Elton John, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra & More: Stories From Adult Contemporary's Biggest Stars & Songs
Elton John, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra & More: Stories From Adult Contemporary's Biggest Stars & Songs

Faith HillFaith Hill

She has four AC No. 1s-including the 17-week leader "Breathe" in 2000-and 43 weeks total at No. 1-the fifth-most all-time and second among women.

Peter Strickland, senior VP of brand management and sales, Warner Music Nashville:

"'Breathe' came to us in September 2000. The album wasn't totally recorded yet. We heard the track and immediately went to radio with it. It moved so quickly up the country charts, we rushed to get the album together. The video hit closer to the album release-it had kind of an AC feel to it, just the way it was shot. We went to AC after the first of the year. We didn't have to do too much work at first, because a number of AC stations were already on the record.

"Between AC and country, the audience was astronomical. Her star power actually pushed her in that [AC] direction. She became more of a mainstream artist based on appearing in movies, some of her endorsements-she ended up a star across the board. We always go to country radio first with the singles and build our plan toward AC afterward. It plays an important role in Faith's career, and there always has to be a space on that chart for her."

As told to Mitchell Peters.

Herb Alpert

The legendary bandleader and label executive has 46 AC chart hits (with and without his Tijuana Brass), ninth-most among all acts in the chart's history. Plus five No. 1s, including the 1968 10-week leader "This Guy's in Love With You".

Alpert: "The timing was right. I guess I chose the right songs and put it together nicely. It's hard to predict. Radio was cooperating. It was easier to get music heard on different radio stations. You could go to a program director and if they happened to like a record, they'd put it in a meeting or on the air. It was a different time. "This Guy's in Love [With You]," which I sing, I did it just for television. It wasn't really gearing for radio [but] the response was overwhelming, and two weeks after it was released, it went to No. 1. It was the first No. 1 Burt Bacharach and Hal David had­-and it was sung by an instrumentalist."

As told to Leila Cobo.

John DenverJohn Denver

Thirty-four AC chart hits, including 18 top 10s, nine of which reached No. 1. The No. 1s place him in a tie for eighth-most in the chart's history.

Milt Okun, producer (Denver; Peter, Paul & Mary; Placido Domingo); founder, Cherry Lane Music Publishing:

"John was singing out here in L.A. at the Ice House in Pasadena. I was looking for something to replace Chad in the Chad Mitchell Trio. Mike Kirkland of the Brothers Four mentioned John. I invited him to New York to audition with two of the members of the group, Mike Kobluk and Joe Frazier. He did very well. But I did something that turned out to be unkind-I let him go back to California, and saw some other applicants. I kept him waiting a whole week, and then finally called him. He joined the group. But he said it was a very tough week.

"I didn't really pay that much attention to what were the hits. We kept trying to make as good records as we could. And the ones that became hits-great. I had a difficult relationship with RCA at the time. They didn't understand that a new single had to be a new song. I guess [John and I] had about seven or eight in a row that sold very well. I started out as the complete producer and he as the artist. As time went on, gradually but consistently, he became more co-producer. He took over more and more of the decision-making. He was probably more effective than I was at the end.

"I guess my favorite song that he ever did was [1974's] "This Old Guitar." It's just him and his acoustic guitar. And the opposite, [1975's] "Calypso," with a gigantic chorus and orchestra. It's probably the biggest production I ever did. His songs are going to be sung for another 100 years. They're in the bloodstream of America.

"Do I listen to his music to relive memories? No, that would be kind of painful, actually. It was a terrible loss. So I don't dwell on it. John was such an important performer in my career."

As told to Mitchell Peters.