Fred discusses songwriter Smokey Robinson, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood and more!
SUPER TROUP-ER: The record for the longest span of Billboard top 10 hits by a songwriter has been shattered. A 12-8 climb for Fergie's "Clumsy" (will.i.am/A&M) gives the late Bobby Troup a top 10 hits span of 66 years, five months and four weeks. The composer of one of the coolest songs of all time, "Route 66," Troup had his first top 10 hit the week of June 7, 1941, when Sammy Kaye's recording of his song "Daddy" debuted at No. 5 on the Best Sellers in Stores chart. Two weeks later, "Daddy" began an eight-week run at No. 1.
Troup is credited on "Clumsy" because the song samples his composition "The Girl Can't Help It," the title song of a 1956 film starring Jayne Mansfield. Little Richard was in the film and charted with "The Girl Can't Help It" in January 1957.
"Clumsy" also makes chart news for Fergie, as it is her fifth top 10 hit on the Hot 100 from her debut album, "The Dutchess." She is the first female artist to pull five top 10 hits from a debut album since Paula Abdul did it 18 years ago with a quintet of songs from "Forever Your Girl." Abdul's five top 10 hits from her debut album were:
"Straight Up," No. 1 (1989)
"Forever Your Girl," No. 1 (1989)
"Cold Hearted," No. 1 (1989)
"(It's Just) The Way That You Love Me," No. 3 (1989)
"Opposites Attract," No. 1 (1990) [Paula Abdul w/the Wild Pair]
Fergie's five top 10 hits are:
"London Bridge," No. 1 (2006)
"Fergalicious," No. 2 (2007)
"Glamorous," No. 1 [Fergie featuring Ludacris] (2007)
"Big Girls Don't Cry," No. 1 (2007)
"Clumsy," No. 8 [to date] (2007)
Counting all artists, there is another act that also had five top 10 hits from a debut album almost at the same time as Abdul. That would be the dishonored duo Milli Vanilli. The five top 10 hits from their CD "Girl You Know It's True" are:
"Girl You Know It's True," No. 2 (1989)
'Baby Don't Forget My Number," No. 1 (1989)
"Girl I'm Gonna Miss You," No. 1 (1989)
"Blame It on the Rain," No. 1 (1989)
"All or Nothing," No. 4 (1990)
WHERE THERE'S SMOKEY: Bobby Troup isn't the only one extending his chart span as a songwriter this week. Smokey Robinson first charted on the Hot 100 on Oct. 5, 1959, with the song "Bad Girl," written for his group, the Miracles.
Robinson is back on the Billboard charts this week thanks to a new interpretation of his 1965 song "The Tracks of My Tears" by Boyz II Men. Now signed to the Decca imprint, Boyz II Men debut at No. 25 on the Adult Contemporary tally with "Tracks," the first single from their new album, "Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA." "Tracks" is the first Boyz II Men song to appear on the AC chart since "The Color of Love" peaked at No. 24 in 2002.
This is the second AC charting for "The Tracks of My Tears." A remake by Linda Ronstadt went to No. 4 in 1976. If the Boyz II Men version enters the Hot 100, it will be the fifth time around for this classic Motown song. The first four charted versions were by the Miracles (No. 16 in 1965), Johnny Rivers (No. 10 in 1967), Aretha Franklin (No. 71 in 1969) and Ronstadt (No. 25 in 1976). Boyz II Men were last on the Hot 100 in 2001 with "Thank You in Advance."
'NO ONE' IS NO. 1: Alicia Keys scores the third chart-topper of her career on the Hot 100, as "No One" (J) advances 2-1. Keys, who gave the J label its first No. 1 hit with "Fallin'" in 2001, also spent time in the penthouse with Usher on the 2004 duet, "My Boo." Both of her previous No. 1 songs had six-week reigns.
Keys rules the Hot 100 and The Billboard 200, as her fourth album, "As I Am," enters the album survey at the top. That gives her a perfect record, as all four of her charted albums have debuted at No. 1. Keys has accomplished this feat at regular two-year intervals, with "Songs in A Minor" (2001), "The Diary of Alicia Keys" (2003), "Unplugged" (2005) and now, "As I Am" in 2007.
'SMALL'VILLE: Carrie Underwood is No. 1 on Hot Country Songs for the 15th week. Her fourth song to go all the way is "So Small" (Arista), the first single from her new "Carnival Ride" album.
"So Small" follows Underwood's first three No. 1 hits:
"Jesus, Take the Wheel," six weeks (2006)
"Before He Cheats," five weeks (2006)
"Wasted," three weeks (2007)
Over on the Hot 100, Carrie remains on the chart for a 64th week with "Before He Cheats." A 43-47 fall might spell the end of this song's long run. If "Cheats" does fall off the list next week, it will remain in third place among the longest-running songs in this chart's 49 1/2 year history. But if "Cheats" is still on the tally next week, it will tie Jewel's "You Were Meant for Me" / "Foolish Games" for second place. LeAnn Rimes has the longest chart run, with the 69-week stay of "How Do I Live."
TRIPLE CHART THREAT: Speaking of LeAnn Rimes, she has added a new page to her list of chart records. Her latest single, "Nothin' Better to Do" (Asylum/Curb), climbs 20-19 on Adult Contemporary and 45-39 on Hot Dance Club Play and holds at No. 15 on Hot Country Songs. As far as anyone in the Billboard chart department can determine, she is the first artist to appear on all three charts simultaneously with the same song, although others, like Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, have come close.
Rimes almost accomplished this hat trick once before, but missed the triple crown by one week. "Can't Fight the Moonlight" spent its final frame on Hot Country Songs the week of Dec. 23, 2000, and entered the dance chart the following week, while remaining on the AC survey.
'FROSTY' RECEPTION: The first signs of the Adult Contemporary chart flipping to holiday tunes have arrived. The Hot Shot Debut is the new Kimberley Locke holiday recording, "Frosty the Snowman" (Curb/Reprise), at No. 22.
This is the third year in a row that Locke has charted with a Christmas-themed tune. In 2005, "Up on the Housetop" debuted at No. 31 and two weeks later was No. 1. The same thing happened in 2006 when "Jingle Bells" started at No. 17 and was in first place just two weeks later.
This year, Curb has released an entire album of holiday songs by Locke. The set is available as a digital-only release and includes "Merry Christmas Darling," "We Need a Little Christmas" and "A Holly Jolly Christmas," giving Locke enough holiday songs to rule the AC chart for years to come.
"Frosty the Snowman" is Locke's eighth song to appear on the AC chart. Half of them have been holiday songs, starting with her duet with Clay Aiken on "Silver Bells" in 2004.
Also debuting on the AC chart this week (at No. 29) is Carrie Underwood's "Do You Hear What I Hear" (BNA), the first track on the multi-artist CD "Hear Something Country" (Christmas 2007 edition).
TAYLOR MADE: There is a plethora of debuts on The Billboard 200 this week, including the latest from James Taylor. "One Man Band" is new at No. 17, making it the fourth consecutive album from Taylor to chart in the top 20 portion of the album list. Following "October Road" (No. 4 in 2002), "The Best of James Taylor" (No. 11 in 2003) and ""James Taylor at Christmas" (No. 16 in 2006), "One Man Band" gives Taylor the second set of four top 20 albums in his career and his first in just over 30 years.
From 1971 to 1975, Taylor had five consecutive top 20 albums:
"Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon," No. 2 (1971)
"One Man Dog," No. 4 (1973)
"Walking Man," No. 13 (1974)
"Gorilla," No. 6 (1975)
"In the Pocket," No. 16 (1976)
NO 'L' IN GROBAN: Josh Groban's "Noel" (143/Reprise) surges 6-2 on The Billboard 200, tying it with the 2006 release "Awake" as the second-highest charting title of Groban's career.
The only Groban album to reach a higher position is "Closer," which spent one week at No. 1 in 2004.
"Noel," Groban's sixth charted album in six years, could still achieve pole position and tie "Awake," or surpass it by remaining No. 1 for two weeks.