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 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
HERE COMES THE SON
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?
(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)