THE 'DIE' IS CAST: Recording a James Bond theme is not a guarantee for chart success - just ask Tina Turner ("Goldeneye"), a-ha ("The Living Daylights") or Sheryl Crow ("Tomorrow Never Dies"). Jack White and Alicia Keys have avoided such a fate, as their duet "Another Way to Die" (what would have rhymed with "Solace"?) is the 13th official Bond theme to appear on the Hot 100 over the last 43 years, a run that started with Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger" (No. 8 in 1965).
The most successful Bond theme is Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill," the only song from a 007 film to achieve pole position. Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die" and Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better" both had three-week runs at No. 2. Aside from Bassey, the only other artists to have top 10 hits with Bond themes are Sheena Easton and Madonna.
"Another Way to Die" is the 16th chart entry for Keys and the first for White under his own name. He had three previous chart entries with the White Stripes:
"Seven Nation Army," No. 76 (2003)
"Blue Orchid," No. 43 (2005)
"Icky Thump," No. 26 (2007)
Here is a recap of the 13 official Bond themes to chart on the Hot 100, in order of peak position. Songs that didn't incorporate the title of the film are indicated:
No. 1: "A View to a Kill," Duran Duran (1985)
No. 2: "Live and Let Die," Paul McCartney (1973)
No. 2: "Nobody Does it Better," Carly Simon (1977) ["The Spy Who Loved Me"]
No. 4: "For Your Eyes Only," Sheena Easton (1981)
No. 8: "Goldfinger," Shirley Bassey (1965)
No. 8: "Die Another Day," Madonna (2002)
No. 25: "Thunderball," Tom Jones (1966)
No. 36: "All Time High," Rita Coolidge (1983) ["Octopussy"]
No. 44: "You Only Live Twice," Nancy Sinatra (1967)
No. 57: "Diamonds Are Forever," Shirley Bassey (1972)
No. 79: "If You Asked Me To," Patti LaBelle (1989) ["License to Kill"]
No. 79: "You Know My Name," Chris Cornell (2006) ["Casino Royale"]
No. 81: "Another Way to Die," Jack White and Alicia Keys (2008) ["Quantum of Solace"]
The list does not include songs from the 1967 film "Casino Royale" starring David Niven as an aging James Bond who comes out of retirement. This spoof, not part of official Bond canon, included the songs "The Look of Love" (No. 22 for Dusty Springfield) and Herb Alpert's recording of the title song (No. 27).
Official Bond themes have charted in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s but not the 1990s. Three 007 songs have charted this decade, continuing this fine tradition and allowing us to look forward to the next Bond song.
TAKING THE REINS: Taylor Swift rides in on her "White Horse" at No. 13 on the Hot 100, her sixth top 20 debut of 2008, breaking a record set by the Jonas Brothers for the most any artist has had in a calendar year. The Jonas Brothers had five top 20 debuts this summer.
Swift is now tied for second place with Mariah Carey and the Beatles for the most top 20 debuts in a career. One more new entry inside this elite tier will put her in a three-way tie for first place with Janet Jackson and Madonna.
With five more new entries this week, Swift has a total of 13 debuts in 2008. Of those 13, 11 are from her new album, "Fearless" (Big Machine), which opens at No. 1 on The Billboard 200. It is the first No. 1 album on this chart for Swift; her eponymous debut set peaked at No. 5 in January.
On Top Country Albums, "Fearless" is Swift's third chart-topper. Her first album spent 24 weeks on top between August 2007 and July of this year. Her EP "Beautiful Eyes" debuted at No. 1 the first week in August, succeeding her own first album.
TOUR DE FORCE: The original Broadway cast album of "Evita" peaked at No. 105 on The Billboard 200 in 1980. That same year, while starring in the title role, Patti LuPone would leave the Prince Edward Theatre on Saturday nights and head over to a nightclub on 11th Avenue called Les Mouches, where for 27 weeks she performed a midnight cabaret concert.
Now, 28 years later, "Patti LuPone at Les Mouches" (Ghostlight/Sh-K-Boom) debuts at No. 25 on Top Heatseekers. LuPone is eligible for this tally because she has never charted under her own name before, despite numerous chart appearances on cast albums like "Sunset Boulevard," the 2005 revival of "Sweeney Todd" and the current revival of "Gypsy."
THE 'WINTER' TAKES IT ALL: Enya spends her 283rd week at No. 1 on Top New Age Albums, thanks to the debut of "And Winter Came..." (Reprise) in pole position. This new holiday collection is the Irish singer's sixth album to top this chart. In chronological order, her half-dozen No. 1s are:
"Shepherd Moons," 29 weeks (1992)
"The Memory of Trees," 37 weeks (1996)
"Paint the Sky With Stars - The Best of Enya," 43 weeks (1998)
"A Day Without Rain," 93 weeks (2000)
"Amarantine," 80 weeks (2005)
"And Winter Came...," one week to date (2008)
Enya's 283 weeks at No. 1 represents five years and 22 weeks on top, spread out over 16 years.
On The Billboard 200, "And Winter Came..." is new at No. 8, giving Enya her fourth top 10 title. Her highest-ranked set on this chart is "A Day Without Rain," which peaked at No. 2 in October 2001. "Rain" contained the song "Only Time," which was heard frequently as a theme for TV coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
FORM A LOVE 'TRAIN': If the Rolling Stones, U2 and Aerosmith can chart on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, why not AC/DC?
The veteran act makes its first appearance on the dance list with "Rock N Roll Train" (Columbia), which travels onto the survey at No. 48. It's the first dance chart entry for AC/DC, a group that made its initial Billboard chart appearance 31 years ago.
HOT 'SINGLE': Beyonce scores the fifth No. 1 of her career away from Destiny's Child on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" (Music World/Columbia) is Beyonce's first chart-topper since "Irreplaceable" had a nine-week reign that began two years ago this week.
Beyonce's other No. 1 hits on this chart include "Crazy in Love" (three weeks in 2003), "Baby Boy" (five weeks in 2003) and "Deja Vu" (two weeks in 2006).
HAPPY HOLIDAYS: Aretha Franklin's first solo Christmas album (she was a guest on an album of holiday songs recorded with the Four Tops) debuts on The Billboard 200 at No. 103. "This Christmas" (DMI) extends Aretha's chart span to 46 years and two weeks, dating back to the debut of "The Tender, The Moving, The Swinging Aretha Franklin" in November 1962.