Ask Billboard: Energizer-Bunny Albums
Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.
I've noticed that over the past year-plus, albums such as Lady Gaga's "The Fame" (No. 4 this week) and Taylor Swift's "Fearless" (No. 7) and have managed to stay on the Billboard 200 for lengthy runs. What's even more impressive is the fact that "The Fame" managed to reach a new peak position in as late as its 62nd week.
This week, we have three albums in the top 10 that clock in at more than 60 weeks, with Zac Brown Band's "The Foundation" registering a new peak (No. 10) in its 64th week. These feats are noteworthy considering that most albums debut and then begin their plummet the following week.
With Lady Gaga, Swift and Zac Brown Band's sets all in the top 10 this week, I was wondering if there has been any other occasion where at least three albums with 50 or more weeks have resided in the top 10 simultaneously.
It pays to win big at the Grammy Awards, as Swift returns to the Billboard 200's top 10 and Zac Brown Band reaches the top tier for the first time after Grammy victories Jan. 31. "The Fame" and "Fearless" have also benefited from strings of hit singles at multiple radio formats, while Zac Brown is seeking its fourth top 10 on Country Songs from "The Foundation."
True, such sustained success isn't necessarily common, but there are other instances of at least three albums each with 50 or more weeks sharing space in the top 10.
In April 1997, for example, Celine Dion's "Falling Into You," Jewel's "Pieces of You" and No Doubt's "Tragic Kingdom" combined for such a triple play. Again, each set contained multiple radio hits, upping the potential for new fans to continually discover the artists and purchase their albums even long after their original releases.
On Sept. 3, 1988, exactly half the top 10's titles sported at least 50 weeks each:
No. 1, Def Leppard, "Hysteria" (then on its fourth top 20 Hot 100 hit, "Love Bites")
No. 3, Guns N' Roses, "Appetite for Destruction" (a steady build, leading to the breakout success of "Sweet Child O' Mine")
No. 8, Richard Marx, "Richard Marx" (four top three Hot 100 hits)
No. 9, Soundtrack, "Dirty Dancing" (three top five Hot 100 hits)
No. 10, Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine, "Let It Loose" (four top 10 Hot 100 hits)
Billboard 200 chart manager Keith Caulfield additionally points out that an album logging time in the top 10 after a year of release is perhaps more impressive an achievement in the digital era than in the past. In September 1988, for instance, if a consumer became a Def Leppard fan based on "Love Bites" and wanted to purchase earlier hits from "Hysteria," those 45s or cassette singles were likely no longer available in stores, so one had no choice but to buy the full "Hysteria" album.
Now, if you hear "Fifteen" on the radio and become a Taylor Swift fan and want to go back and add "Love Story" to your collection, you have the option of buying just that latter track, since digital singles remain available in the digital realm. If you're purchasing the entire "Fearless" album, however, it illustrates that you've chosen to invest in an artist's full album in an age when you could simply pick and choose cuts a la carte.
These feats simply reinforce that if an artist packs an album full of lasting radio hits, fans are willing to purchase the entire collection and decide to own more than just that act's biggest hits. When artists produce enough hit singles, they earn the benefit of the doubt that their album cuts are likely of high quality, as well.
In all, lengthy chart lives in the Billboard 200's upper ranks make for positive signs that the album continues to be a valued art form.
With Michael Buble's "Haven't Met You Yet" doing very well on the Hot 100, when was the last time a jazz crooner made it into the top 30, or, for that matter, the top 10?
Jesper Subang Jaya
Buble's biggest Hot 100 hit rises 36-30 in its 19th week. It also bullets at No. 12 on Adult Pop Songs and ranks at No. 3 on Adult Contemporary after reaching No. 1.
As for other jazz artists that have reached such territory on the Hot 100 in the relatively recent past prior to Buble, let's use as criteria any act that has placed at least two titles on either Traditional Jazz Albums or Contemporary Jazz Albums since 1990.
Here are the jazz performers to cross over to the top 30 on the Hot 100 as a lead act in that span, highlighted by a boom in the early '90s:
Hot 100 Peak, Title, Artist, Year
No. 7, "Auld Lang Syne," Kenny G, 2000
No. 9, "I Wonder Why," Curtis Stigers, 1991
No. 11, "Lily Was Here," Candy Dulfer, 1991
No. 14, "Unforgettable," Natalie Cole, 1991
No. 18, "Forever in Love," Kenny G, 1993
No. 18, "I'll Be Good to You," Quincy Jones featuring Ray Charles & Chaka Khan, 1990
No. 25, "By the Time This Night Is Over," Kenny G with Peabo Bryson
No. 29, "Cruising for Bruising," Basia, 1990
No. 30, "Don't Know Why," Norah Jones, 2003
No. 30 (to date), "Haven't Met You Yet," Michael Buble, 2010
Under these parameters, Buble is enjoying the first top 30 Hot 100 hit by a jazz artist in almost seven years.
Looking somewhat further back, several jazz superstars scored top 40 hits in the '80s, including Louis Armstrong, George Benson, Al Jarreau and Grover Washington, Jr.
MEDLEYS ON 45
Hello again and thanks for what you do! Since you put out the call last week for medleys that have charted on the Hot 100, I thought I would oblige with these:
"The Beatles Movie Medley," the Beatles (of course!) (No. 12, 1982)
Ask Billboard contributor Blair Buchta from the 'Peg is right: numerous songs were released and charted as a result of the success of "Medley" by Stars on 45. Like the Beach Boys' hit medley that Blair also mentioned, "The Beatles Movie Medley," interestingly enough, also peaked at No. 12, becoming the Fab Four's highest charting single of the 80s.
"Swing the Mood," Jive Bunny & the Mastermixers (No. 11, 1989)
This worldwide No. 1 merged '50s hits with the sounds of Glenn Miller. Another of their medleys, "That's What I Like," also charted (No. 69).
"Hooked On Classics," Louis Clark and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (No. 10, 1981)
Again, inspired by Stars on 45, this act successfully took memorable classical pieces and added a disco beat. "Hooked On Swing" by Larry Elgart and His Manhattan Swing Orchestra (No. 31, 1982), a precursor to Jive Bunny, went in a similar direction, but with swing music instead of disco.
"The Way You Do the Things You Do/My Girl," Daryl Hall John Oates (No. 20, 1985)
Recorded live at the famed Apollo Theatre, and featuring vocals from two of the song's originators, David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks of the Temptations.
The Spinners enjoyed two successful medleys in 1980: "Working My Way Back to You/Forgive Me, Girl" (No. 2) and "Cupid/I've Loved You for a Long Time" (No. 4).
You mentioned the Pet Shop Boys' great new medley of their own "Domino Dancing" and Coldplay's "Viva La Vida." Well, in 1991 they reached No. 72 with "Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can't Take My Eyes Off You)," an unlikely, but fun, combination of classics by Frankie Valli and U2.
"Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)/I Want You," Robert Palmer (No. 16, 1991)
A great pair of covers, which formed, sadly, his last American pop hit.
"Route 66/Behind the Wheel," Depeche Mode (No. 61, 1988)
The U.S. was one of a few countries where the medley charted, and I'm sure glad it did.
Ron Raymond, Jr.
Music Director, WMPG-FM
Thanks as always for such a detailed analysis.
I was saving a related recap for today's Ask Billboard on the newest No. 1 medley, although the eagle-eyed "harrychapinforever" insightfully made note in the comments section below yesterday's Chart Beat!
It certainly bears repeating: Lady Gaga's Grammy Awards medley of "Poker Face/Speechless/Your Song," featuring Elton John, bows this week at the summit on Hot Singles Sales, the billboard.biz-exclusive chart that ranks sales of physical singles.
The medley bows on the list with sales of 7,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (It also shifted 13,000 first-week downloads to bubble under Digital Songs).
The title is Lady Gaga's third No. 1 on Hot Singles Sales and John's first since the double-sided "Candle in the Wind 1997"/"Something About the Way You Look Tonight" spent 14 weeks on top in 1997-98.
John has now, amazingly, spent time peaking at No. 1 on Billboard charts in each of the following years: 1972-76, 1979, 1982, 1986, 1988-95, 1997-98, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.