TWICE AS NICE: Effective this week, Chart Beat will now offer a sneak peak at chart action with a first-look edition on Wednesdays. Tomorrow, when all of our online charts are refreshed with this week's data, Chart Beat will appear as always in its regular Thursday form, spotlighting achievements from among our entire menu of charts.
RUCKER UP: Darius Rucker steps 2-1 on Hot Country Songs with "It Won't Be Like This for Long," becoming the first male artist to notch No. 1s with his first two format singles since Clay Walker 15 years ago. "Don't Think I Don't Think About It," the first single from Rucker's debut country album, "Learn to Live," led for two weeks in October.
Rucker is just the third male artist to start with a pair of No. 1s on Hot Country Songs in the last 20 years, joining Walker and Clint Black.
Among all acts, here is a rundown of the artists to open with two No. 1s on the tally since 1989:
Darius Rucker, "Don't Think I Don't Think About It," "It Won't Be Like This for Long," 2008-09
Jamie O'Neal, "There Is No Arizona," "When I Think About Angels," 2001
Deana Carter, "Strawberry Wine," "We Danced Anyway," 1996-97
Clay Walker, "What's It to You," "Live Until I Die" 1993-94
Faith Hill, "Wild One," "Piece of My Heart," 1994
Wynonna, "She Is His Only Need," "I Saw the Light," 1992
Brooks & Dunn, "Brand New Man," "My Next Broken Heart," 1991
Clint Black, "Better Man," "Killin' Time," 1989
Of the eight acts above, Rucker and Wynonna, of course, stand out as already established artists when they launched solo careers. From 1983 through 1991, Wynonna celebrated 14 No. titles on Hot Country Songs as half of the Judds. Rucker has sold 14 million albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan, with Hootie & the Blowfish.
VOICE IS CARRIE: Premiered last week on "American Idol," Carrie Underwood's new contestant farewell track "Home Sweet Home" debuts on Hot Country Songs at No. 52. The song is a cover of Motley Crue's signature 1985 power ballad.
Look for Underwood to soar onto the Billboard Hot 100 tomorrow, thanks to lofty first-week digital sales. Proceeds will benefit the animal rights group Humane Society of the United States.
"Home" is not Underwood's first cover of a pop/rock title to chart on Hot Country Songs. Her version of the Pretenders' "I'll Stand by You," featured in the first "Idol Gives Back" special, rose to No. 41 in 2007. It peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100. Last year, she revived George Michael's "Praying for Time," which debuted and peaked at No. 27 on the Hot 100.
VOICE IS CAREY: Mariah Carey extends her lead as the female artist with the most charted titles in the 16-year history of the Rhythmic airplay chart, as The-Dream's "My Love," on which she guests, opens at No. 37. The song is Carey's 34th entry. Janet Jackson ranks second among women with 28 chart hits.
Look for The-Dream's second album, "Love Vs. Money," to storm the upper reaches of the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, both of which will be updated tomorrow on billboard.com.
'BROTHER'-LY LOVE: The band with the most Modern Rock chart titles in the '90s and '00s takes over the chart's summit.
Pearl Jam earns its fourth No. 1 with "Brother," the band's 33rd entry dating to its 1992 arrival. "Daughter" (1994) and "Who You Are" (1996) led for a week apiece, and "World Wide Suicide" began a three-week reign in April 2006.
With last week’s leader, Incubus' "Love Hurts," ranking at No. 2, the Epic record label claims back-to-back No. 1s and the top two spots for the first time dating to the Modern Rock chart's 1988 launch.
COMPLETE BEAT: Check back tomorrow for this week's full Chart Beat encompassing all of our charts. We'll compare sales of Kelly Clarkson's new album with those of her last release; songs made famous by Rihanna and Britney Spears undergo radical rock makeovers; and a legend makes his first visit to Top Contemporary Jazz Albums.