Fred and his readers discuss chart action from the Jonas Brothers, ABBA, women on the AC chart and more!

WALKING BACK TO HELEN

Hi Fred,
What happened to last week's No. 8 song? Did it fall out of the top 50?

Have you heard the music of British singer Helen Shapiro? I have only recently discovered her and I am totally blown away. A British singer from before the British invasion, she only managed to scrape onto The Billboard Hot 100 for one week, and that was in the anchor slot. Her U.K. hit "Walkin' Back to Happiness" entered the chart at No. 100, then Helen never made another appearance on a Billboard chart. She did, however, chart with a different song on Cashbox and she had a few regional hits on CHUM Radio in Toronto in the early '60s.

Craig Rowland
Mississauga, Ontario
Canada


Hi Craig,

With no airplay and relying only on sales, the Jonas Brothers' "Tonight" plunged 8-74 this week, but don't feel sorry for the boys. The single "Burnin' Up" rebounds 11-9 and "A Little Bit Longer" is a new entry at No. 11, the third Jonas Brothers track to debut inside the top 20 of the Hot 100 this year. The siblings will have an even better week coming up, as their new album is certain to debut at No. 1 on the next edition of The Billboard 200.

As for Helen Shapiro, I'm a fan. Unlike Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black or Petula Clark, Shapiro didn't cross the pond successfully, as her U.S. one-hit-wonder status proves.

I do have a number of Helen Shapiro CDs in my collection, all imports from the United Kingdom, and it's worth noting that in 1963 Helen recorded some tracks in Nashville, including a song called "It's My Party." Helen recorded her version before Quincy Jones produced the same song for Lesley Gore.

Also worth noting, Helen (or rather, her management) passed on recording "Misery," a song written for her by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who ended up recording it with their own group, the Beatles.

Shapiro had 11 chart entries on the U.K. singles tally, starting with "Don't Treat Me Like a Child," No. 3 in 1961. Later that year, her second and third hits, "You Don't Know" and "Walkin' Back to Happiness," both went to No. 1. The following year, her sixth single, "Little Miss Lonely," peaked at No. 8 and marked her last time in the top 10.

You can find videos of Helen on YouTube and you can see her in the 1962 film, "It's Trad, Dad," which shows up on television in the United States every now and then.



WOMEN POWER THE AC

Good morning Fred!

It seems as though 2008 will be filled with huge news stories, from pop artists invading the country charts, to female artists dominating the Adult Contemporary chart, and this week is no exception.

For the past 30+ weeks or so, female artists have ruled the No. 1 spot on this particular list, and the last three are newcomers within the past year. The streak began with Fergie ("Big Girls Don't Cry"), Colbie Caillat ("Bubbly"), Sara Bareilles ("Love Song") and this week Leona Lewis takes over with "Bleeding Love." I lost track of how many weeks Fergie was on top this year, but I do know if you combine the weeks Caillat and Bareilles were on top with Lewis' initial week, those three have had at least 28 weeks on top. "Bleeding Love" is also the latest in a list of songs to top the Adult Contemporary, Hot Adult Contemporary and the Hot 100 charts.

John Maverick
Burt County, Nebraska


Dear John,

Here's what I wrote in Chart Beat three weeks ago, when Sara Bareilles' "Love Song" was in its 11th week at No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart:


THE COLBIE AND SARA DUOPOLY: The debut singles by Colbie Caillat and Sara Bareilles have monopolized pole position on the Adult Contemporary chart for the last 30 weeks, the longest consecutive run at No. 1 by solo female artists in the 47-year and two-week history of this survey.

Caillat's "Bubbly" led the list for 19 weeks and was succeeded by Bareilles' "Love Song," which is still in the penthouse after 11 weeks. Before the Caillatt-Bareilles reign, the longest consecutive run by solo females on the AC chart was the 25-week rule between April 14-Sept. 29, 2001 by Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance." Dido's "Thank You," Faith Hill's "There You'll Be" and Enya's "Only Time."

The Caillat-Bareilles hold on No. 1 began the second week of 2008, meaning that female artists have held the top spot on the AC chart every week but one in this calendar year. At this point last year, male artists had led the list for 29 weeks and females for only two - the pair of non-consecutive weeks that Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten" was No. 1.

After I wrote that item, "Love Song" had two more weeks on top. Following its 13-week reign, the Bareilles hit was deposed this week by Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love," as you point out. So the solo female artist lock on the AC penthouse is extended to 33 weeks.

Fergie did have a No. 1 hit with "Big Girls Don't Cry," as you note, but after six non-consecutive weeks at the head of the class, was succeeded by Kimberley Locke's "Frosty the Snowman" and Josh Groban's "I'll Be Home for Christmas."





FOR THOSE WHO FANCY COLORING BOOKS...

Hi, Fred!

Congratulations to ABBA on being No. 1 on the Top Pop Catalog album chart. Is there any chance of "ABBA Gold" re-entering The Billboard 200?

You know, everybody has their favorite ABBA member. I wonder if many Americans know of Agnetha Faltskog's great voice on her 2004 solo album "My Colouring Book." I can't get "If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind" out of my head. But my favorite has always been Frida! Excluding her greatest hits releases, Frida has recorded in Norwegian. I don't understand a word she sings, but I love her voice!

Thank You for the Music chart news,

Jim Tierney
Grandview, Missouri


Dear Jim,

I guess no one will be surprised that I am a fan of Agnetha and Frida's solo works, given how I feel about ABBA. My collection of the distaff members of the group's solo albums and singles is close to complete and includes the 2004 release you cite, Agnetha's "My Colouring Book."

That recording ended a 17-year professional hiatus for Agnetha and included her versions of songs she loved during her formative years, including Brian Hyland's "Sealed With a Kiss," the Shangri-Las' "Past, Present and Future" and Jackie DeShannon's "When You Walk in the Room." You mentioned the first single, "If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind," which was originally recorded by Cilla Black. The title song was written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, better known as the composers of Broadway musicals like "Cabaret," "Chicago" and "The Rink." In the United States, "My Coloring Book" was a single for Sandy Stewart. Released on the Colpix label at the end of 1962, her version peaked at No. 20 on the Hot 100.

By the way, did you mean that Frida has recorded in Swedish? I'm not aware of any Norwegian recordings, even though she was born in Norway.
And as for "ABBA Gold," it's now a catalog item, so won't be returning to The Billboard 200, although like all titles on the catalog survey, the "weeks on chart" number includes time spent on The Billboard 200.



'SUMMER' TIME

Hey Fred,

Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" has entered the top 20 of the Adult Contemporary chart, matching its current top 20 status on Hot Country Songs. On the Hot 100, the Warren Zevon/Lynyrd Skynyrd-based song is nearing the top 20 even without a commercial single, and would undoubtedly reach the top 10 if a download were available. It also recently hit the top of the British charts.

With all this concurrent multi-format success (likely fueled by the seasonality of the song), I'm trying to think of the last artist to reach the top 20 of all the aforementioned charts at the same time, with the same song. Many country hits later become AC successes and/or pop hits, like when Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" passed the baton from the country to pop and AC charts, but Kid Rock's simultaneous crossover success is a rarity these days.

Following all the charts,

Vince Ripol
San Diego, Calif.


Dear Vince,

"All Summer Long" would already be a top 10 hit for Kid Rock if the track were available as a paid digital download single. The track has incredible airplay strength, but without sales points it is not reaching its full potential.

You make a good point about the concurrent multi-format popularity of "All Summer Long," which helps explain why it is receiving so much airplay.

You can add another song to the list of country tunes crossing over to pop. Carrie Underwood's "Last Name" debuts at No. 37 on the Adult Top 40 chart this week. If the track garners more airplay, it could repeat the pattern of "Before He Cheats," which had a long chart run thanks to being popular at different formats at different times.



LIVE FROM NEW YORK – NOT

Hi Fred

I'm hoping you can settle a friendly dispute regarding the first live single to go to No. 1 on the Billboard chart.

I thought it was "Fingertips - Pt 2" by Little Stevie Wonder.
My friend insists it was "Peppermint Twist – Part I" by Joey Dee and the Starliters.
Thanks for helping to resolve this.

Best Regards,

Larry Ferguson
Boulder, Colorado


Dear Larry,

You're correct. Stevie Wonder's "Fingertips – Pt 2" is the first live recording to top the Hot 100. Joey Dee and the Starliters appeared at the famous Peppermint Lounge in New York, but "Peppermint Twist – Part I" was not a live recording.

What do we win?