Fred discusses hot chart action from Willie Nelson, T.I., Taylor Swift, Lucinda Williams and more!
HOW 'LUCKY' CAN YOU GET: He's such an iconic figure, it might seem like Willie Nelson is always hanging out on the Hot Country Songs tally, but the No. 56 debut of "That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day)" (Blue Chair/BNA), credited to Kenny Chesney with Willie Nelson, is the first chart appearance by the legendary artist in almost five years. Nelson was last on the survey with another Chesney collaboration, the holiday song "Pretty Paper," in January 2004.
The debut of "That Lucky Old Sun" expands Nelson's country singles chart span to 46 years, seven months and two weeks, dating back to the March 1962 debut of "Willingly." "That Lucky Old Sun" is Nelson's 121st chart entry, and while that sounds like a huge amount, it's only good enough to rank him fourth among artists with the most entries in the 64-year history of this survey. The top three: George Jones (165), Eddy Arnold (143) and Johnny Cash (135).
Nelson first recorded "That Lucky Old Sun" in 1976. The song was written in 1949 by Beasley Smith and Haven Gillespie and was No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart that year by Frankie Laine. There have been many recordings since, including covers by Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles. Nat Stuckey took the song to No. 66 on the country chart in 1978, the only version of the tune to appear on this list before the Chesney/Nelson duet. Most recently, "That Lucky Old Sun" has served as the title track of a Brian Wilson album.
Chesney's latest album is titled "Lucky Old Sun" and debuts on The Billboard 200 at No. 1. It's his fifth chart-topper and first in three years. On Top Country Albums, "Lucky Old Sun" is Chesney's eighth No. 1 set.
BACK IN 'LIKE' AGAIN: When "Live Your Life" succeeded "Whatever You Like" at No. 1 on the Hot 100, T.I. became the ninth artist of the rock era to replace himself in pole position. With "Whatever You Like" returning to the throne for a third run at the top, T.I. is the first artist to have a previous No. 1 hit go back to the top after the follow-up has spent time in the tally's ultimate position.
If that sounds like something only a chart geek would understand, let me put it another way: T.I. went to No. 1 with "Whatever You Like" the week of Sept. 6. The song remained in first place for three weeks and was succeeded by Pink's So What," which reigned for one week. Then "Whatever You Like" returned to No. 1 for two additional weeks before it was replaced by "Live Your Life," credited to T.I. featuring Rihanna. "Live Your Life" ruled for one week and then "Womanizer" by Britney Spears captured the top spot for one week. Now, "Whatever You Like" has returned to No. 1, again.
It's the second time this year that a song has had three separate runs at No. 1. Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" claimed the summit the week of April 5 for one week, returned April 26 for one more week and then advanced to No. 1 once more the week of May 10, for an additional two weeks as the leader of the pack.
Only three songs in the 50-year history of the Hot 100 have taken three turns at No. 1. Before "Whatever You Like" and "Bleeding Love," Chic's "Le Freak" had three separate reigns. The single moved into the lead spot on Dec. 9, 1978 for one week, returned Dec. 23 for two additional weeks and then reclaimed the crown the week of Jan. 20, 1979 for three more weeks.
SUDDENLY SWIFT: The highest debuting song of the week on the Hot 100 is the No. 9 new entry of "Fearless" (Big Machine) by Taylor Swift. After missing the top 10 with her first five chart entries, Swift has suddenly racked up three top 10 hits in a row.
First there was "Change," which debuted and peaked at No. 9 the week of Aug. 30. A month later, "Love Story" opened at No. 16 and jumped to No. 5 in its second week (and is currently holding at No. 14). Now "Fearless" is Swift's eighth chart entry in two years and her third consecutive top 10 hit.
COOKING WITH 'HONEY': After charting on The Billboard 200 for 10 years, Lucinda Williams earns her first top 10 album with "Little Honey" (Lost Highway), a new entry at No. 9.
Williams' highest-charting title until this week was "West," which topped out at No. 14 in March 2007.
Williams made her debut on The Billboard 200 in July 1998 with "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," which drove to No. 65.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Elvis Presley is back on Top Country Albums with his highest-charting set in six years. "Christmas Duets" (RCA) is new at No. 13. It's Presley's best performance since "Elvis: 30 #1 Hits" spent three weeks at No. 1 in October 2002.
On The Billboard 200, "Christmas Duets" enters at No. 61. It's the third Presley album to debut this year, the same number as last year, and it's the highest-charting Presley album since "Elvis: Viva Las Vegas" rolled the dice at No. 54 in September 2007.