Women in Music 2016
Weekly Chart Notes: Taylor Swift, Adele, Richard Marx
'MEAN' STREAK: Taylor Swift is having the last laugh on the brand of critic she skewers in her latest Country Songs top 10, "Mean."
As the song lifts 12-9, Swift has reached the chart's top 10 with all 13 of her singles (excluding holiday fare) promoted to country radio. She joins Carrie Underwood as the only women to begin their chart histories with as many consecutive top 10s dating to the survey's 1944 launch. (Underwood scored her 13th top 10 with "Mama's Song," which peaked at No. 2 in January).
Prior to the pair, Connie Smith had held the record among women with 12 straight career-opening Country Songs top 10 singles (1964-68).
Swift and Underwood's streaks are the best among all artists since Tracy Lawrence arrived with 19 consecutive top 10s in 1991-97.
The two female stars are likely decades, however, from breaking the chart's all-time out-of-the-gate top 10 mark among all artists. Eddy Arnold sent his first 58 single releases (including B-sides) into the top tier between 1945 and 1955.
Perhaps surprisingly, some of the most heralded female performers in the genre's archives made more relatively inauspicious Country Songs arrivals.
Loretta Lynn ("I'm a Honky Tonk Girl") and Dolly Parton ("Dumb Blonde") reached Nos. 14 and 24, respectively, with their first chart entries.
Barbara Mandrell and Shania Twain each stopped at No. 55 on their first tries.
And, the female artist with the most Country Songs top 10s (59), Reba McEntire, peaked at No. 88 with her first charted title, "I Don't Want to Be a One Night Stand," which bowed 35 years ago this week (May 8, 1976). McEntire didn't reach the top 10 until her 11th chart entry, "(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven," ascended to No. 8 in 1980.
As Swift makes Country Songs history, she crosses another title to the Pop Songs radio airplay chart, as "The Story of Us," from her former Billboard 200 and Country Albums No. 1 "Speak Now," starts at No. 37.
INTO 'DEEP': As Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" holds at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song becomes her first top 10 (12-7) on Radio Songs and her first No. 1 (2-1) on Adult Pop Songs. The song spends a 14th frame atop the Triple A adult alternative airplay chart, extending the mark for longest reign for a title by a female artist on the tally.
Two other tracks from her album "21," which logs a sixth week atop the Billboard 200, debut on airplay charts. "Rumour Has It" begins on Triple A (No. 26) and her reinvention of the Cure's "Lovesong" enters Jazz Songs (No. 29).
MIC'D TV: Five songs premiered last Tuesday (April 26) on Fox and NBC's 8 p.m. offerings debut on the Hot 100.
The cast of Fox's "Glee" extends its record to 137 Billboard chart entries, as four tracks bow, led by its "I Feel Pretty"/"Unpretty" mashup. While "I Feel Pretty" makes its first Hot 100 appearance, the song first appeared on the album that has spent the most weeks at No. 1 in the 55-year history of the Billboard 200; the "West Side Story" soundtrack led the list for 54 frames beginning 49 years ago today (May 5, 1962).
With its update of TLC's "Unpretty" and Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" (No. 44), the "Glee" cast has now returned 42 former Hot 100 No. 1s to the chart.
The show whose premiere last Tuesday beat "Glee," and all competition, in its timeslot, NBC's new music reality competition "The Voice," prompts the Hot 100 arrival of contestant Javier Colon, whose R&B-tinged take on "Time After Time" debuts at No. 65. The bow marks the song's third Hot 100 visit, following Cyndi Lauper's 1984 original (No. 1, two weeks) and Inoj's 1998 pop/R&B cover (No. 6).
("The Voice" decision-makers are allowing sales of digital singles from the program's contestants to be reported to Nielsen SoundScan. Such releases are, thus, eligible for Billboard charts; weekly sales for "American Idol" tracks, however, continue to be withheld by "Idol" executives and, therefore, the series' singles remain ineligible to appear on Billboard surveys upon their releases).
THE PRINCESS BRIDE: The April 29 union of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton results in a No. 1 launch on Traditional Classical Albums for the ceremony's companion set, "The Royal Wedding: the Official Album."
On Classical Digital Songs, three tracks from the collection debut, including "The Procession of the Bride (The Introit): I Was Glad" by Choir of Westminster Abbey/the Choir of the Chapel Royal (O'Donnell & Fetherstonhaugh) at No. 5.
REPEAT OFFENDER: Richard Marx returns to the Adult Contemporary chart, as "When You Loved Me" bows at No. 28. The pop/rock singer-songwriter had last charted with the No. 22-peaking "Ready to Fly" in 2005.
Marx has made 19 visits to the AC survey since his arrival in 1987, tallying 13 top 10s, including four No. 1s: "Right Here Waiting," "Keep Coming Back," "Hazard" and "Now and Forever."
"When You Loved Me" introduces Marx's new album, "Stories to Tell," released Tuesday (May 3) in physical form exclusively at Walmart and digitally.
In addition to updating several of his own hits on the set, Marx (with sense of humor clearly intact, per his ad for the album, below) puts his stamp on songs he's written for other acts, including 'N Sync's 13-week 2000-01 AC No. 1 "This I Promise You."
CHART BEAT BITS: Sara Evans returns to the top of Country Songs, as "A Little Bit Stronger" lifts 2-1. As Evans had last reigned with "A Real Fine Place to Start" for two weeks beginning Sept. 24, 2005, she ends the longest gap between No. 1s (five years, seven months, three weeks) since Garth Brooks' nine-year, one-month, two-week hiatus between "To Make You Feel My Love" and "More Than a Memory" (1998-2007). Evans' span between Country Songs leaders was the longest for a female artist since Dolly Parton waited 14 years and 10 months between "Rockin' Years," with Ricky Van Shelton (1991), and Brad Paisley's "When I Get Where I'm Goin'," on which she guested (2006) ...
The "Glee" cast's cover of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" isn't the only interpretation of the former six-week Hot 100 No. 1 bowing on a Billboard chart. "Weird Al" Yankovic's parody "Perform This Way" dances onto Comedy Digital Songs at No. 4. "I might be wearin' Swiss cheese, or maybe covered with bees / It doesn't mean I'm crazy ... I perform this way!," sings Yankovic ...
As "E.T.," featuring Kanye West, tops the Hot 100 for a fifth frame, Katy Perry celebrates her first No. 1 on the Rhythmic airplay chart (4-1). Billboard R&B/hip-hop chart manager Rauly Ramirez notes that Perry is just the third female core pop artist to rule the chart in its 18-year history, following Christina Aguilera, who led with "Genie in a Bottle" (1999) and "What a Girl Wants" (2000), and P!nk, whose "Most Girls" also reached No. 1 in 2000. Aguilera and P!nk also teamed with Lil' Kim and Mya on the five-week No. 1 "Lady Marmalade" in 2001 ...
Two veterans shine in returns to Country Albums. Emmylou Harris debuts at No. 3 with "Hard Bargain," marking her highest solo rank since "Roses in the Snow" spent five weeks at No. 2 in 1980. (With Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt," she commanded the chart for five weeks in 1987 with "Trio"). At No. 4, Steve Earle enters with "I'll Never Get Out," granting the singer-songwriter his highest peak since "Guitar Town" led the Nov. 8, 1986, list ...
R. Kelly enters R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at Nos. 83 and 87 with "Radio Message" and "Number One Hit," respectively. Despite their titles, the songs aren't direct pleas to radio programmers for airplay, but love songs ("This is a radio message to my baby ... come back";"Baby, you are the song of my life ... my number one hit"). Can the latter song live up to its chart-topping title on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs? As long as Kelly can improve upon his prior similar efforts. His "Number One" stopped at No. 8 in 2009, while his last debut prior to this week, "Platinum," on which he assists lead artist Snoop Dogg, is 970,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, from reaching a million in sales.