Fred discusses chart action from Jason Mraz, B.B. King, "Gypsy" and more!
'YOURS' SONG: The little bedroom demo that could gives Jason Mraz his first top 10 hit on the Hot 100. "I'm Yours" was written in 2004 while Mraz was working on his "Mr. A to Z" album. He told me that when his label asked him for some unreleased songs to post on the internet, he gave them a stack of tracks that had been set aside, including "I'm Yours."
Now the tune recorded in his bedroom has made Mraz an international star, as hundreds of people have recorded their own cover versions and posted them on YouTube. A 24-9 surge makes "I'm Yours" the biggest hit of Mraz's career, besting his debut entry, "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)," which peaked at No. 15 exactly five years ago this week, on the Hot 100 dated Sept. 13, 2003.
Coinciding with his new career highwater mark, my interview with Jason airs tonight (Thursday, Sept. 4) on "Bonefish Grill's Notes from the Road," broadcast on Ovation TV at 8pm, 11pm and 2am EDT.
IT'S GOOD TO BE B.B.: Blues legend B.B. King turns 83 this month and on The Billboard 200 dated three days before his birthday, his latest album, "One Kind Favor" (Geffen) enters at No. 37. It's the highest-debuting solo album of King's career and his highest-charting solo set since "Live in Cook County Jail" traveled to No. 25 in 1971.
"Favor" is King's 33rd chart entry. Although he had been recording since 1949, he didn't appear on the Billboard album chart until October 1968, when "Lucille" became his first chart entry. That gives him an album chart span of 39 years and 11 months.
King's highest-ranked album is "Riding With the King," his collaboration with Eric Clapton that peaked at No. 3 in 2000.
On Top Blues Albums, "One Kind Favor" bows at No. 1, becoming King's sixth set to debut in pole position and his eighth to reach the top slot. King was most recently No. 1 on this list with "Live" in March.
EVERYTHING'S COMING UP PATTI: Mama Rose is one of the greatest Broadway roles of all time, and the mother of Gypsy Rose Lee has been portrayed by Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury. Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters and now Patti Lupone (as well as Rosalind Russell on the silver screen and Bette Midler on television).
Lupone is the star of the current Broadway revival, and the 2008 album featuring this latest cast, issued on the Time Life label, enters The Billboard 200 at No. 58.
The first "Gypsy" cast album, featuring Merman, peaked at No. 13 in 1959. In 2003, the Peters cast album went to No. 175. The movie soundtrack is the highest-charting "Gypsy," reaching No. 10 in 1963. Midler's TV movie soundtrack stopped at No. 183 in 1994.
The Lupone recording of "Gypsy" is the fourth Broadway cast album to chart in 2008, following "In the Heights," "Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" and "Disney's "The Little Mermaid."
Lupone's "Gypsy" debuts at No. 1 on Top Cast Albums.
WAYNE'S MANNER: Jimmy Wayne is the second solo male artist to score his first No. 1 on Hot Country Songs in 2008. "Do You Believe Me Now" (Valory) jumps 4-1. The song is Wayne's sixth chart entry; his previous best was the No. 3 peak of his debut single, "Stay Gone," in July 2003.
In May, James Otto collected his first No. 1 hit, when "Just Got Started Lovin' You" spent two weeks in the penthouse.
"Do You Believe Me Now" is the 12th No. 1 for a solo male artist this calendar year. Alan Jackson and Brad Paisley have topped the charts twice, and Rodney Atkins, Trace Adkins, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton and Keith Urban have also led the list.
There have been three No. 1s by solo females; two by Carrie Underwood and one by Taylor Swift. Two duos have garnered top chart ink: Montgomery Gentry and Sugarland. The last group to have a country No. 1 was Heartland, with "I Loved Her First" in October 2006.
Wayne's "Do You Believe Me Now" is the first No. 1 for the independent Valory imprint. A sister label to Big Machine, Valory has had four chart entries to date, all by artists whose first names start with the letter "J." All four songs made their debuts this year. In order of peak position, they are:
No. 1: "Do You Believe Me Now," Jimmy Wayne
No. 13: "Stronger Woman," Jewel
No. 38: "I Do," Jewel
No. 50: "Back That Thing Up," Justin Moore
VANGUARD LEADS THE WAY: Founded in 1950 by brothers Maynard and Seymour Solomon, the Vanguard label was a frequent visitor to the Hot 100 in the 1960s and 1970s, thanks to hit singles by the Rooftop Singers (including the No. 1 song "Walk Right in"), Joan Baez, Country Joe & the Fish and Buffy Sainte-Marie. The label was last in the top 30 with Benny Bell's novelty number, "Shaving Cream," and last on the Hot 100 in February 1986 with "Baby Talk" by Alisha.
Now, after a gap of 22 years, the Vanguard name is back on the chart, thanks to the No. 89 debut of "Come On Get Higher" by Matt Nathanson.
The Vanguard label was purchased in 1985 by the Welk Music Group.
WHAT'S 'WHAT': Last week I mentioned that by entering the Hot 100 at No. 9, "So What" (LaFace) had become the highest new entry of Pink's career.
This week, "So What" advances 9-3, becoming the highest charting solo recording for Pink. If "So What" can move up two more places, it will be Pink's first solo No. 1 and her second chart-topper, following the remake of Labelle's "Lady Marmalade" by Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink.