Ask Billboard: Britney's Latest Greatest Hit

Britney Spears introduced her new fragrance, 'Curious' at Macy's in New York City yesterday. The scent, from Elizabeth Arden is now available at department stores everywhere.

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at [email protected]. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

With much talk about Britney Spears' debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "3" this week, let's not miss an interesting record that may have been set.

This may be a bit tricky to confirm, but is "3" the first song originally released as new material on a greatest hits album to reach No. 1? Here, I am talking about albums containing mostly previously-released material, so I'd be hesitant to count "HIStory" by Michael Jackson (containing the 1995 Hot 100 No. 1 "You Are Not Alone"), because half that collection's tracks were new.

I recall that "Slip Slidin' Away" by Paul Simon, one of two new songs on his 1977 album "Greatest Hits, Etc." reached No. 5 on the Hot 100. I'd be interested in seeing if your readers can find any other examples of new tracks from hits sets performing better.


Patrick Kelly
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Hi Patrick,

What an interesting take on Spears' new Hot 100 leader. By their very nature, greatest hits albums in many cases do not contain any new music. So when they do, and a new song becomes a hit, it can only give consumers more reason to purchase a set containing numerous tracks they may already own.

It's also rare for a greatest hits set to yield a smash single in the sense that, generally, an act releasing such an album has collected so many hits that they may have graduated from receiving major airplay on popular, hit-driven radio formats. For an act to release a new song and send it to the Hot 100's summit illustrates that even well into a career, that artist remains extremely relevant, which is no small feat.

With such a wide scope to research - namely, only every greatest hits album that has ever been released - I sure wouldn't turn down any assistance from any willing Chart Beat readers. But, I can cite at least two songs from all-out greatest hits albums that crowned the Hot 100 prior to Spears' "3."

The first was by an artist who once duetted with Spears, not to mention shared the stage with her in one of the most famous moments ever on the MTV Video Music Awards: Madonna.

While Michael Jackson's 1995 retrospective contained one disc of hits and one of new songs, Madonna had released a clear-cut hits package more than four years earlier that contained 15 smashes and two new tracks, "The Immaculate Collection." The old- and new-material girl ushered in the set with "Justify My Love," and the hypnotic track topped the Hot 100 for two weeks in January 1991.

In November 2005, Destiny's Child topped the Billboard 200 with "#1's." The album included among its three new tracks a solo Beyonce cut, "Check On It." The song, also subsequently included in the film (but not the soundtrack to) "The Pink Panther," in which Beyonce starred, topped the Hot 100 for five weeks beginning in February 2006. (Thanks to Billboard 200 chart manager Keith Caulfield for noting this feat).

Again, readers are welcome to note any other such song, but here are five hits first made available on best-of sets that reached the Hot 100's top five, joining the Paul Simon track that you reference:

No. 3, "Runaway," Janet Jackson, 1995
No. 4, "Always," Bon Jovi, 1994
No. 4, "I Still Believe," Mariah Carey, 1999
No. 4, "Again," Lenny Kravitz, 2001
No. 5, "What Kind of Man Would I Be?," Chicago, 1990

Spears releases the standard version her second hits compilation, "The Singles Collection," Nov. 10. The album will contain 17 previously-released songs and "3."

The "Ultimate Fan Box Set" version of "The Singles Collection," out Nov. 24, will contain all her singles, including "3." Each disc will be packaged in its own slip sleeve case with original artwork, and will include an additional b-side or remix of the track. The collection will also sport a DVD featuring all of Spears' videos in chronological order and a booklet with images and trivia about each track.

Spears' first retrospective, "Greatest Hits: My Prerogative," reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200 in 2004. It has sold 1,363,000 copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.


Hi Gary,

I was wondering why R. Kelly and Celine Dion's "I'm Your Angel" wasn't listed among the No. 1 Hot 100 debuts listed in Chart Beat Wednesday. I remember that this song had the distinction of making an "invisible" jump to No. 1 when Billboard revised chart policy to allow non-commercially-available singles to chart in 1998.


Garrett Godbey
Tampa, Florida

Hi Garrett,

For a detailed explanation as to why Billboard does not consider "I'm Your Angel" a No. 1 debut on the Hot 100, I asked Billboard Director of Charts and Hot 100 chart manager Silvio Pietroluongo. Here is his response on the intricacies of the song's chart history:

"The Hot 100 implemented a drastic methodology change in the issue dated Dec. 5, 1998, allowing airplay-only tracks to chart. Before this issue, only songs available for purchase as a physical single were eligible to appear on the Hot 100.

"On the printed chart dated Dec. 5, 1998, 'last week' rankings and weeks-on-chart totals, including those for those songs that had yet to chart, reflected what they would have been had Billboard used this new methodology in prior weeks. Therefore, 'I'm Your Angel' was shown to jump from 46-1. It just so happened that the song was made available as a single in that chart's tracking week, causing it to jump from its airplay-based No. 46 position to No. 1.

"So, while the title's first week on the Hot 100 was at No. 1, the chart of record for Dec. 5, 1998, treated it as a move to No. 1, not a debut. Because of that, we are not counting it among official Hot 100 No. 1 debuts."


Dear Gary,

I have been an avid user of for many years now, but since the recent unveiling of the site's new layout, I can't seem to find the Adult Top 40 chart anymore. Has it changed, or become obsolete?

Thank you,

Mark Petty

Hi Mark,

I received your e-mail prior to the chart's return to our web site.

Based on reader feedback, we're proud to welcome the survey back to our chart menu on as of this week. The chart, formerly entitled Adult Top 40 on our site, now shows as Adult Pop Songs on

The chart houses acts such as Pink, Daughtry and Rob Thomas, acts that straddle the musical ground between the primarily rhythmic/pop sounds of mainstream top 40 and the lighter fare on adult contemporary radio. The survey reflects weekly airplay on 84 U.S. stations, as monitored by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems (BDS). The first chart measuring the format's airplay appeared in the Billboard issue dated March 16, 1996.

In many markets, adult top 40 stations use the "Mix" moniker, such as those in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Boston. In the top two U.S. media markets, respectively, the chart's reporters are New York's 95.5 WPLJ and Los Angeles' KBIG (104.3 My fm).

View the current Adult Pop Songs chart here. This week, Kings of Leon spend a sixth frame at No. 1 on the list with "Use Somebody."