Chart Beat

Fred discusses Usher's "Love in This Club," American 'Idols,' Janet Jackson and more!

'CLUB' PLAY: Adding sales to airplay can be like adding Mentos to Diet Coke. The resulting explosion has carried "Love in This Club" (LaFace) by Usher featuring Young Jeezy from 51-1 on The Billboard Hot 100. That's the third biggest jump to No. 1 in the almost 50-year history of the chart. The three biggest jumps are:

64-1: "Makes Me Wonder," Maroon 5 (May 5, 2007)
52-1: "A Moment Like This," Kelly Clarkson (Oct. 5, 2002)
51-1: "Love in This Club," Usher featuring Young Jeezy (March 15, 2008)

"Love in This Club" is the eighth No. 1 for Usher and the fastest-rising song of his career. "Club" reaches the top of the chart in its third week. Here's how that meteoric rise compares to Usher's seven other No. 1 hits:

"Nice & Slow," four weeks to reach No. 1 (1998)
"U Remind Me," four weeks to reach No. 1 (2001)
"U Got It Bad," 13 weeks to reach No. 1 (2001)
"Yeah!," eight weeks to reach No. 1 (2004) [Usher featuring Lil John and Ludacris]
"Burn," 11 weeks to reach No. 1 (2004)
"Confessions Part II," 13 weeks to reach No. 1 (2004)
"My Boo," eight weeks to reach No. 1 (2004) [Usher and Alicia Keys]

"Club" is the first No. 1 for Young Jeezy. His highest-ranked song on the Hot 100 until this week was "Soul Survivor," a No. 4 hit in 2005 that featured Akon. The Southern rapper has had eight chart entries, five of which featured him as the lead singer.


LIVING FOR TODAY: As noted previously in this column, it's too early for a seventh season "American Idol" contestant to appear on a Billboard chart - that probably can't happen until a single is released by the winner (and the runner-up). But it's not too early for someone from the current group to have an influence on one of our charts. It happened two weeks ago when "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen returned to Hot Digital Songs after Michael Johns performed it on the show. This week, John Lennon's "Imagine" re-enters that same chart at No. 47 following a stunning performance by 17-year-old David Archuleta.

This is the second week for Lennon's "Imagine" on Hot Digital Songs. The track debuted at No. 53 the week of Sept. 1, 2007.

Archuleta's version may have outsold the original, but we have no way of knowing. David's "Imagine" is available exclusively at iTunes, but sales of current Idol tracks are not reported or charted.


COUNTING ON CARRIE: By the time David Archuleta does collect his first No. 1 on a Billboard chart - and does anyone doubt he will? - the "American Idol" franchise may be approaching its 200th chart-topper. Since I haven't reported the number in some time, you may have thought I stopped counting. But I didn't.

This week, Carrie Underwood's "All-American Girl" (Arista) advances 5-1 on Hot Country Songs. It's the fifth chart-topper for Carrie on this tally, and it's the 172nd No. 1 for the TV series, counting all national, domestic charts compiled by the Billboard Information Group. If you add up all the weeks those singles and albums have been No. 1, the total is now 677 weeks, many of which, of course, were concurrent.
Here is an updated list of how many No. 1s each Idol has had to date:

Kelly Clarkson - 45
Carrie Underwood - 29
Fantasia - 20
Chris Daughtry (Daughtry) - 17
Ruben Studdard - 15
Clay Aiken - 10
Kimberley Locke - 7
Josh Gracin - 6
Mandisa - 6
Taylor Hicks - 3
Elliott Yamin - 3
American Idol Finalists - 2
Bo Bice - 2
Paris Bennett - 1
Bucky Covington - 1
Diana DeGarmo - 1
Tamyra Gray - 1
William Hung - 1
Jennifer Hudson - 1
Kellie Pickler - 1


This is the 18th week on top for Underwood on Hot Country Songs, and here's how the numbers add up:

"Jesus, Take the Wheel," six weeks (2006)
"Before He Cheats," five weeks (2006)
"Wasted," three weeks (2007)
"So Small," three weeks (2007)
"All-American Girl," one week to date (2008)

Just counting the 18 year-period that Hot Country Songs has been based on airplay information from Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems, Underwood has the second-highest total of weeks at No. 1 for a solo female artist. The only woman with more weeks at No. 1 in this time frame is Faith Hill, with 30. In third place is Jo Dee Messina with 15.

No other solo female artist has had as many No. 1 hits as Underwood on the country chart in this century. There is a three-way tie for second place, with three No. 1s each for Hill, Messina and Sara Evans.

Carrie made her first appearance on Hot Country Songs the week of June 11, 2005, with "Bless the Broken Road," a cover of the Rascal Flatts song that featured the group. Just counting the time from June 11, 2005 to this week, only one artist has had more No. 1 country hits than Underwood: Brad Paisley with six. Tied with Underwood is Kenny Chesney, who has also had five No. 1s in that specific span of time.

"All-American Girl" is the third song to achieve pole position on Hot Country Songs in 2008 and the first by a female artist. The first two chart-toppers of the calendar year were "Letter to Me" by Paisley and "Cleaning This Gun (Come On in Boy)" by Rodney Atkins.


CONTROLLING THE CHART: Janet Jackson's first album for Island is her 11th to chart on The Billboard 200 and her sixth to lead the list. "Discipline" is her first No. 1 set in seven years; she last visited the penthouse in May 2001 with "All for You."

Janet's next two releases, "Damita Jo" and "20 Y.O.," both peaked at No. 2. "Discipline" joins a list of chart-topping titles that includes:

"Control," two weeks (1986)
"Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814," four weeks (1989)
"janet.," six weeks (1993)
"The Velvet Rope," one week (1997)
"All for You," one week (2001)
"Discipline," one week to date (2008)

Janet's eponymous debut LP, released in 1982, peaked at No. 63. Two years later, "Dream Street" drove to No. 147. Then came "Control," the first of nine albums in a row to make the top three of The Billboard 200.

With "Discipline" on the chart, Jackson's chart span expands to 23 years, four months and three weeks.

While a second and third single from this latest CD have gone to radio, the first single, "Feedback," surges on the Hot 100 this week, thanks to the release of the album and the availability of a digital download. After peaking at No. 51 the week of Jan. 26, "Feedback" loops 53-19, making it Janet's highest-charting title on the Hot 100 since "Someone to Call My Lover" sailed to No. 3 the week of Sept. 1, 2001.

"Feedback" is Janet's 39th charted single and her 29th to reach the top 20. If "Feedback" has enough power to reach the top 10, it will be Janet's 28th song to reach that elite portion of the chart.


THIS SHOW'S GOT LEGS: By entering The Billboard 200 at No. 26, "Disney's The Little Mermaid" (Disney Broadway) is the second highest-charting Broadway cast album of the last 25 years. Only "Rent," which debuted and peaked at No. 19 the week of Sept. 14, 1996, has achieved a higher ranking.

"Mermaid" follows in the footsteps of two previous Disney cast albums. "The Lion King" leapt to No. 162 in December 1997 and "Tarzan" swung to No. 170 in July 2006.

The Broadway cast version of "Mermaid" surpasses the peak position of the original motion picture soundtrack, which swam to No. 32 in 1990.

On Top Cast Albums, "Mermaid" enters at No. 1 and is the first Walt Disney album to top this chart. Since this survey was introduced in January 2006, there have only been four other weeks when "Wicked" or "Jersey Boys" was not No. 1. Here are the albums that aren't "Wicked" or "Jersey Boys" that have claimed first place on the cast chart:

"The Color Purple," one week (2006)
"Harry on Broadway, Act I/The Pajama Game," one week (2006)
"Spring Awakening," one week (2007)
"Legally Blonde: The Musical," one week (2007)
"Disney's The Little Mermaid," one week to date (2008)


NICK AND VALERIE: I have always loved the songs of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, going back to their Motown days when they penned classics like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "You're All I Need to Get By." After departing Berry Gordy's label, and before they hit with "Solid" on Capitol, the husband-and-wife team spent eight years recording as artists on the Warner Bros. label.

Ashford and Simpson return to the Billboard charts as artists this week, with a No. 21 debut on Top Electronic Albums for "The Warner Brothers Years: Hits, Remixes and Rarities" (Rhino). It's the first appearance for the duo on any Billboard chart since July 1997, when the single "What If," recorded with Maya Angelou, stopped at No. 94 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

As artists, Ashford and Simpson first charted the week of Oct. 20, 1973, with their Warner Bros. LP "Gimme Something Real" on the R&B album chart. That gives the couple a career span as artists of 34 1/2 years.


HOT STUFF: "I'm a Fire" (Burgundy) by Donna Summer brings the disco diva back to the Hot Dance Club Play chart after an absence of over two years. Debuting at No. 28, "Fire" marks Summer's first appearance on this list since "I Got Your Love" went to No. 4 in December 2005.

"Fire" is Summer's highest new entry on Club Play since "This Time I Know It's for Real" also started at No. 28 the week of June 17, 1989.

Billboard's disco chart was on hiatus when Summer made her breakthrough in America with "Love to Love You Baby" in 1975. Once the chart resumed in 1976, Summer made her debut the week of Oct. 9, 1976, with all cuts from her album "Four Seasons of Love." That gives Summer a Club Play chart span of 31 years, six months and one week.


'AIR' PLAY: Jordin Sparks raises the bar on the Hot 100, where her duet with Chris Brown, "No Air" (19/Jive), becomes her highest-ranked single to date.
In its ninth chart week, "No Air" floats 13-6, besting the No. 8 peak of "Tattoo" the week of Dec. 29, 2007.

"No Air" is the fifth title by Sparks to appear on the Hot 100. She made her debut nine months ago with a pair of songs, "This Is My Now" and a cover of Ben E. King's "I Who Have Nothing." The former was the song Sparks performed on the sixth season finale of "American Idol" and it peaked at No. 15. The latter only went to No. 80.

"No Air" is the 11th of Brown's 12 chart entries. Only three of those 12 have peaked higher than "No Air." "Run It!" spent five weeks at No. 1 at the end of 2005, "Kiss Kiss" was No. 1 for three weeks in November 2007 and "With You" peaked at No. 2 one month ago.


YEAR TWO: Fantasia's "When I See U" (J), in danger of being removed from Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs two weeks ago, is safe from elimination thanks to a rebound to No. 43. The single is in its 53rd chart week, and is one of 14 hits to remain on the chart longer than one year:

75 weeks: "Be Without You," Mary J. Blige
71 weeks: "You Make Me Wanna...," Usher
70 weeks: "Step in the Name of Love," R. Kelly
68 weeks: "Can't Let Go," Anthony Hamilton
63 weeks: "In My Bed," Dru Hill
60 weeks: "Looking for You," Kirk Franklin
60 weeks: "Too Close," Next
57 weeks: "I Wanna Know," Joe
56 weeks: "If I Ain't Got You," Alicia Keys
56 weeks: "Get Low," Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz featuring Ying Yang Twins
56 weeks: "Lost Without U," Robin Thicke
55 weeks: "Please Don't Go," Tank
54 weeks: "Find Myself in You," Brian McKnight
53 weeks: "When I See U," Fantasia

"When I See U" has surpassed the 52-week run of Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together," pushing Fantasia into third place among female artists with the longest-running songs in this chart's history. Only Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys rank above her.


'LOW' RIDES INTO RECORD BOOKS: "Low" (Poe Boy/Atlantic) by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain may have moved out of the penthouse of the Hot 100, but the song still occupies the top floor of the Hot Rap Songs chart, where it is No. 1 for the 11th consecutive week.

It is the longest-running No. 1 on the rap list since Terror Squad's "Lean Back" ruled for 12 weeks in 2004.
"Low" is now the seventh longest-running No. 1 in the history of this chart. If it can remain on top for two more weeks, it will move up to third place:

17 weeks: "Back That Thang Up," Juvenile featuring Mannie Fresh and Lil' Wayne (1999)
14 weeks: "Always on Time," Ja Rule featuring Ashanti (2001)
12 weeks: "Put It on Me," Ja Rule featuring Lil' Mo and Vita (2001)
12 weeks: "Work It," Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott (2002)
12 weeks: "In Da Club," 50 Cent (2003)
12 weeks: "Lean Back," Terror Squad (2004)
11 weeks: "Low," Flo Rida featuring T-Pain (2008)