Weekly Chart Notes: Seth MacFarlane, Gloria Estefan, the Bangles
HE'S ... A ... CHARTING ... GUY!: "Family Guy" and "American Dad" creator Seth MacFarlane make his Billboard chart debut under his own name, as "Music Is Better Than Words" debuts at No. 2 on Traditional Jazz Albums and Heatseekers Albums.
The collection, which also begins on the Billboard 200 at No. 111, features standards from the '40s through the '60s from such legends as Rodgers and Hammerstein and includes duets with Sara Bareilles and Norah Jones.
"It's rare in this day and age to have the opportunity to create an album that celebrates the classic, sophisticated sound of rich, lush swing orchestrations," MacFarlane said upon announcing plans for the project last year.
While "Music" marks MacFarlane's first non-comedic chart foray, the "Family Guy" franchise has previously graced Billboard music rankings.
The mock-lounge-themed "Family Guy: Live in Vegas," credited to "Family Guy" with Walter Murphy and his Orchestra, bowed at No. 2 on Comedy Albums and No. 105 on the Billboard 200 the week of May 14, 2005. On the Jan. 1, 2011, Comedy Digital Songs chart, the cast's "All I Really Want for Christmas" reached No. 25.
MacFarlane's new set isn't his only creation, however, to enter a Billboard survey this week. The "American Dad" cast debuts on Comedy Digital Songs at No. 18 with "Daddy's Gone," sung by MacFarlane (as 1,601-year-old alien "Roger") and Scott Grimes (aka, "Steve Smith").
As both "Family Guy" and "American Dad" air on Fox, music has clearly become central to the television network's image. Beyond the obvious musical natures of competitions "American Idol" and "The X Factor," other Fox shows feature actors that have doubled as artists on Billboard song and album charts.
"A chart hit on Billboard has been and still remains the key barometer of an album or single's success."
ETERNAL: A trio following the 2005 departure of Michael Steele, the Bangles grace the Billboard 200 for the first time since July 21, 1990, as "Sweetheart of the Sun," their first studio album since 2003, arrives at No. 148.
Of the Bangles' four prior chart entries, they rose as high as No. 2 with "Different Light" in 1987. The set featured that year's top Hot 100 title, "Walk Like an Egyptian."
Venerable alternative singer/songwriter Matthew Sweet recorded "Sweetheart" at his home studio in Los Angeles. The honorary Bangle released two covers albums with the group's Susanna Hoffs in 2006 and 2009 after the pair had performed in the big screen band Ming Tea.
Ming Tea's frontman? Austin Powers.
"I think it's important for all of us to keep moving on and creating because that's why we got into this in the first place," says the Bangles' Debbi Peterson. (She sang the group's last Hot 100 hit to-date, "Be With You" (No. 30, 1989), the Bangles' only chart entry not featuring Hoffs on lead vocals).
"I feel like I do have to do it," her sister Vicki Peterson says of crafting new Bangles music. "More importantly, I want to do it - we all do. The writing and recording have become more enjoyable than ever.
"I'm already excited about writing new songs and starting the next record."