it marks the first time that an act with Georgia in its name has done so since the Georgia Satellites hit No. 2 in 1987 with "Keep Your Hands to Yourself."

Best,

Larry Cohen
Trumbull, Connecticut
 

Thanks Larry,

The two acts are, in fact, the only artists with Georgia in their names to reach the top 10. The only other act with Georgia in its name to grace the chart at all? Georgia Gibbs, whose "The Hula Hoop Song" twirled to No. 32 in 1958.

With Florida Georgia Line's follow-up "Get Your Shine On" having risen to No. 27, the pair is also the only Georgia-referencing act with multiple top 40 hits.



As for Florida-monikered acts? Only one other has appeared on the Hot 100: Sunshine State rapper Flo Rida, who's notched 22 entries, including nine top 10s and three No. 1s – "Low," featuring T-Pain (10 weeks, 2008), "Right Round" (five, 2009) and "Whistle" (two, 2012) – since his 2007 arrival.

And, since Florida Georgia Line has enlisted Nelly on its breakthrough hit, perhaps the duo would be open to working with Flo Rida. If it also brought in the act that you mention, Larry, chart geeks could have fun with the … line … showing the artist credit:

Florida Georgia Line featuring Flo Rida and Georgia Satellites.



As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. 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

PERSONAL CHARTS

Hi Gary,

Every now and again, you feature personal charts in your "Ask Billboard" column. Here is the upper half of this Bostonian's Top 30 (last week's position in parentheses):

15 (17), "Glowing," Nikki Williams
14 (19), "Get Lucky," Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams
13 (11), "Gone, Gone, Gone," Phillip Phillips
12 (14), "Love Somebody," Maroon5
11 (7), "Can't Hold Us," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton
10 (13), "#Beautiful," Mariah Carey feat. Miguel
9 (5), "Heart Attack," Demi Lovato
8 (9), "People Like Us," Kelly Clarkson
7 (8), "I Need Your Love," Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding
6 (6), "Lego House," Ed Sheeran
5 (10), "Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell
4 (2), "Mirrors," Justin Timberlake
3 (4), "Clarity," Zedd feat. Foxes
2 (3), "Beam Me Up," Cazzette
1 (1), "I Love It," Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX

Best,

Brian Brostek
Boston, Mass.


Hi Gary,
 
I have been compiling my own Top 100 singles since January 1981 when I was just seven years old! Thirty-two years later, it's something I always look forward to making every Friday evening.

This week, as the wonderful Agnetha Fältskog releases her album "A" worldwide, she reaches No. 1 on my chart. The last time she was at the pole position was the week ending April 9, 1982, when the fourth and last ABBA song to hit the top, "When All Is Said and Done," was spending its 10h week at the summit. Fortunately, nothing was said and done, as she hits the top more than 31 years later with a fabulous song.
 
This is my Top 20 for the week:
 
LW TW
22 20, Darius Rucker, "Wagon Wheel"
24 19, Bastille, "Pompeii"
21 18, Cascada, "Glorious"
13 17, Pitbull featuring Christina Aguilera, "Feel This Moment"
16 16, Phillip Phillips, "Gone, Gone, Gone"
17 15, Belinda Carlisle, "Sun"
14 14, Josh Turner, "Find Me a Baby"
10 13, Mariah Carey, "Almost Home"
12 12, New Kids on the Block, "We Own Tonight"
9  11, Nelly, "Hey Porsche"
15 10, Lara Fabian, "Deux Ils, Deux Elles"
11 9, Justin Timberlake, "Mirrors"
8  8, Taylor Swift, "22"
7  7, Paramore, "Still Into You"
5  6, Bruno Mars, "When I Was Your Man"
6  5, Michael Buble, "It's a Beautiful Day"
4  4, Emeli Sande, "Clown"
3  3, Hot Chelle Rae, "Hung Up"
1  2, Demi Lovato, "Heart Attack"



2  1, Agnetha Fältskog, "When You Really Loved Someone"
 
Fun note: Agnetha is trailing by 40 chart-toppers the woman with the most No. 1s ever on my chart: Celine Dion.
 
Take care,
 
Luis Manuel Acosta
Barcelona, Spain



Hi Gary,

Please remember I live in Australia, so you'll find a lot of local talent, both mainstream (Bernard Fanning of Powderfinger; Divinyls, in memory of Chrissie Amphlett; and Danny Ross) and alternative (San Cisco is an amazing Perth band; Wally de Backer, aka, Australia's own Gotye, got me onto the Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble, a German experimental electronica-jazz group; and New Gods are an Aussie indie supergroup).

Anyway, these are my slightly eclectic top 20 tracks this week. Enjoy!

1, "Battleships," Bernard Fanning
2, "Fighter ," Steve Martin & Edie Brickell
3, "Where the Wind Blows," Coco O. (from "The Great Gatsby" soundtrack)
4, "Love Is Blindness," Jack White (from "The Great Gatsby" soundtrack)
5, "Fire Me Up," Katy Steele
6, "Soft Touch / Raw Nerve," Depeche Mode
7, "Human on the Inside," Divinyls
8, "Illusory Light," Sarah Blasko
9, "Love Is Lost," David Bowie
10, "Awkward ," San Cisco
11, "Follow Me," Muse
12, "Let the Day Begin," Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
13, "When the Levee Breaks" ("The Voice" performance), Danny Ross
14, "Someone Else," StormChasers
15, "Luck Now," Big Scary
16, "On Your Side," New Gods
17, "Side of the Road," Big Black Delta
18, "Pistol," Mia Dyson
19, "Plastic Like Your Mother," the Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble feat. Om'mas Keith
20, "Money (Gimme, Gimme)," the Basics


Stephen Scott



Thanks Brian, Luis and Stephen!

I also made my countdown on Friday nights growing up (starting at 15; my brother, Michael, would indulge me by being forced to hear it, from No. 20 to No. 1, immediately upon its completion). Like most chart-watchers, it hit me that, as fun as it was to follow Billboard charts, how even better it would be to have a chart where A) I liked all the songs without exception and B) I could control the peak positions of every title. Twenty-four years later, the idea was apparently a good one, while the Internet age has shown that I wasn't alone.

Please keep emails like this coming and we'll feature more in upcoming "Ask Billboard" mailbags! In the meantime, let's fire up the old "GT Hot 20" and count down this week's top five:

5, "Sun," Belinda Carlisle
4, "Sad Angel," Fleetwood Mac
3, "#Beautiful," Mariah Carey featuring Miguel
2, "Strange Bird," Shaylee Simeone (a rising folk/pop artist worth checking out …)

And (drumroll, please …) scoring his fourth No. 1, following "Reason to Believe" (1993), "Ooh La La" (1998) and "I Can't Deny It" (2001) … Rod Stewart returns to the top with the buoyant, melodic "She Makes Me Happy."



Having reached No. 12 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, the track is Stewart's highest-peaking original, non-holiday single on the tally since 1999, when "Faith of the Heart" rose to No. 3.