Fred and his readers discuss chart action from ABBA, DMB, Kid Rock and more!
STRIVING FOR LEVEL 42
Congratulations to Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, who as songwriters simultaneously topped the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic last week with different releases (the "Mamma Mia!" soundtrack in the United States, and "ABBA Gold" in the United Kingdom). Benny and Björn also topped both singles charts simultaneously with different releases back in 1977 when "Dancing Queen" was top of the U.S. chart while "Knowing Me, Knowing You" was No. 1 in the United Kingdom. While topping the charts in both countries simultaneously with the same release is not uncommon, being No. 1 with different releases is rare, and I can't recall any other songwriters (or artists) achieving the feat on both the singles and albums charts, although the Beatles probably did.
I should also mention that "ABBA Gold" has now held down every position on the U.K. top 75 album chart except No. 42, which it tantalizingly missed by one place on re-entering at No. 43 seven weeks ago.
"ABBA Gold" descends 1-2 on this week's U.K. album chart, so we can hold out hope for it make a stop at No. 42 on its way down.
This is certainly turning out to be a good year for Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, certainly the best chart year in America, 34 years after they first appeared on The Billboard Hot 100 with "Waterloo."
Yesterday I had lunch with a friend who told me that his six-year-old daughter has just discovered ABBA, thanks to seeing the movie "Mamma Mia!" She's asked her dad if she can listen to all of his ABBA albums and wants him to find his DVD of all their videos. And she's been singing songs like "Honey, Honey" into her plastic microphone. So if all those kids who discovered ABBA when the A-Teens have grown up, we're ready for a whole new generation of ABBA fans.
THINKING OF 'MORE'
Hi Fred –
Looking at The Billboard 200 album chart, I noticed five former No. 1 albums in the top 10. Has this occurred before, or have we had more No. 1s occupying the top 10 before?
By the way, I'm a big ABBA fan and love all the chart attention they are receiving these days. Do you know if "More ABBA Gold" is still in circulation?
There is something special about this week's album chart. The top seven titles on The Billboard 200 have all spent time at No. 1, the first time this has happened in recent memory, going all the way back to 1963 when the separate mono and stereo album charts were combined into one tally.
I was at the Universal Music office in Stockholm this week and was given a copy of the new edition of "More ABBA Gold," so I passed your question along to the marketing manager in charge of the ABBA catalog, and she told me that "More ABBA Gold" should be in circulation all over the world.
THINKING OF MOORE
Hi Fred -
In reading about the big "Crush" tunes that have graced the top 3 of the Hot 100, I was reminded of the Dave Matthews Band song called "Crush." As many of your readers know by now, LeRoi Moore, the band's saxophonist died this week due to complications from an automobile accident.
I did some research, and it turns out that "Crush" was the first Hot 100 hit for DMB, peaking at No. 75. The outfit's early tunes such as "What Would You Say," "Ants Marching," "Too Much" (co-written by Moore), "Crash (Into Me)," and "Stay (Wasting Time)" (also co-written by Moore) weren't eligible for that chart at the time due to Billboard chart policies (right?).
The DMB song that preceded "Crush" was the superb "Stay (Wasting Time)," which featured one of Moore's best saxophone performances, in my opinion.
Prior to Dec. 5, 1998, a single had to be commercially available to be eligible to chart on the Hot 100. In a major policy change, as of that first chart in December 1998, airplay-only tracks, or album cuts, could debut on the survey if they had enough radio play, whether they were available for sale as physical singles or not.
That's why the Dave Matthews Band had eight songs appear on the Hot 100 Airplay chart without crossing over to the main Hot 100, prior to "Crush" giving the DMB its first chart entry on the Hot 100.
HOT SONG, 'SUMMER' ON THE CHARTS
I think it's very interesting that without iTunes and many other online legal [download] services, a song can be nothing. But I also think it's more interesting that Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" has not been made available on iTunes. This past week I've read several news articles and blogs about Kid Rock responding to criticism about boycotting iTunes.
I was just wondering what your take is on this.
Glen Carbon, Ill.
A song can be a hit with massive airplay and no sales, or with massive sales and no airplay, but it's difficult. It's easier to reach the upper portions of the chart when you have sales and airplay at the same time. Artists know that and record labels know that, and many use this knowledge to their advantage when marketing singles. But artists (and labels) have the right to not release their product to iTunes and other online sellers if they choose not to, or to release albums but not singles (you can buy all of the tracks from an album but not individual songs).
So even if I'd like to see "All Summer Long" available as a single, I'm comfortable with Kid Rock making the choices that he feels are appropriate. If having "All Summer Long" break into the top 10 of the Hot 100 was important to him, he might make a different decision.
Fueled by airplay, "All Summer Long" advances 28-25 on this week's Hot 100. That's the Kid Rock version, of course.
I have to clarify, because a cover version by an outfit known as Hit Masters enters at No. 65, based on sales strength. The Hit Masters version is for sale, and enough people purchased their version of the song to propel the song onto the chart. On Hot Digital Songs, the Hit Masters recording of "All Summer Long" debuts at No. 32. On Hot 100 Airplay, Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" is No. 4.