Fred and his readers discuss "Before He Cheats," Ricardo FLO, French acts and more!

'HEARTS' AND 'REASONS'

Hello Fred,

I regularly read your insightful Chart Beat column and Chart Beat Chat and I always find interesting and useful information worth sharing with friends, [but] this is my first inquiry of you.

A few months ago my friend Eduardo from Costa Rica shared with me your column about Carrie Underwood's song "Before He Cheats" and its journey toward setting the record for the longest-running Billboard Hot 100 single of the 21st century. Week after week as we watched "Before He Cheats" remain on the chart, you made it exciting for your readers to keep watching.

When "Before He Cheats" fell below the top 50 on the Hot 100 it was no longer eligible to remain on the chart and [it failed to] become the all-time champ. However, you gave us the good news that "Before He Cheats" was the longevity champion of this century.

Carrie Underwood performed this song on the Grammy Awards and was presented a Grammy for female country vocal performance for "Before He Cheats." Songwriters Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins won a Grammy for country song of the year for "Before He Cheats," so this song has more than earned this [longevity] record.

This leads to my questions. "Before He Cheats" is from Carrie Underwood's seven-times-platinum debut album "Some Hearts," which is still on The Billboard 200 in its 118th week. The only other current album with a longer stay on The Billboard 200 is Nickelback's "All the Right Reasons" in its 124th week.

Are these two albums approaching some kind of record? Could you tell us what the top record-holding albums are?

Thank you for your valued research, I can't wait to share it with others who are interested.

Paula Draper
Los Angeles, Calif.


Dear Paula,

I'm glad you enjoy Chart Beat and Chart Beat Chat and thanks for your first e-mail.

Under current chart policies, long-running albums are moved to the Top Pop Catalog chart when they fall below No. 100 on The Billboard 200, so we have fewer albums remaining on the chart these days when they reach a certain age. Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" and Nickelback's "All the Right Reasons" have had exceptionally long lives among their peers, with both CDs in their third year on the chart.

However, there are a lot of albums that have had much longer chart lives. Granted, these titles were released in a time when there was no Catalog chart. Nevertheless, here are the five albums that remained on The Billboard 200 for 300 weeks or more:

741 weeks: "The Dark Side of the Moon," Pink Floyd
490 weeks: "Johnny's Greatest Hits," Johnny Mathis
480 weeks: "My Fair Lady," Original Cast
331 weeks: "Highlights from 'The Phantom of the Opera'," Original Cast
302 weeks: "Tapestry," Carole King

These totals are just for chart runs on The Billboard 200 and do not include weeks on the Pop Catalog Albums tally.



MUCH ADO ABOUT 'DON'T KNOW'

Dear Fred,

Last week [an artist named] Ricardo FLO visited my website that I once wrote to you about. I did some research and found that his single "Dey Don't Know" was No. 8 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales chart, yet it was not even in the top 50 of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart that week. I don't understand how a single could sell so well, yet not chart in the top 50. I mean, sales launched "Beautiful Liar" by Beyonce and Shakira from 94-3 in a single week, so how could sales not help "Dey Don't Know"?

Sincerely,
William Raney
Carmi, Ill.


Dear William,

Ricardo FLO is half of the duo Platinum Souls. The pair's "Dey Don't Know" peaked at No. 2 on the Hot R&B Singles Sales chart dated Feb. 9. The song had a three-week non-consecutive run on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in December 2007 and January of this year, spending one week at No. 100, one week at No. 99 and one week at No. 98 (though not in that order).

As you know, sales of physical CDs are way down from what they once were, as most people purchase singles as paid digital downloads. So the number of physical CDs sold each week is very small, and the sales chart you refer to only measures sales of physical singles, not paid downloads.

There are some singles that sell in mass quantities, like "Beautiful Liar" by Beyonce and Shakira. But you can be No. 1 on the sales chart by selling 10,000 singles in a week or less than 1,000 in another week.

While we can't discuss sales figures in this column, I can tell you that the actual sales numbers for "Dey Don't Know" were high enough to send the song to No. 2 on the sales chart, but not high enough to move the song higher than No. 98 on the main R&B/Hip-Hop tally.

This week's No. 1 title on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales is "Swagga" by Emmanuel, but the song has fallen off Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (it was No. 66 last week). The sales numbers are simply too low for the song to register on the main chart.



QUESTION UNDERSTOOD

Hi, Fred!

I enjoy reading your columns every week and I have a question regarding French acts on the Hot 100. Does the group Santa Esmeralda ("Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" from 1977) count as a French act?

I remember the lead vocalist was from the United States but the rest of the musicians were French, they recorded in France and the producers were also French.

On a different subject, I am a big fan of Chaka Khan and I noticed that little attention was paid by the media to the two Grammys she received a couple of weeks ago:

Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals
"Disrespectful"
Chaka Khan featuring Mary J. Blige

and

Best R&B Album
"Funk This"
Chaka Khan

Can you comment on how this album and its singles are performing on Billboard's different charts?

Thank you very much.

All the best,

Fernando Jerez
Havana, Cuba


Dear Fernando,

Let's talk about the French part of your e-mail first. For readers who missed the original discussion, the charting of French-born Yael Naim on the Hot 100 inspired a reader to write to Chart Beat Chat about other French artists who have appeared on this chart over the last 50 years.

Santa Esmeralda lead singer Leroy Gomes was born in Wareham, Mass. He was working as a session musician in Paris when he met songwriters Nicolas Skorsky and Jean Manuel de Scarano. The three of them formed Santa Esmeralda.

When I determine an artist's origin, I usually use place of birth as the main criterion. I don't know where Skorsky and de Scarano were born - if they are native to France, I would consider Santa Esmeralda a French act. If anyone knows their birthplaces, or if Nicolas or Jean are reading this and want to send me an e-mail, we can clear this up.

As for Chaka Khan, her Grammy-winning "Disrespectful" did not appear on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, but did spend two weeks at No. 1 on Hot Dance Club Play. Three singles from "Funk This" charted on the R&B/Hip-Hop list. "Angel" ascended to No. 26, "You Belong to Me" (featuring Michael McDonald) settled for No. 63 and "One for All Time" is No. 35 this week. On the Adult R&B survey, "Angel" flew to No. 2 and "One for All Time" is No. 13 this week, down from its peak position of No. 12.

"Funk This" debuted and peaked at No. 15 on The Billboard 200 and No. 5 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.

For details of Chaka Khan's sales figures, see this week's Ask Billboard by clicking here.



COMPREHENSIVELY

Fred,

Thanks as always for your columns. I look forward to reading them on Fridays. For those folks who are disappointed or bothered by the fact that [Michael Jackson's] "Thriller 25" was not considered for The Billboard 200 this past week, I think it merits mentioning the Top Comprehensive Albums chart again. It is my understanding that this chart tracks all album releases, even if they are catalog or retailer-exclusive titles.

I think this chart is useful for folks like me who are interested in a very accurate listing of what the most sold albums in the country are, regardless of where and when they were released. I remember a few years back when "Grease" was re-released to theaters, the soundtrack was selling well enough to technically be in the top 10, and the same discussion came up then (I know there were additional factors in play with this Michael Jackson release).

Thank you again and keep on writing!

Greg Baker
Boston, Mass.
bakerg1@gmail.com


Dear Greg,

Yes, the Comprehensive chart was designed to include albums that might not be included on The Billboard 200 because they don't meet eligibility requirements.
"Thriller 25" debuted at No. 2 last week and remains there this week, while Jack Johnson's "Sleep Through the Static" is No. 1 for a third week.