Chart Beat Thursday: "Glee" Cast, Colbie Caillat, Sade
Glee Matthias Clamer/FOX

'LAST'-ING IMPRESSIONS: Although it has become a modern-day holiday standard - it ranks at No. 13 on this week's Holiday Songs chart, between carols by Paul McCartney and Gene Autry - Wham!'s "Last Christmas" never charted on the Billboard Hot 100. It was released only as a promotional, not commercially-available, 7-inch single in 1984, and, thus, was ineligible to chart on the Hot 100 at the time.

The song has since become one of the most-covered holiday titles, with versions recorded by sonically-divergent acts ranging from Hilary Duff and Ashley Tisdale to Coldplay and Jimmy Eat World.

Still, the song's Billboard chart history is perhaps surprisingly sparse. Of its many covers, the only version to reach a Billboard chart was Taylor Swift's, which reached No. 28 on Country Songs in 2007-08.

This week, 25 years after its original release, Wham!'s holiday favorite finally makes it to the Hot 100, as the cast of Fox-TV's "Glee" bows with its rendition at No. 63. The song also starts on Digital Songs at No. 26.

Beyond marking a long-awaited landmark week for the composition, the song's entrance grants the "Glee" cast a tie for most charted titles on the Hot 100 this year. The ensemble's count now stands at 21, equaling the sum tallied by Lil Wayne in 2009.

As for the writer of "Last Christmas," the song's arrival marks the fifth consecutive George Michael song to reach the Hot 100 as covered by another artist.

Since Michael last charted with the No. 8-peaking "Fastlove" in 1996, here are the five remakes of his songs to appear on the Hot 100, two of which have arrived this year:

Peak, Title, Artist, Year
No. 18, "Father" (featuring a sample of "Father Figure"), LL Cool J, 1998
No. 29, "One More Try," Divine, 1999
No. 27, "Praying for Time," Carrie Underwood, 2008
No. 63, "Careless Whisper," Seether, 2009
No. 63, "Last Christmas," "Glee" cast, 2009

RE-MAKING 'MERRY': Another yuletide chestnut returns, as dueling versions of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" arrive back-to-back on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Colbie Caillat scores the survey's highest entrance, as her rendering opens at No. 23. A notch lower, although with Greatest Gainer honors, David Archuleta's styling starts. The covers appear on the "A Very Special Christmas 7" compilation and Archuleta's "Christmas From the Heart" album, respectively.

The remakes are the seventh and eighth versions of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which was first popularized by Judy Garland in 1944, to reach the Adult Contemporary chart. A look at the song's prior chart performances:

Year, Peak, Artist
1994-95, No. 26, Kenny G
2001-02, No. 4, James Taylor
2003-04, No. 25, Ruben Studdard and Tamyra Gray
2004-05, No. 32, Clay Aiken
2006-07, No. 6, Sarah McLachlan
2007-08, No. 11, Barry Manilow


VETERANS VICTORIOUS:
Format favorites celebrate new chart-toppers on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Adult R&B (the latter of which is viewable at billboard.biz), respectively.

R. Kelly earns his 11th No. 1 on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with the debut of "Untitled." With the exception of his debut album, "Born Into the '90's," which reached No. 3 in 1992, each of Kelly's studio albums have climbed to the top rung.

"Untitled" concurrently begins at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, where it becomes Kelly's 11th top five entry.

On the Adult R&B airplay chart, Whitney Houston reigns for the first time in six years, as "Million Dollar Bill" rises 2-1. The track is Houston's first No. 1 on the list since "One of Those Days" in 2003.

With her latest coronation, Houston enters a four-way tie for second-most No. 1s in the chart's history with Toni Braxton, Brian McKnight and Luther Vandross. Alicia Keys leads with eight career No. 1s.

Perhaps Houston's ascension to the summit will take away some of the sting of her not being nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award.

BACK IN OPERATION: After only one day of airplay in the chart's tracking week, Sade's "Soldier of Love" debuts at No. 49 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

The single was serviced to radio stations Tuesday (Dec. 8) and is the title cut from the group's first studio album in nine years, due Feb. 8, 2010.

The song is the act's 16th entry on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, dating to its first, the No. 14-peaking "Hang On to Your Love" in 1984. It had last appeared with "By Your Side," which reached No. 41 in November 2000.

The band, often regarded as a solo act but is led by Helen Folasade Adu, has notched seven top 10s on the survey, highlighted by the No. 1 "Paradise" in 1988. Its signature song, 1985's "Smooth Operator," reached No. 5.

(Despite his increased popularity in the wake of claiming the crown on this year's edition of "Dancing With the Stars," "Soldier of Love" is not a remake of Donny Osmond's hit. Osmond's song reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 in 1989.)

THANKFUL: Wisin & Yandel takes over the mantle for most No. 1s by a duo or group in the 23-year history of Latin Songs, as "Gracias A Ti" jumps 4-1 to become their sixth topper on the tally. The pair passes the five leaders belonging to Mana. The track is the overall record-extending 20th No. 1 on Latin Songs for featured artist Enrique Iglesias.

Wisin & Yandel first capped Latin Songs with "Llame Pa' Verte" in 2006. With "Abusadora" having reigned in August, the twosome notches its first set of consecutive No. 1s.

On Tropical Songs, "Gracias A Ti" becomes Wisin & Yandel's eighth No. 1, padding the act's lead for most chart champions among duos or groups.

CHART BEAT BITS: Adam isn't the only Lambert first introduced on a televised music reality competition making chart headlines. 2003 "Nashville Star" alumnus Miranda Lambert collects her second top 10 on Country Songs, as "White Liar" lifts 11-10. Her "Gunpowder & Lead" blasted to No. 7 last year. The latter Lambert is one of only four artists in the 18-year Nielsen SoundScan era to bow at No. 1 on Country Albums with their first three chart entries. LeAnn Rimes, Gretchen Wilson and Carrie Underwood have also made such career-opening grand entrances ...

The artist that finished fourth on this season of "American Idol," two spots below runner-up Adam Lambert, enters the Billboard 200, as Allison Iraheta arrives at No. 35 with "Just Like You." Iraheta is the first fourth-place "Idol" finalist to send a debut album onto the chart since Chris Daughtry, whose band's introductory set "Daughtry" topped the tally in 2007; it spends a 149th week on the chart this week, ranking at No. 194 ...

Christian music cornerstone Amy Grant celebrates her first top 10 in five years on Christian Songs, as "Give This Christmas Away" by Matthew West, featuring Grant, catapults 27-7. The song marks her first visit to the top tier since "God Is With Us" rose to No. 3 in January 2005 ...

Enya bows on the Billboard 200 with two versions of "The Very Best of Enya." A standard edition starts at No. 55, while a double-length release of the album opens at No. 183. The former set debuts at No. 2 on New Age Albums, on which Enya has spent a chart-best 301 weeks at No. 1 in her exceptional career ...

Taylor Swift is Billboard's 2009 artist of the year, as revealed today on billboard.com, but that's just one of hundreds of honors Billboard is ready to hand out. Check billboard.com beginning tomorrow (Dec. 11) for our in-depth chart recap not only of 2009, but of the entire past decade. From the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 to numerous specialty genre charts, we'll review the top artists, songs and albums of 2009, along with a multitude of surveys celebrating the most-played, bought and buzzed-about music of the 2000s.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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