Fred and his readers discuss The Billboard Hot 100, Leona Lewis, Paul Davis (R.I.P.) and more!



I love your books and Chart Beat, just wish you were in print again.

You say the Hot 100 is based on airplay and sales, so explain how country songs with no sales can ever be ranked in the top 40 of The Billboard Hot 100?

I used to do my own charts (Airwave Airplay) from 1978-1995 and yes, some country songs made my singles chart (Super Tracks) but this was based on personal [taste], not radio airplay and sales. Some of those songs were crossover hits on my chart, while they never charted on the Hot 100. Randy Travis' "Forever And Ever, Amen" and Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart" were two of the last country songs to cross over on my chart and go to No. 1.

Buzz Seegert
Airwave Airplay

Hi Buzz,

Thanks for your e-mail, and your kind words about my books and Chart Beat.

The Hot 100 is compiled from sales and airplay information, and there was a time when a single could not chart unless it was available for sale as a commercial record. But ever since the chart rules were changed on Dec. 5, 1998, a song can chart even if it is not available for sale -- in other words, if it's an airplay-only track.

In 2000, "Try Again" by Aaliyah became the first airplay-only track to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100. It is possible to chart with sales points and no airplay points or with airplay points and no sales points if the numbers are large enough.

Also, some country songs do have sales points now, as many are available as digital downloads.


Dear Fred,

As you mentioned in Chart Beat, Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" is the first hit in more than 29 years - since the excellent "Le Freak" by Chic in 1979 - to ascend to the top of the Hot 100 in three different weeks. In fact, "Bleeding Love" and "Le Freak" are the only two hits to accomplish this feat, ever.

They are also the only two champs to replace two different songs at the top, although this is only true if we're referring to songs on a single chart run. There was another hit that dethroned two different songs, albeit on two different chart runs. Back in September 1960, Chubby Checker's "The Twist" replaced Elvis Presley's "It's Now or Never" at the summit, before descending and falling off the chart. A year and a half later, "The Twist" made a second chart run during which it returned to No. 1, replacing The Tokens' "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."

No hit in the rock era has ever returned to No. 1 (during the same chart run) after two or more other hits occupied the summit. However, in the pre-rock era three songs did it twice within the span of six weeks. In June 1941, Jimmy Dorsey's "My Sister and I" replaced Jimmy Dorsey's "Maria Elena" which then replaced Sammy Kaye's "Daddy." The following week, "My Sister and I" returned to the top, followed once again by "Maria Elena," followed once again by "Daddy." (I thank the anonymous poster at Wikipedia for this information). For chart lovers, this is the fun stuff. Thank you, Fred.

Gary Hennion
New York, N.Y.

Dear Gary,

Thank you for providing a different take on Leona Lewis’ chart feat with “Bleeding Love.” I agree, this IS the fun stuff, and one of the reasons I enjoy writing Chart Beat and Chart Beat Chat.


Hi Fred,

Thought I'd write to you, a true music fan, as I didn't see anything in Billboard regarding the passing of singer Paul Davis on April 22. Through the years, your Chart Beat column frequently mentioned the chart success of Paul's "I Go Crazy" single. I am pretty sure he had chart success with "Cool Nights" and "'65 Love Affair" - and the song I first remember by him, "Superstar."

How successful was Paul Davis overall on the singles chart?

Kind Regards,

Paul Daly
North Weymouth, Mass.

Dear Paul,

We lost two artists last week. As you noted, Paul Davis died on Tuesday. Singer Al Wilson passed away one day earlier.

Davis had 15 chart entries on the Hot 100, starting with a remake of the Jarmels’ “A Little Bit of Soap” in 1970. Davis’ first top 10 hit was “I Go Crazy,” which peaked at No. 8 in 1978 but made bigger chart news by staying on the chart for 40 weeks, a record at the time. In 1982, “Cool Night” went to No. 11, and later that year, “’65 Love Affair” peaked at No. 6.

Wilson had eight chart entries in his lifetime, starting with “The Snake” in 1968. He only had one top 10 hit – “Show and Tell,” which spent one week at No. 1 in 1974.