Weekly Chart Notes: Gwyneth Paltrow, Train, Florence + The Machine

Billboard Bits: Gwyneth Paltrow's Record Deal Dead, JT Mocks Himself Via Mozart

SOUNDTRACK STRENGTH: Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw and Leighton Meester, "Country Strong" grossed $7.3 million upon its nationwide premiere Jan. 7-9. The haul translated to a sixth-place finish in box office receipts in its opening weekend.

On the subsequent Billboard's Country Albums chart, the film's soundtrack ranks even higher, blasting 26-3.

With the advance, "Country Strong" becomes one of 11 movie soundtracks to reach the top five since Country Albums adopted Nielsen SoundScan data in 1991:

Peak Position, Title, Peak Year

No. 1 (35 weeks), "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," 2001 (The album is tied with Taylor Swift's "Fearless" for third-longest reign on Country Albums since 1991. In that span, only Shania Twain's "Come On Over" (50 weeks) and Dixie Chicks' "Fly" (36) have led longer).

No. 1 (nine weeks), "Hope Floats," 1998
No. 1 (nine weeks), "Hannah Montana: the Movie," 2009
No. 1 (eight weeks), "Coyote Ugly," 2000
No. 1 (one week), "Pure Country" (George Strait), 1993

No. 3, "Walk the Line," 2006
No. 3, "8 Seconds," 1994
No. 3, "Country Strong," 2011

No. 4, "Honeymoon in Vegas," 1992
No. 4, "Broken Bridges," 2006
No. 4, "Maverick," 1994

Despite their supremacy on Country Albums, just two of the 11 top five soundtracks have yielded No. 1s on Country Songs. "Pure Country" produced George Strait's "I Cross My Heart" and "Heartland" and "Hope Floats" featured Garth Brooks' "To Make You Feel My Love."

Still, songs from "Country Strong" are scaling Billboard charts, led by Paltrow's title cut, which vaults 47-11 on Country Digital Songs and scores Hot Shot Debut honors on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 81.

As "Country Strong" ascends on Country Albums, "Country Strong: More Music From the Motion Picture" arrives at No. 12. On the Billboard 200, the sets place at Nos. 10 and 48, respectively.


TRACKING TRAIN: Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" rolls to a 21st week at No. 1 on Adult Contemporary, matching the mark for the second-longest command in the chart's almost 50-year history.

The song equals the 21-week rules of Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" (2005) and Celine Dion's "A New Day Has Come" (2002). The titles trail only Uncle Kracker's record 28-week dominance with "Drift Away," featuring Dobie Gray, in 2003-04.

"Hey, Soul Sister" is one of three songs that Train places in the Adult Contemporary top 20 this week. Follow-up "If It's Love" reaches a new peak (17-15), while "Marry Me," the third single from "Save Me, San Francisco," arrives at No. 20, marking the group's highest AC debut.

With 5 million sold to-date, "Hey, Soul Sister" ranks as the ninth-best-selling download since SoundScan began tracking digital sales in 2003.
FLO CHART: Florence + the Machine won't find out if it will be crowned best new artist at the Grammy Awards until Feb. 13.

It has a chart achievement to celebrate, however, while it waits.

The act reaches the Triple A summit with its first chart entry, as "Dog Days Are Over" rises 2-1. The ensemble, led by Florence Welch, is the first group to rule the list on its initial try since fellow British band One eskimO topped the May 8, 2010, chart with "Kandi."

On Alternative Songs, "Dog Days Are Over" becomes Florence + the Machine's first top 10, rising 12-9.


HAWAIIAN PUNCH: While a majority of the U.S. is blanketed in snow, (much-envied) Hawaiian residents are basking in tropical temperatures.

The fortunes of two of the state's top musical exports are likewise bright.

Bruno Mars logs a second week at No. 1 on the Hot 100 with "Grenade" (2-1), while fellow Honolulu native Jake Shimabukuro celebrates his first No. 1 on World Albums. The chart-topping debut of "Peace Love Ukulele" eclipses Shimabukuro's prior best showing on World Albums, the No. 2-peaking "Gently Weeps" in 2006.

The ukulele virtuoso's new set features an instrumental cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," his latest inventive pop remake. Shimabukuro recorded Michael Jackson's "Thriller," a crowd favorite at his shows, on his 2009 album "Live."


RAFFERTY REMEMBERED: Following the singer/songwriter's passing Jan. 4 at 63, fans send the music of Gerry Rafferty onto multiple surveys.

On the Billboard 200, Rafferty's 1978 No. 1 "City to City" returns at No. 117. The set makes its first appearance on Catalog Albums at No. 7.

On Rock Digital Songs, Rafferty's two highest-charting Hot 100 hits, both from "City to City," debut. "Baker Street," a No. 2 Hot 100 smash, arrives at No. 16. "Right Down the Line," the No. 12-peaking follow-up to "Baker Street," enters at No. 50.