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.
SNEAKING A FEW MORE PEAKS
In your "Taking Peaks" series, you provided a great list of essential No. 1 hits that spent only one week atop the Billboard Hot 100. Here are a few more one-week No. 1s that are significant in certain ways.
The late 1950s/early '60s brought us a rather morbid genre known as the "car crash" song. This macabre bent lasted for a few years until it went out with a, um, bang with the Shangri-Las' classic "Leader of the Pack" in 1964.
Jeannie C. Riley's "Harper Valley P.T.A." (1968) is notable for two reasons. First, for more than 30 years it held the record for the biggest one-week jump in Hot 100 history (81-7, a leap that wasn't passed until 1999, when Shanice's "When I Close My Eyes" flew 91-16). Riley's song was also the first No. 1 to spawn both a hit movie and television series.
Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" (1972) is also a milestone entry. It was the first Hot 100 No. 1 by an Australian-born artist, and it became an anthem for the era's women's liberation movement.
And, a collection of Dutch studio musicians known as Stars on 45 led with "Medley" (1981). Because of legal issues, the titles of all the songs featured in the song had to be included in the official title for its U.S. release, resulting in a record that still stands: longest title (41 words) of any song to appear on the Hot 100. The success of the single also led to a brief mini-boom of medley recordings, including a Beach Boys montage song (No. 12, 1981) and three more by Stars on 45 in 1981-82.
I loved the entire "Taking Peaks" series. Congratulations on a job well done!
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Thanks for adding insightful analysis on more memorable Hot 100 hits.
As for your last item about medleys, the concept has remained a fun way to pack multiple hooks into a song. Pet Shop Boys recently released a medley of their own 1988 No. 18 Hot 100 hit "Domino Dancing" and Coldplay's No. 1 "Viva La Vida," a seamless amalgam that they've been performing in concert.
The "Glee" cast also charted three medleys last year, offering inventive mixtures of Beyonce/Katrina and the Waves, Bon Jovi/Usher and the Police/Gary Puckett.
(Numerous other medleys have scaled the Hot 100, including Will to Power's 1988 No. 1 "Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird." Chart Beat readers are welcome to cite more by e-mailing email@example.com!)
DISNEY DIVAS, PART 1
I was wondering if you could provide the album sales of Selena Gomez and the Scene's "Kiss and Tell," as well as those for Ashley Tisdale's "Headstrong" and "Guilty Pleasure" and Demi Lovato's "Don't Forget" and "Here We Go Again."
Gomez and the Scene's debut album has sold 387,000 copies in the U.S. to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The set has spent 18 weeks on the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 9 upon its debut in October. The album's single "Naturally" debuts on both Dance/Club Play Songs (No. 39) and Pop Songs (No. 40) this week.
Tisdale's debut effort, 2007's "Headstrong," has shifted 478,000 units. Her sophomore set, last year's "Guilty Pleasure," has sold 74,000 copies. The releases reached Nos. 5 and 12, respectively, on the Billboard 200.
Lovato's "Don't Forget" (No. 2, Billboard 200, 2008) has totaled 473,000 units sold. "Here We Go Again" (No. 1, 2009) has moved 369,000 copies.
DISNEY DIVAS, PART 2
From Lady Gaga's EP "The Fame Monster," there have already been two singles, "Bad Romance" and "Telephone." That makes me wonder about Miley Cyrus' EP, "The Time of Our Lives," which has been out longer (23 chart weeks on the Billboard 200, vs. 10 chart weeks for Lady Gaga's album).
I'm too old to be a "Hannah Montana" fan, but I have become a Cyrus fan. Do you know if there will be any more songs sent to radio from her EP, or is "Party in the U.S.A." likely the only hit from this album? I have heard "When I Look at You" in a trailer for her upcoming movie.
"When I Look at You" is, indeed, the next single from Cyrus' "The Time of Our Lives" EP.
The ballad, reminiscent of her smash "The Climb," was written by Grammy-Award winning producer John Shanks (Michelle Branch, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow) and Nashville songwriter Hillary Lindsey (Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood).
The song will be featured in Cyrus' new movie, "The Last Song," opening in theaters April 2.
The track goes for adds at adult and pop radio Feb. 16.
SEXTON ON FIRE
With the 47-13 rise of "Hallelujah" by Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris on this week's Hot 100, some readers may not realize this tidbit, but featured artist Charlie Sexton earns his first top 40 hit on the Hot 100 atfer more than two decades.
Back on Feb. 8, 1986, he entered the top 40 at No. 38 with "Beat's So Lonely." It ascended to its peak position of No. 17 on March 22, 1986.
With this week's chart dated Feb. 13, Sexton celebrates the 24th anniversary of his first top 40 appearance by reaching the region for a second time and notching his biggest Hot 100 hit.
Burt County, Nebraska
It's certainly nice to see this talented veteran artist reach new Hot 100 heights, and even better that the song's proceeds are benefiting those in need in Haiti.
Read last week's Chart Beat Thursday entry for more on Sexton's noteworthy chart history.
Did you notice that the current hit by Taylor Swift, "Today Was a Fairytale," drops from No. 2 to No. 22 on the Hot 100, after peaking at No. 2? This is also week number two for the song on the chart.
I just find it an interesting coincidence. The only thing missing is that the song is not entitled "2day Was a Fairytale."
Have a nice weekend,
And, as Swift sings on one of her other current Hot 100 hits (a duet), which moves up two spots from No. 22, two is better than one.