Ask Billboard: What-The-Forget Is Going On?

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


WHAT-THE-FORGET IS GOING ON?

Hi Gary,

I noticed that several songs currently on the Billboard Hot 100 have swear words in their titles.

There's Cee Lo Green's "F**k You (Forget You)," Avril Lavigne's "What the Hell," P!nk's "F**kin' Perfect" and Enrique Iglesias' "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)," which was edited from the album version, "Tonight (I'm F**kin' You)."

Have other titles with swear words ever become big hits?

Thanks!

Toby James Petty


Hi Toby,

The Hot 100 certainly is looking a bit PG-13 (or more) these days, isn't it?

In fact, three of the seven charted songs sporting "the worst word that you can say" (to quote Mr. Mackey in "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut") have appeared on the survey since just last year, and that's not including Iglesias' current hit.

Before Green and P!nk's latest singles, both of which are scaling Billboard's Pop Songs and Adult Pop Songs radio airplay charts thanks to edits, Lil Wayne spent a week at No. 76 on the Hot 100 last February with "F**k Today," featuring Gudda.

The only other such charted titles were Lily Allen's "F*ck You" (No. 68, 2009), Lady Sovereign's "Love Me or Hate Me (F**k You!!!!)" (No. 45, 2006), Eamon's "F**k It (I Don't Want You Back)" (No. 16, 2004) and Eazy-E's more grammatically creative "Real Muthaphuckkin G's" (No. 42, 1994).

Answering your question as thoroughly as possible clearly depends on one's definition of inappropriate language.

But, how about a look at the top-charting songs in the Hot 100's history whose titles include words generally to be avoided in polite conversation?

Here's the list (soap not included for use afterwards if read or sung aloud):

No. 1, "My Life Would Suck Without You," Kelly Clarkson, 2009
No. 2, "Bitch," Meredith Brooks, 1997

No. 4, "Gives You Hell," the All-American Rejects, 2009
No. 4, "Damn!," Youngbloodz featuring Lil Jon, 2003
No. 4, "The Bitch Is Back," Elton John, 1974
No. 5, "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover," Sophie B. Hawkins, 1992
No. 9, "F**k You (Forget You)," Cee Lo Green, 2010
No. 11, "F**kin' Perfect," P!nk, 2011
No. 11, "One Hell of a Woman," Mac Davis, 1974
No. 13, "What the Hell," Avril Lavigne, 2011
No. 13, "Shake Ya Ass," Mystikal, 2000
No. 14, "Short Dick Man," 20 Fingers featuring Gillette, 1995
No. 16, "F**k It (I Don't Want You Back)," Eamon, 2004
No. 17, "Hell Yeah," Ginuwune featuring Baby, 2003

(A free pass given to All-4-One's 1994 No. 1 "I Swear" ...)

Also recently, Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars wanted to be billionaires "so freakin' bad"; David Guetta and Akon's "Sexy Bitch" was amended to "Sexy Chick" for pop radio; and, Britney Spears' album cut "If U Seek Amy" became "If U See Amy" upon its release as a single, lest any top 40 DJs face FCC scrutiny.

Older audiences might also remember an earlier notable such song: former "American Top 40" host Shadoe Stevens refused to say the title of "Me So Horny" when 2 Live Crew took the song to No. 26 in 1989.

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


VIVA LA 'VIDA' SINGER

Hi Gary,

Since Ricky Martin is releasing his new album, "MAS (Musica + Alma + Sexo)," Tuesday (Feb. 1), could you please provide the Nielsen SoundScan sales totals for his top-selling albums?

Also, could you rank his five best-selling digital songs?

Thanks,

Maxwell Gorecki
Berlin, Germany


Hi Maxwell,

Martin recently spoke with Billboard's Leila Cobo, opening up about his personal life, new book and, of course, the album.

"When I get up on stage, the first thing I say is, 'We're here to forget everything and to have a blast the next two hours'," Martin said. "And, when I work with my producers, we look for that liberty.

"(The new album is) up-tempo because I'm at a point in my life where I simply want to be, and be free and not be contrived at all."

While waiting for the set's arrival, here is a look at Martin's top-selling sets, per SoundScan:

6,958,000, "Ricky Martin," 1999
1,679,000, "Sound Loaded," 2000
883,000, "Vuelve," 1998
287,000, "A Medio Vivir," 1995
274,000, "Life," 2005
261,000, "Almas Del Silencio," 2003
220,000, "La Historia," 2001
197,000, "Ricky Martin: MTV Unplugged," 2006

Martin's career U.S. album sales stand at 10,972,000, according to SoundScan.

And, here are Martin's five best-selling downloaded tracks:

502,000, "Livin' La Vida Loca"

152,000, "She Bangs"
141,000, "La Copa De La Vida"
124,000, "I Don't Care/Que Mas Da"
82,000, "Tu Recuerdo"

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


MORE 11s FOR '11

Hi Gary,

Thanks for your fun tribute to songs that peaked at No. 11 on the Hot 100. It's amazing how many songs in the rock era have knocked on the doorstep of the top 10 but couldn't get in.

Elvis Presley had four No. 11 hits and folks like Eddie Money, Firefall and Kenny Loggins each had two. And, in addition to your mention of the Four Tops' "Baby I Need Your Lovin'," they also had two more No. 11-peaking songs: "Still Water (Love)" in 1970 and "When She Was My Girl" in 1981.

Other notable No. 11s to add:

"Into the Night," Benny Mardones, 1980, hitting No. 11 in its original chart run, this ballad was reissued in 1989 and came close to its original peak, reaching No. 20.

"This Little Girl," Gary U.S. Bonds, 1981, written by Bruce Springsteen and Bonds' first hit since 1962.

"Do You Love Me," the Contours, 1988, originally a No. 3 hit in 1962, the "Dirty Dancing" craze brought this one back and narrowly missed being a top 10 hit again.

"Justified & Ancient," the KLF featuring Tammy Wynette, 1992, one of the best one-time collaborations ever, this was the biggest (and last) pop hit for the late, great country superstar.

"Because the Night," 10,000 Maniacs, 1994, recorded live for MTV's "Unplugged" series, this cover charted two positions higher than the original Patti Smith version in 1978.

Thanks again, Gary!

Kindest regards,

Ron Raymond, Jr.
Music Director, WMPG-FM
Portland, Maine


Thanks Ron!

The history of No. 11 hits on the Hot 100 is so rich, here are 11 more that neither you, I or avid chart-watchers in the comments section below have mentioned so far:


"Scarborough Fair (/Canticle)," Simon & Garfunkel, 1968

"Lido Shuffle," Boz Scaggs, 1977

"I Was Made for Lovin' You," Kiss, 1979

"Somebody," Bryan Adams, 1985

"Keep On Movin'," Soul II Soul (featuring Caron Wheeler), 1989

"All My Life," Linda Ronstadt (featuring Aaron Neville), 1990

"Lily Was Here," David A. Stewart featuring Candy Dulfer, 1991

"100% Pure Love," Crystal Waters, 1994

"The Rhythm of the Night," Corona, 1995

"Thnks fr the Mmrs," Fall Out Boy, 2007

"Better in Time," Leona Lewis, 2008

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


'IDOL' THOUGHTS

Since I dreamt last night that I was auditioning for "American Idol," I think I'm clearly liking the new season's upbeat energy and chemistry between Steven Tyler, Jenner Lopez and Randy Jackson.

(The judges sent me to Hollywood, by the way. So much for the "reality" in reality TV ...)

Per my goal of hoping to identify the eventual 2011 "American Idol" champion by the end of the audition phase, here are my candidates from the series' second week back:

(Tuesday) Scott McCreery; endearingly raspy Emma Henry; Naima Adedapo; bar mitzvah singer Jerome Bell; Tiwan Strong; and, Alyson Jados, whose take on "Come Together" evoked shades of Crystal Bowersox.

(Wednesday) Rob Bolin; Stormi Henley; Jackie Wilson; Paul McDonald; Jimmie Allen; and, Lauren Alaina, who, between her prominent placement at the end of last night's episode and her impressive impromptu duet with Tyler on Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," appears an early favorite above all others. ("You're gonna make 40 million people cry. Tears of joy, baby!" said Tyler).

Follow Billboard.com's complete coverage of the 10th season of "American Idol" here and, as always, please feel free to share your opinions in the comments section below or by e-mailing askbb@billboard.com.