GHOSTS OF CHANTS: After winning his first CMA Entertainer of the Year Award Nov. 10, Brad Paisley mused, "Country music is unique. It is not afraid to deal head-on with subjects like disease, death, religion, drinking, family or anything else that qualifies as life.
"As its recording artists, we are there in song at the most impactful moments of our fans' lives.
"Lord, make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother / She'll know I'm safe with You when she stands under my colors," sings the sibling trio's Kimberly Perry, the cut's writer.
Supporting Paisley's description of the genre, "If I Die Young" is the fifth song with "die," or a form of the word, in its title to reign:
2010, "If I Die Young," the Band Perry (one week, to-date)
2004, "Live Like You Were Dying," Tim McGraw (seven weeks)
1994, "Live Until I Die," Clay Walker (one week)
1971, "The Year That Clayton Delaney Died," Tom T. Hall (two weeks)
1955, "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young," Faron Young (one week)
Paisley expands upon his definition of country in "This Is Country Music," which ties for the biggest jump this year on Country Songs. The song replicates the 52-29 vault of Keith Urban's "I'm In" in May.
"You're not supposed to say the word 'cancer' in a song / And, tellin' folks Jesus is the answer can rub 'em wrong," Paisley sings. "It ain't hip to sing about tractors, trucks, little towns and mama. Yeah, that might be true / But this is country music. And we do."
Aguilera contributes eight songs to the set and Cher, two. The pair stars in the film that has grossed $19.2 million since its opening.
Cher concurrently makes her first appearance since 2003 on Dance/Club Play Songs, as the "Burlesque" cut "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" opens as the Hot Shot Debut at No. 35. The Academy, Emmy and Grammy Award winning icon has celebrated six No. 1s on the survey, beginning with the coronation of "Believe" 12 years ago this week.
HOOVE WE GOT?: The holiday season regularly heralds the return of Dr. Elmo. This year, the comedic caroler adds a new format ranking to his Billboard chart discography.
The singer and banjo player's "Bluegrass Christmas" debuts at No. 13 on Bluegrass Albums. The Lexington, Ky., native had previously appeared solely on the Comedy Albums and Comedy Digital Songs charts.
The new set includes an instrumental of Dr. Elmo's 1979 chestnut "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," which he refers to as a "little song written by (my) friend Randy Brooks that everyone but (me) agreed was one of the weirdest Christmas songs they had ever heard."
Along with his famed (and reckless) "Reindeer," Dr. Elmo likewise runs, maintaining a 25-mile weekly training regimen. In the past year, he finished first in his age division at Silicon Valley's prestige Compaq 10K and second in the San Francisco and Humbolt half marathons.
"For my entire career, I have been a bluegrass player but was known only as the guy who sang 'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer'," Dr. Elmo (real name: Elmo Shropshire) tells Chart Beat. "Although the song has made me famous every December, I am most thrilled, and giddy, to make Billboard's Bluegrass Albums chart with a more serious musical endeavor.
"'Tis a lovely place to be."