Ask Billboard: Mariah Carey, Tracy Chapman, Jeff Bates

Keith and his readers discuss Mariah Carey, Tracy Chapman, "Riverbank," and more!

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Keith,

I have a few questions for you. Is Sony Music ever going to release a box set for Mariah Carey? Are they going to release a collection of all her videos on DVD when she was on their label?

The reason I am asking is that two of my favorite B-side songs she released on CD single are "Slipping Away" and "Do You Think of Me" and (neither) are available on any mainstream Carey album.

Thanks for reading!
Jeff Savage
Salisbury, Md.

Hello Jeff,

I reached out to Sony Legacy (the company's catalog division) and, at least in terms of what's on their upcoming release schedule, there isn't a Mariah Carey box set coming soon.

However, there is a "Love Songs" compilation album from the diva scheduled for release on Jan. 20, 2009. (Just in time for Valentine's Day!)

We're sure the set will feature many of Carey's best known hits, since many of them deal with relationships and love. The "Love Songs" series has been around a number of years now and usually carry a list price of $11.98.

Perhaps some of Carey's lesser-known gems (and b-sides) might make this album? Sure, it's doubtful, but you never know. And, since the album will be released Sony, it will likely only include her work that she did while on Columbia Records through 2000, before she left the label.



One of my favorite artists of all time is Tracy Chapman. I have not heard much from her lately and was wondering if there may be a new album on the way. It's been two years since "Where You Live" and I am ready for some new material.

Also, are there any plans on re-releasing her previous albums or a (new) live album? With the success of her eponymous first album I thought it would be a prime candidate for a remastered reissue. I know she doesn't pay too much to her success, but a remastered album would be great.

Finally, how have Chapman's albums sold since SoundScan began (in 1991)?

Thanks for any information!
Jeffrey S. Krotz
Lincoln, Neb.

Hello Jeffrey,

You emailed at just the right time, since Atlantic Records just announced yesterday (Aug. 28) morning that Tracy Chapman's new album "Our Bright Future," will be released on November 11.

The set, Chapman's eighth studio effort, features 11 songs written by Chapman and co-produced with Larry Klein. Chapman also has announced a 21-date tour of Europe in November in December, beginning on November 12 in Brussels. This is her first solo tour in over 10 years.

Chapman's publicist at Elektra Records said that there are no plans at this time to do any reissues or release a greatest hits package.

Since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, Chapman's catalog of albums have sold 8.1 million in the U.S. Her biggest seller since 1991 is "New Beginning," which has moved 3.8 million.



I heard this song on the country (radio station) that we get here in West Virginia. I don't know who sings it or what the song title is but the chorus is "I wish this was a riverbank instead of a graveyard. I wish we were sitting here fishing and this wouldn't be so hard. It was my favorite thing we use to do and now we can't. I wish this was a riverbank instead of a graveyard."

Do you know who sings it and what the song title is? It's driving me crazy.

Jerry Kauffman

Hi Jerry,

The song you heard is called, surprise, "Riverbank." It's the latest single from Jeff Bates.