HOT COCO: If it seems like the Billboard 200 this week is bursting with debuts, it is. 39 new titles arrive, led by Colbie Caillat's sophomore set, and first No. 1, "Breakthrough." Her debut album, "Coco," peaked at No. 5 upon its entrance on Aug. 4, 2007.
While this week's sum of new entries is impressive, it has to settle for second-most debuts in a week since the chart first appeared weekly in the pages of Billboard in the issue dated March 24, 1956.
The Oct. 13, 2007, Billboard 200 sported 45 debuts, spaced out between the chart's farthest extremes. That week, Rascal Flatts arrived at the top with "Still Feels Good," while the treats extended all the way to the anchor spot, where the 101 Strings Orchestra opened with "Halloween."
(Ironically, the name of one of the groups debuting that record-setting week? All Time Low. The act also places this week at No. 99).
Of the 45 debuts on the Oct. 13, 2007, chart and the 39 this week, can you name the one artist to bow on both surveys? The answer is below.
WHERE THERE'S SMOKEY, AND GEORGE, MICHAEL: With 39 arrivals, The Billboard 200 boasts several notable nuggets of chart trivia.
Michael Jackson's "The Definitive Collection," featuring Jackson 5 smashes and his early solo works, debuts at No. 46. With "Gold" and "The Stripped Mixes" having entered in July, the new set makes 2009 the first year in which three titles by the late King of Pop have debuted. He had scored two debuts each in 1972, 1975, 1984 and 2001.
At No. 58, Smokey Robinson begins at No. 59 with "Time Flies When You're Having Fun." That's his best ranking since 1987, when, as then-Vice President of Motown Records, he peaked at No. 26 with "One Heart."
Fellow pop/R&B veteran George Benson debuts this week with "Songs and Stories" at No. 96, his second-highest placement since 1988. His last charted album, "Givin' It Up," peaked at No. 58 in 2006.
WHEN THEY'RE 83: Like George Benson, Cheap Trick also posts its second-best rank of the 18-year Nielsen SoundScan era. Just last month, the Rockford, Ill., rockers debuted at No. 78 with "The Latest," their highest-charting effort since "Busted" (No. 48) in 1990.
This week, Cheap Trick debuts at No. 83 with "Sgt. Pepper Live." On December 12th, 2007, the unabashed Beatles fans performed the set in New York as a benefit for the Michael Milken Prostate Cancer Foundation Charity Concert & Auction. All proceeds from the album's sales will benefit the prostate Cancer Foundation.
You might be familiar with the original version of the album. The Beatles topped the Billboard 200 for 15 weeks in 1967 with the Grammy Award-winning and Diamond-certified "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." The song lists for both the original and Cheap Trick's tribute are identical, except for the latter version's addition of a Beatles medley as a closing track.
The Beatles will make their own headlines next week, when, on Wednesday, EMI will release the long-awaited remastered editions of their studio albums. For more on the landmark day in Fab Four history, check out Billboard's exclusive Q&A with Paul McCartney.
Says Sir Paul about the sound of the new releases, "It's not smarter or more sophisticated - it's just more real, it's more true to the noise we were actually making. I can listen to those records and see John right there."
PERFECT 10: The Black Eyed Peas extend their record for most consecutive weeks in charge of the Billboard Hot 100, as "I Gotta Feeling" leads for a 10th straight frame. That makes it 22 weeks in-a-row at No. 1 for the group, following their 12-week reign with "Boom Boom Pow."
The quartet's record label, Interscope, extends its own mark for longest command of the Hot 100 for a label, ruling for a 23rd consecutive week. Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" preceded the Peas' run with a week at the summit on the April 11 chart.
With "I Gotta Feeling" remaining at the apex, the Black Eyed Peas become just the fourth act in the 51-year history of the Hot 100 to spend at least 10 weeks at No. 1 with multiple titles. Boyz II Men has led with three such songs: "End of the Road" (13 weeks, 1992), "I'll Make Love to You" (14 weeks, 1994) and "One Sweet Day" (a Hot 100 record 16 weeks, 1995-96). The lattermost title was a duet with Mariah Carey, who in 2005 spent 14 weeks at No. 1 with "We Belong Together." In 1999-2000, Santana led for 12 weeks with "Smooth" and for 10 frames with follow-up "Maria Maria."
A fifth act has come close to attaining the honor. Destiny's Child occupied the top floor for 11 weeks in 2000-01 with "Independent Women Part 1." Two of its members then managed double-digit dominance as solo acts. Kelly Rowland guested on Nelly's 10-week No. 1 "Dilemma" in 2002, and Beyonce spent 10 weeks on top with "Irreplaceable" in 2006-07.
PERFECT 11: Chart-watchers generally acknowledge that Nos. 2, 11 and 41 are the worst positions at which a song can peak on any chart. (I once sent a letter to then-"American Top 40" host Shadoe Stevens wondering why Kim Wilde's "You Came" peaked at No. 41 in 1988, just missing inclusion on the show. How happy was I to have received a friendly response, noting that songs sometimes simply run out of steam at the most inopportune times of their chart lives. And, the Shadoe's background backs him up; while he's perhaps best known for his acting career, if not for succeeding Casey Kasem as host of "American Top 40," he first made his name as the original program director of powerhouse KROQ-FM in Los Angeles, one of the country's first alternative rock radio stations).
But, back to the countdown. This week, Mariah Carey holds patiently at No. 11 on the Hot 100 with "Obsessed." The song has now spent four weeks directly on the doorstep of the top 10: the last three and its debut week on the July 25 chart.
The song is still bulleted, and gaining on Radio Songs/Hot 100 Airplay (up from No. 9 to No. 7 this week). But, should it fail to reach the top 10, it would join a select group of songs to log the most weeks at No. 11 without ascending higher.
Currently, here are the songs to spend at least four weeks at No. 11 on the Hot 100 and not reach the top 10:
5 weeks, "All for You," Sister Hazel (1997)
4 weeks, "Honey Chile," Martha Reeves & the Vandellas (1967)
4 weeks, "Time Has Come Today," The Chambers Brothers (1968)
4 weeks, "It's Raining Again," Supertramp featuring Roger Hodgson (1982)
4 weeks, "Gone," 'N Sync (2001)
4 weeks to date, "Obsessed," Mariah Carey (2009)
The No. 11 peak position has frustrated some of music's biggest names, including Elvis Presley (four titles), Michael Jackson ("Another Part of Me," 1988) and Madonna ("The Power of Goodbye," 1998). And, one iconic duo has turned the chart nightmare triple play. Hall & Oates peaked at No. 2 with the appropriately-titled "Say It Isn't So" in 1983, No. 11 with the even more appropriately-titled "So Close" in 1990 and No. 41 with "Don't Hold Back Your Love," the follow-up to "So Close," in 1991.
The pair can't be too upset, however: Hall & Oates has sent six songs all the way to No. 1.
CHYNNA TOWN: From 1990 through 1992, Wilson Phillips collected two top five albums on the Billboard 200 and seven top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including the top song of 1990, "Hold On."
The trio split following its dominating run, and sisters Carnie and Wendy Wilson teamed for sets in 1993 and 1997. Their holiday album "Hey Santa!" peaked at No. 116 on the Billboard 200 on Dec. 25 (naturally), 1993. The group's other member, Chynna Phillips, pursued a solo career, although her 1995 debut album "Naked and Sacred" did not chart. (It did feature an original version of "Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me," later a No. 3 hit on Country Songs for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw).
Wilson Phillips reunited in 2004, and its comeback album, "California," peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard 200. On the Adult Contemporary chart, a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way" from the album reached No. 11.
What does all that have to do with this week's charts? Chynna & Vaughan make their first appearance on Christian Songs, debuting at No. 49 with "One Reason." The newly-formed duo comprises Phillips and singer/songwriter Vaughan Penn. Its first album, "One Reason," streets Sept. 22.
According to the twosome's MySpace page, Chynna & Vaughan's album "conveys themes of redemption, forgiveness and hope with a musical canvas of organic instrumentations and harmony-rich arrangements." That last ingredient should whet the appetites of fans, as Wilson Phillips' layered vocals highlighted the group's trademark lush sound.
(The name Phillips, and another veteran trio, also appears atop the Christian Songs chart. Phillips, Craig & Dean lead for a sixth week with "Revelation Song").
CHART BEAT BITS: The soundtrack to the film remake of "Fame" debuts on the Billboard 200 at No. 90 and on Soundtrack Albums at No. 7. The original reached No. 7 on the Billboard 200 in 1980. Read yesterday's Chart Beat for more on the new set's title cut first single, which opens on Dance/Club Play Songs ...
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Prince notches his 62nd hit on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, as "Better With Time" begins at No. 81. Since he first arrived with "Soft and Wet" on the July 29, 1978 chart, only Jay-Z (90) and R. Kelly (79) have amassed more entries. On Adult R&B (viewable at billboard.biz), Prince's latest debuts at No. 27, his highest start since "Betcha By Golly Wow!" entered at No. 18 in 1996 ...
Nelly Furtado achieves her first No. 1 as a lead artist on Latin Songs, as "Manos Al Aire" steps 2-1, dethroning Shakira's "Loba" after two weeks. Furtado has perched atop the tally once before as a featured artist, on Juanes' "Fotografia," which spent five weeks at No. 1 in 2003. Furtado releases her first Spanish-language album, "Mi Plan," Sept. 15 and has been collaborating with Timbaland, who helmed her 2006 smash set "Loose," on her next English-language effort ...
Whitney Houston is expected to storm onto the Billboard 200 next week with a resounding boom at No. 1, but she prepares for that honor with a career-first this week. The title cut from "I Look to You" debuts on Gospel Songs at No. 30, marking her first appearance on the genre airplay list, which originated in 2005. She's not a newcomer to gospel music, however. The Houston-dominated soundtrack "The Preacher's Wife" spent 26 weeks at No. 1 on the Gospel Albums chart in 1996-97 ...
Answer to the trivia question above: Ingrid Michaelson's "Girls and Boys" was one of the record-setting 45 debuts on the Billboard 200 dated Oct. 13, 2007. This week, the singer/songwriter likewise contributes to the chart's second-best total (39). Michaelson bows at a career-best No. 18 with "Everybody."