Chart Beat Thursday: Robin Williams, BNL, Maxwell
COMIC RELIEF: "I had open heart surgery. I had a blown valve ... which makes me sound like a Chevrolet.
"They started offering me choices about what kinds of valves I could get. I thought, maybe I can get the new Apple iHeart. That would be great. It comes with 20,000 emotions!"
With inimitable musings such as that, Robin Williams ends an almost 27-year drought from the Billboard 200, as "Weapons of Self Destruction" blasts in at No. 59. The set also starts at No. 1 on Comedy Albums.
The legendary actor/comedian charted twice before on the Billboard 200. "Reality...What a Concept" reached No. 10 in 1979, and "Throbbing Python of Love" peaked at No. 119 in 1983.
Not that Williams has been idle since his last chart appearance. He took home two Grammy Awards in 1988 and 1989 and won the 1997 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his revered role as Sean Maguire in the Matt Damon blockbuster "Good Will Hunting."
Since its launch in September 2008, Williams' 90-date "Weapons of Self Destruction" tour played to 300,000 fans in 65 cities across the U.S., the U.K. and Canada.
LADIES FIRST: Barenaked Ladies ink their first No. 1 on a Billboard chart in almost 10 years, as "All in Good Time" begins atop Independent Albums. On the Billboard 200, the set starts at No. 23.
The band last reigned when "Maroon" debuted at No. 1 on Top Internet Albums on the chart dated Sept. 30, 2000.
"All in Good Time" is Barenaked Ladies' first album following the departure of former co-frontman Steven Page, who left the group in February 2009 following his 2008 arrest for cocaine possession.
"It is absolutely a rebirth and reinvention of the band," Ed Robertson, now Barenaked Ladies' lead vocalist, recently told Billboard. "It was something we'd worked hard at for 20 years. I wasn't going to let it die away."
The new set's first single, "You Run Away," bullets at No. 23 on Adult Pop Songs, having reached a highpoint to date of No. 21 last week. The track concurrently bows at No. 39 on the Rock Digital Songs chart, viewable, along with 20 other new digital genre-specific song surveys, at billboard.biz.
SUCCESSFUL FLIGHT: Like Barenaked Ladies, another rock group known for its success in the '90s and 2000s occupies the top spot on a Billboard chart for the first time in close to a decade.
Stone Temple Pilots complete a 40-2-1 three-week vault to the top of Rock Songs with "Between the Lines." The group had last led a Billboard list when "Days of the Week" peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100's Bubbling Under chart dated June 30, 2001.
"Between the Lines" continues its assault on multiple rock formats. On Mainstream Rock, a 7-3 advance for the song grants the group its highest rank since "Lady Picture Show" became the band's sixth and most recent No. 1 on the chart in January 1997.
The first single from the band's May 25 self-titled reunion album also blasts 9-3 on Alternative Songs with Greatest Gainer honors.
Returning veterans abound on Rock Songs, which additionally welcomes "You and Your Heart" from Jack Johnson, the Hot Shot Debut at No. 38. Entering the list after its first five days at radio, the song introduces Johnson's fifth studio album, "To the Sea," due June 1.
USHER + MAXWELL = 3: As previously reported, Usher unleashes his third consecutive No. 1 on the Billboard 200, as "Raymond V Raymond" launches at the summit. He previously ruled with "Here I Stand" in 2008 and "Confessions" in 2004.
With everybody loving "Raymond," Usher is the first male artist to string together a trio of consecutive No. 1s on the survey since Eminem collected a fifth No. 1 in-a-row with "Relapse" last June.
A fellow R&B superstar makes history on the Adult R&B airplay chart, where Maxwell becomes the first solo male to link three straight No. 1s, as "Fistful of Tears" lifts 2-1. The third single from "BLACKsummers'night" follows previous leaders "Pretty Wings" (12 weeks on top) and "Bad Habits" (nine weeks).
"Fistful of Tears" is Maxwell's fifth Adult R&B No. 1, tying him with Musiq Soulchild for second-most toppers among males. The pair trails only Brian McKnight and Luther Vandross, each with six, dating to the chart's 1993 inception.
Among all artists, Alicia Keys leads with eight Adult R&B No. 1s. She is the only other performer to earn three straight chart champs, a feat she has accomplished twice.
RICKY RETURNS: Life appears good for Ricky Martin following his much-publicized announcement of his sexual orientation March 29.
"I'm doing great!" he subsequently Tweeted. "Stronger than ever! I'm here relaxing @home enjoying ur messages! I feel the love! Thanx for all! Peace."
Martin's signature song benefits from the buzz. "Livin' La Vida Loca," which topped the Hot 100 for five weeks in 1999, blasts 22-4 on Latin Digital Songs and 13-4 on Latin Pop Digital Songs, logging a 168% increase in download sales.
"La Copa De La Vida (La Cancion Oficial De La Copa Mundial, Francia '98)," a No. 45 Hot 100 hit in 1999 for Martin, meanwhile debuts on the digital lists at Nos. 40 and 20, respectively.
CHART BEAT BITS: MercyMe assumes the mantle for most No. 1s in the Christian Songs chart's history, as "All of Creation" ascends 2-1. With its eighth leader, the group breaks a tie with Casting Crowns, who notched their seventh leader, "Until the Whole World Hears," in January. Trailing the bands for most Christian Songs toppers are Jeremy Camp and Third Day, each with five, and Matthew West, with four ...
Joan Armatrading returns with "This Charming Life," which bows at No. 4 on Folk Albums, marking her second-highest rank on a Billboard survey. The singer/songwriter had last charted in 2007, when "Into the Blues" became her first leader of a Billboard list by crowning Blues Albums. The West Indian-born, Birmingham, England-raised artist has placed 12 titles on the Billboard 200, peaking as high as No. 28 with "Me Myself I" in 1980. She has made one appearance on the Hot 100, reaching No. 78 in a six-week chart run with "Drop the Pilot" in 1983 ...
Justin Bieber claims his highest ranking on a Billboard airplay chart, as "Baby," featuring Ludacris, rebounds 14-11 on the Rhythmic radio list, surpassing its previous peak of No. 12. Bieber's "Eenie Meenie," with Sean Kingston and available digitally a la carte through Kingston's website, concurrently charges 26-22 on Rhythmic. A second single from Bieber's "My World 2.0," "Somebody to Love," goes for adds at top 40 radio April 20 ...
Jes revives an alternative classic, as "Lovesong" debuts on Hot Dance Airplay at No. 21. The track, from the New York-based singer's third album, "High Glow," reinvents the Cure's original, which reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 in 1989. 311's more faithful rendition topped Alternative Songs in 2004 ...
Following the film's opening in theaters last Wednesday (March 31), the soundtrack to "The Last Song" flies 172-104 on the Billboard 200. "When I Look at You," by the movie's lead, Miley Cyrus, claims the Hot 100's Greatest Gainer/Digital award, rising 25-16. The album's instrumental "Steve's Theme" by composer Aaron Zigman meanwhile soars 10-1 on New Age Digital Songs (and is, fittingly, the last song on "The Last Song"). Pop fans may remember one of Zigman's earlier compositions. He co-wrote the Jets' "Crush on You," a No. 3 hit on the Hot 100 in 1986.