TAYLOR, TWICE: Taylor Swift's "Fearless" (Big Machine) leads Top Country Albums for the seventh consecutive week. The country singer's sophomore album debuted at No. 1 the week of Nov. 29, 2008 and hasn't budged since. It's the longest uninterrupted reign since Swift remained in pole position for eight weeks in August/September 2007 with her first release.
Moving back up to No. 2 on Top Country Albums this week is that first album by Swift, giving her the top two positions on this survey. It's the first time one artist has locked down first and second place since the week of Aug. 2, 2008, when Taylor's "Beautiful Eyes" EP debuted at No. 1 and her first album fell 1-2.
Taylor's eponymous first album entered the chart the week of Nov. 11, 2006, at No. 3. It then fell to No. 8 and by its third week had slipped out of the top 10. It remained out of the top 10 for seven weeks, then jumped 12-6 the week of Jan. 13, 2007, and has never left the top 10 since. This week's posting at No. 2 is the first time the album has been in the top two since the week of Sept. 6, 2008, when it was also in the runner-up spot. To date, Taylor's first album has been No. 1 for 24 weeks.
'SATURDAY NIGHT' FEVER: I don't know what you were doing the night of Oct. 11, 1975, but I was watching the premiere of "NBC's Saturday Night," the weekly series that two years later was renamed "Saturday Night Live." Just over a year after that premiere episode, Arista released a soundtrack LP, featuring some of the show's funniest routines by the original cast, including John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner and Laraine Newman. The album entered the Billboard album chart the week of Dec. 25, 1976, eventually peaking at No. 38.
The influence of "SNL" on the Billboard charts is still being felt 32 years and two weeks after the debut of that first soundtrack album. Opening at No. 72 on the Hot 100 this week is "J**z in My Pants" (Universal Republic) by the Lonely Island. The song was first heard in a digital short starring Andy Samberg (and fellow Lonely Island comedy troupe members Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer) on Dec. 6, 2008 and is the first single from the Lonely Island's forthcoming "Incredibad" album, due in February.
UPDATING NO. 1 HITS: The songs that held the top two spots on last week's Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart debut on the main chart this week, but that's not all they have in common. Both are new takes on recent No. 1 songs.
Miranda Cosgrove, 15-year-old star of Nickelodeon's "iCarly," has the Hot Shot Debut at No. 51 with her cover of "About You Now" (Nickelodeon/Columbia), a No. 1 hit for Sugababes in the United Kingdom in September 2007.
Joining Cosgrove on the Hot 100 at No. 86 is Nashville quintet Framing Hanley, with its remake of "Lollipop" (Silent Majority/Warner Bros.), a No. 1 hit in May 2008 for Lil Wayne featuring Static Major.