Fred and his readers discuss Estelle, Kid Rock, Tami Chynn, Coldplay and more!
Nowadays we are accustomed to seeing songs immediately peak high on The Billboard Hot 100 with the sudden availability of digital downloads, then fall down with a thud the following week or the week after (e.g. David Archuleta's "Crush"). That's why I am a bit perplexed about the sudden drop of Estelle's "American Boy" this week, since it had a slow but steady rise up the charts, presumably due to a more stable increase in airplay. Would you know the reason for this? Did some radio stations suddenly decide not to play the song this week? Or was there a restriction on its sales availability? Speaking of sales, I hope by now Kid Rock's label will clearly see the injustice it has done to him by not making his version of "All Summer Long" available for digital downloads, as the cover has now overtaken the original on the Hot 100!
Quezon City, Philippines
Many readers might have been surprised to see "American Boy" by Estelle featuring Kanye West fall 11-37 on this week's Hot 100 (and plunge 6-59 on Hot Digital Songs). The track took such a steep drop because it is no longer available to purchase as a digital single. The label would prefer that you buy the entire album.
You may recall that back in the day when a song had to be available as a commercial single to be eligible to chart on the Hot 100, many tunes that were hits on the radio were withheld from release as a single because the labels were afraid consumers wouldn't purchase the entire album. As a result, songs like "Lovefool" by the Cardigans and "Don't Speak" by No Doubt never appeared on the Hot 100.
I don't know if the label's strategy will help sell more Estelle albums, but it did assist the anonymous Studio All-Stars' cover of "American Boy" onto Hot Digital Songs at No. 45 and the Hot 100 at No. 85.
By the way, you made reference to Kid Rock’s label. It is Kid Rock himself who made the decision not to have his album or single available for download at iTunes. For more about “All Summer Long,” see the next e-mail.
WHICH 'SUMMER' WILL LAST?
Seeing the Hit Masters cover of "All Summer Long" at No. 19 while Kid Rock's original holds steady at No. 25 got me thinking about other instances of remakes that reached higher peaks than the "definitive" versions, even if they didn't have long-term staying power. Lee Greenwood's "God Bless The USA," for example, had been his signature song for years before finally hitting a peak of No. 16 after the 9/11 attacks, but it's not the highest-charting version of the song. That honor goes to the American Idol Finalists of 2003, who took their version to No. 4.
Likewise, Elvis Presley hit No. 2 with the ballad "Can't Help Falling In Love." However, it was UB40's version that spent seven weeks at No. 1. UB40 also outdid the Temptations, peaking at No. 6 with "The Way You Do the Things You Do," while the Temptations went to No. 11.
The one that really surprised me was the Romantics' "What I Like About You." Their version didn't even make the top 40, stalling at No. 49. However, in 1989, a remake by Michael Morales reached the top 40, peaking at No. 28. Yet, I did a quick search at an online music store and found dozens of compilations that had the Romantics version, but not a one with the Morales version, even though his was the highest charting version of the song. The point being, although Kid Rock may not have the highest charting version of "All Summer Long," I would guess his version will endure in people's minds in the long run.
I'm confident that Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" will be the version we remember and the one that is played on oldies radio in 2058. The cover by the Hit Masters version is filling a void for people who want to purchase the song from iTunes, but Kid Rock's original is the version being played on the radio, in multiple formats, and is the "Summer" we'll remember.
THE TITLES THAT ARE IN VOGUE
Thanks for an always informative and entertaining Chart Beat column! On the entertaining side, I made an observation this week on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. With the debut of "Frozen" by Tami Chynn featuring Akon, there are currently three songs on the chart with identical titles to Madonna songs, but none being remakes of the Madonna titles.
In addition to "Frozen," we have "Spotlight" by Jennifer Hudson and "Angel" by Natasha Bedingfield. Let's also not forget Rihanna's "Take A Bow," which fell off the chart several weeks ago. So within the last month we've had four songs with titles of previous Madonna hits and none being a remake.
Good observation. Your e-mail may inspire artists to comb the Madonna catalog for song titles that can be attached to brand-new songs. What rhymes with “This Used to Be My Playground”?
Thank you once again for the excellent insight that you give into the world of chart achievements. Your column is a highlight every week. Now, I am writing to you for two reasons.
First, I would like to comment on Coldplay's achievement on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, with “Viva La Vida” becoming their first No. 1 (of their 12 entries) two weeks ago. It's been quite a wait!
Second, I noticed that Coldplay's “Viva La Vida” is at No. 7 on the Hot 100, No. 9 on Hot 100 Airplay and No. 7 on Hot Digital Songs. However, Katy Perry's “I Kissed a Girl” sits at No. 4 on the Hot 100, No. 11 on Hot 100 Airplay and No. 8 on Hot Digital Songs. How can Katy Perry chart higher than Coldplay if she is lower on both constituent charts? Neither artist is in the top 25 of Hot Singles Sales, but I thought the numbers from that chart are almost insignificant.
Fred, can you shed some light on how this fits together?
Thanks and regards,
The Hot 100 includes more data than sales and airplay, so looking at the component charts doesn’t always paint the complete picture of the big list. Also factored in to the Hot 100 is streaming/on-demand data from AOL and Yahoo. This week’s top 10 is very tight, and in a close race, the streaming and on-demand numbers kept Katy Perry ahead of Coldplay.