Keith answers readers' burning questions on Abba, "Chant: Music for the Soul," Thomas Wayne and more!

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

ABBA MIA!

Hi, Keith!

In view of the upcoming opening of the "Mamma Mia!" movie in the U.S., I was wondering if the Abba songs used in the movie (22 of them to be exact) would be eligible to chart in case they receive enough airplay or if they register enough paid digital downloads.

And if it's not too much to ask, an update on Abba's sales figures could compliment this question.

All the best,

Fernando Jerez
Havana, Cuba

Hello Fernando,

What a fitting name for a person asking an Abba-related question! ("Fernando" was a No. 13 Billboard Hot 100 hit for Abba in 1976.)

Because all of the songs on the "Mamma Mia!" film's soundtrack are new recordings by the cast of the movie, then they are eligible to chart. (If the songs had simply been old Abba hits, as performed by Abba, repackaged into a compilation, then they would not have been allowed to chart.)

So, here's to eagle-eye chart watchers hoping that "Mamma Mia!" star Meryl Streep can add yet another milestone in her list of achievements - a hit single.

As for Abba's overall album sales, the act has sold 6.7 million albums in the U.S. since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. Additionally, Abba has sold 1.4 million digital track downloads. It's biggest download seller is (pretend to be shocked) "Dancing Queen" with 456,000 downloads.



CHARTING MONKS

Hi Keith,

I noticed that "Chant: Music for the Soul" by the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz has been a hit in several European countries as has been the No. 1 album on the Top Classical Albums chart in the U.S.

Although the CD was released on July 1 and is thus eligible to chart this week, it apparently failed to make the top 100 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Was it excluded for some technical reason, or did it just not sell enough to chart?

Thanks,

Art Brewer
Plainfield, N.J.

Hi Art,

Nothing fishy is going on.

The Austrian monks, who were discovered via YouTube clips, debuted at No. 183 on the Billboard 200 with their album. (You probably didn't know this because visitors to billboard.com can see the top 100 positions of the chart for free, but have to log in to see Nos. 101-200.)

The album debuted well thanks to the act's exposure on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" program as well as features in the New York Times and Newsweek.



SUCH A 'TRAGEDY'

Keith,

I am searching for a few old songs: "Tragedy" and "Endless Sleep." These were on an old tape my mother had made from some 45 vinyl singles.

My dad said "Endless Sleep" was the first 45 he ever bought which was in 1959 (he's pretty sure). I am searching for a specific version and have looked myself and I know that the Fleetwoods sang "Tragedy" but it is not the version I am looking for.

My parents are very certain that the dates are between 1957 and 1962 (based on when my dad was in the military and when they got married and what records they owned) as to when these songs came out.

I have spent hours looking and sifting though what few records I have left and can't find the artist! I really love these songs and the tape is so scratched it's hard to hear anymore and would love to get these digitally. I am 28 and nobody I know knows anything about music of the 50s.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Chantel Taylor
Tucson, Arizona

Hi Chantel,

Thomas Wayne had a No. 5 hit with "Tragedy" in 1959. (The Fleetwoods covered the song in 1961.) Brian Hyland had a hit with the same song, but much later -- 1969.

Maybe it is the Wayne version you are looking for?

"Endless Sleep" has charted twice on our Billboard Hot 100 chart -- in 1958 by Jody Reynolds and in 1964 by Hank Williams, Jr.

Wayne's version of "Tragedy" and Reynolds' version of "Endless Sleep" are both available in the iTunes Music Store (and probably on many other online services) so you could easily play them for your Dad to see if they are the songs he is looking for.

Good luck!

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