Fred discusses Leona Lewis, Ray J, Annie Lennox and more!

SPIRITUAL: Leona Lewis' "Spirit" (SyCo/J) floats onto The Billboard 200 at No. 1, the first debut album by a solo British-born artist to enter the chart in pole position. Lewis is only the second British-born solo female to have a chart-topping album. The Cambridge, England native Olivia Newton-John is the only other British-born solo female to lead the album list, and she did it twice, once in 1974 and again in 1975.

Here is a list of the only three albums by British-born solo female artists in the 52-year history of the Billboard album tally to reach the No. 1 spot:

"If You Love Me, Let Me Know," Olivia Newton-John (one week) Oct. 12, 1974
"Have You Never Been Mellow," Olivia Newton-John (one week) March 15, 1975
"Spirit," Leona Lewis (one week to date) April 26, 2008

Counting both genders, "Spirit" is the first No. 1 album by a solo British-born artist since Rod Stewart topped the chart with "Still the Same. . .Great Rock Classics of Our Time" in October 2006.


ALL IN THE NORWOOD FAMILY: Ray J is the second member of the Norwood family to have a No. 1 title on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, as "All I Feel" (Deja 34/Knockout/Epic) checks into the penthouse in its first chart week. Ray J's sister Brandy had a No. 1 album on this survey in 2002 with "Full Moon."

While the Norwoods now have matching No. 1 albums, that's one shy of the Jackson family's total for individual siblings. Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson have had multiple No. 1 albums on the R&B chart, and so has their brother Jermaine, who topped the list in 1980 with "Let's Get Serious" and in 1984 with an eponymous release.

"All I Feel" is Ray J's fourth album to chart. Here is how his first three albums fared:

"Everything You Want," No. 56 (1997)
"This Ain't a Game," No. 9 (2001)
"Raydiation," No. 13 (2005)


ANNIE COMES BACK: Her "Idol Gives Back" performance propels Annie Lennox onto The Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in almost 13 years. Lennox enters the chart at No. 80 with her version of Jimmy Cliff's 1969 song "Many Rivers to Cross."

While the song has been covered by many artists over the years, including Linda Ronstradt, UB40 and Cher, it has never appeared on the Hot 100 until now.

"Many Rivers to Cross" is the sixth track by Lennox away from her Eurythmics recordings to show up on the Hot 100. Three of those have been cover versions, starting with a duet with Al Green on Jackie DeShannon's "Put a Little Love in Your Heart." In 1995, Lennox went to No. 23 with a remake of the Lover Speaks' "No More 'I Love You's'." Here is a summary of Lennox's six non-Eurythmics chart entries:

"Put a Little Love in Your Heart," No. 9 (1989) [Annie Lennox & Al Green]
"Why," No. 34 (1992)
"Walking on Broken Glass," No. 14 (1992)
"Little Bird," No. 49 (1993)
"No More 'I Love You's," No. 23 (1995)
"Many Rivers to Cross," No. 80 to date (2008)


THIS IS HIS 'NOW': Also getting a chart boost from an "Idol Gives Back" performance is fifth season fourth-place finalist Chris Daughtry. His band, Daughtry, has its highest new entry on the Hot 100, thanks to the No. 18 debut of new single "What About Now." Daughtry's previous best debut was the No. 65 entry of its first single, "It's Not Over," the week of Dec. 9, 2006.

If "What About Now" climbs into the top 10, it will be the third Daughtry single to do so. "It's Not Over" peaked at No. 4 and the follow-up, "Home," went to No. 5.


'THIS' AND 'THIS':
In 12 years of charting on Hot Country Songs, Trace Adkins has had 25 chart entries and three of those have reached No. 1.

Adkins' first chart-topper was "(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing," which spent one week at No. 1 in April 1997. Then came "Ladies Love Country Boys," which ruled for two weeks in March 2007. As of this week, Adkins has his longest-reigning No. 1, since "You're Gonna Miss This" remains on top for a third week.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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