Fred and his readers discuss Madonna, Savage Garden, the soundtrack to "Mamma Mia!," Britney Spears and more!

TURN OF THE CENTURY (WHICH WAS WHEN?)

Hello Fred,

After reading this week's Chart Beat about the small group of artists that have spent time at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in both the 20th and 21st centuries, I noticed that you left out Madonna from that elite group. She spent 28 weeks at No. 1 in the 20th century with 11 singles and four weeks at No. 1 with "Music" in the 21st century.

Speaking of Madonna, do you think radio will embrace her new single, "Miles Away" more so than her last? Her current album has so many single-worthy tracks, it would be a shame if the masses aren't exposed to them on U.S. radio.

Thanks,

Keith Kirk
Chicago, Ill.


Fred,

In this week's Chart Beat you list the artists who have had No. 1s in both the 20th and 21st centuries.

Shouldn't Savage Garden also be on that list? If I remember correctly, "Truly Madly Deeply" was No. 1 in 1998 and "I Knew I Loved You" in 2000. Am I off track here?

Regards,

Robert Ghanem
Sydney, Australia

Dear Keith and Robert,

I know the big celebrations for the turn of the century took place as the calendar changed from 1999 to 2000, but the 21st century didn't begin until Jan. 1, 2001.

That's why I didn't mention Madonna or Savage Garden in that Chart Beat item. "Music" was No. 1 in the year 2000, so all of Madonna's Hot 100 chart-toppers are from the 20th century. The same holds true for Savage Garden, with its No. 1 hit from 2000.

There are times I will mention something that happened this millennium, and then I include events from 2000 on. But when the reference is specifically to events that happened in one century or another, the 20th century includes the years 1901-2000 and the 21st century includes the years 2001 and beyond.

Fortunately, someone else will be writing Chart Beat in the 22nd century. Someone who isn't even born yet.

Oh, and Keith, I'm not sure how "Miles Away" will fare on American radio. But I do think there are a lot of potential hit singles on "Hard Candy," just based on quality.



WILL THERE BE AN ENVELOPE THAT SAYS 'MAMMA MIA!'?

Dear Fred,

In your Oct. 16 Chart Beat column, you noted that the soundtrack to "Mamma Mia!" is now the third longest-running No. 1 on the Top Soundtracks chart. Reviewing the other six titles in the top seven ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?," "Ray," "Chicago," "Dreamgirls," "8 Mile" and "Juno"), I noticed that all six are Oscar-winning or Golden Globe-winning films.

If you were to judge a film by the company it keeps, it certainly looks like "Mamma Mia!" has a golden opportunity to win some deserved end-of-the-year awards recognition!

Kenny Tucker
New Orleans, La.

Dear Kenny,

"Mamma Mia!" is likely to receive some Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, so your theory must be correct.

Sadly, any nominations the film receives won't be for music. To be eligible for an Oscar, the music for a motion picture must be original and written specifically for the film. That's why many Broadway musicals that are adapted for the silver screen add some new songs specifically for the movie version. "Chicago" and "Dreamgirls" both added new songs.

"Mamma Mia!" did not include any new songs written by Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, just the familiar ABBA hits that had already been included in the stage production. When I interviewed Benny and Bjorn in June, I asked them why they didn't write new songs for the movie and they said it felt like they would only be writing them to be eligible for an Oscar, not because of any artistic vision, and the vision was more important to them.



FROM ZERO TO HERO?

Hi, Fred,

I just read the news that Britney Spears' "Womanizer" broke T.I.'s record for the biggest jump to No. 1, plus Britney bested Mariah Carey's record for first-week digital sales for "Touch My Body" by just over 200 units. That's a great accomplishment for Britney, jumping from 96 to 1.

But shouldn't those songs that leapt from out-of-nowhere, as in from zero to No. 1, count as the biggest jumps? Michael Jackson was the first artist to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 with "You Are Not Alone" in 1995, and Mariah has done it three times, with "Fantasy" (1995), "One Sweet Day" (1995) and "Honey" (1997). Shouldn't those songs hold the record for the biggest leap to the top of the chart?

Thanks,

Richard Allan Aquino

Dear Richard,

Debuting at No. 1 is a great (and rare) accomplishment, but it's in a different category from moving within the Hot 100. A song that appears on the Hot 100 for the first time hasn't jumped from one position to another.

As I point out in Chart Beat this week, it won't be long before no one will ever be able to break the record for biggest jump to No. 1 on the Hot 100 again. Now that Britney Spears' "Womanizer" has taken that 96-1 rocket ride, there are only four positions from which a song could make a bigger leap to pole position. Once a song races 100-1, the all-time record is set and could only be equaled, not broken. Will it happen next week with Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy," which entered at No. 100 this week? Read Chart Beat to find out.



REVEALED, AT LAST

Dear Readers,

A couple of months ago, I asked chart fans around the world to write in with any information they had on Motown songs that reached No. 1 on their own country's chart without achieving pole position in the United States.

I received many informed replies, and I thank every one of you for the research that you did (quite extensive, in some cases).

I said at the time that I couldn't reveal who was asking or why but that I would let you know as soon as a public announcement was made. Sharp-eyed Billboard.com readers may have already noticed the news story than ran this week about an upcoming 10-CD box set from Motown. You can read the complete story by clicking here.

Fred









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