Fred and his readers discuss Garth Brooks, T-Pain, "Across the Universe" and more!

FOR A GOOD CAUSE

Hello Sir,

Garth Brooks is releasing his "The Ultimate Hits" CD on Nov. 6. He announced that there will be a special pink edition for the Susan G. Komen organization. Will the sale of these CDs count toward first week sales and will Garth be able to beat the million-unit sales mark between the three versions of the CD coming out? He is doing a regular CD, a limited edition CD and now the pink CD. Thanks again for a great column.

Yours,

Dennis Berry
garthfandr@hotmail.com


Dear Dennis,

Glad you enjoy Chart Beat!

I passed your questions about the new Garth Brooks album to our director of charts and senior analyst, Geoff Mayfield. Here's what Geoff wrote in response to your e-mail:

"Will Garth Brooks new 'Hits' collection surpass one million units in its first week? If anyone can do it, he might just be the guy, but remember that the album market is a lot softer now than it was when Brooks was active. The last album to sell one million or more in a single week was 50 Cent's 'The Massacre' in March 2005. His was the first to do so since Norah Jones' 'Feels Like Home' and Usher's 'Confessions' were released in the first quarter of 2004. Kanye West came close recently when 'Graduation' opened with an impressive 957,000.

"Working in Brooks' favor is him immense popularity, proven this year when he became the first artist in the history of Hot Country Songs to garner enough radio airplay in the first week of a new single's release to debut at No. 1. With combined sales of all his albums at 66 million units to date, he is the best-selling act since Nielsen SoundScan signed on in 1991, and he spent more weeks at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 than any other artist in the '90s. And, he remains the only country artist to register a SoundScan week of one million or more, accomplished when 'Double Live' arrived in 1998.

"What might work against him is that even with four new songs on the album, his first best-of set, 'The Hits,' has already sold more than 10 million copies, and in more recent years, he released additional compilations through Wal-Mart, which likely sold millions of copies, too. So, the lingering question is, how great will demand be for this next trip to the same body of work?

"As for the 'pink' version of 'The Ultimate Hits,' that edition qualifies to count toward the new album's Nielsen SoundScan total. Billboard initiated communication between Brooks' label, Pearl, and SoundScan to see if the Susan G. Koman Foundation can report those sales in the manner required and we are hopeful of that happening.

"The 'pink' edition will also be available to concert goers who see Brooks during his extended concert run at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. Pearl is working with Nielsen SoundScan to report sales that happen at those shows."



SEVEN TOP 40 HITS FOR NAJM

Dear Fred,

Lost in all of the coverage of hip-hop singer T-Pain's chart success with multiple top 40 listings on The Billboard Hot 100 is his even greater success as a co-writer.

T-Pain, under his given name Faheem Najm, has been responsible for co-writing seven of the top 40 songs on the Hot 100 the past two weeks. In addition to the six songs on which he is billed as a lead or featured vocalist, the rapper-turned-singer also co-wrote the latest chart hit by Fabolous, "Baby Don't Go," featuring Jermaine Dupri, which is at No. 25 this week. His other current top 40 listings as a songwriter include three songs in the top 10, "Kiss Kiss" by Chris Brown, "Cyclone" by Baby Bash and "Good Life" by Kanye West - all featuring T-Pain. The three others include the former top 10 hits, "Shawty" by Plies featuring T-Pain and "Bartender" by T-Pain featuring Akon.

Najm's lone other top 40 hit this week is the fast-climbing "I'm So Hood" by DJ Khaled featuring T-Pain, the aforementioned Plies and rappers Trick Daddy and Rick Ross. And, as if all of that wasn't enough, his biggest hit, "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')" is close to returning to the top 40 after having spent seven months there earlier this year. It is hanging on in its 35th Hot 100 week at No. 43.

As far as male artists go, if the first half of 2007 belonged to Akon, then his protégé can certainly lay claim to the latter half.

Darrell Roberts
King of Prussia, Penn.


Dear Darrell,

As I writer, I appreciate your pointing out the achievement of T-Pain, a.k.a. Faheem Najm, as a songwriter. His success as an artist tends to soak up all of the attention, but we should celebrate his writing success as well.



FINALLY, ANOTHER LETTER FROM CYNAN

Hi Fred,

Don't know if you noticed, but in last week's album chart, "Across the Universe" was at No. 46, with "Across the Universe" (Deluxe Edition) immediately above it at No. 45. Have two versions of the same album ever been in consecutive chart positions before?

Have there been any unusual runs or stays at No. 1 on any of the more obscure charts? For instance, how many weeks at No. 1 has Enya's "Amarantine" had on Top New Age Albums, as it approaches its two-year anniversary?

This is the first time I've written to you since around May 1982 with a correction about Huey Lewis & The News - which made it into the print version of Billboard. I believe that gives me a Chart Beat career span of 25 years and five months. :-)

Keep up the great work, and long may you continue to entertain us.

Cynan Rees
Cork, Ireland
cynanrees@gmail.com


Dear Cynan,

Thanks for writing again. If you keep up your current schedule, your next e-mail will be arriving in May 2033 (but please feel free to write sooner).

I did notice the adjacent positions of the "Across the Universe" soundtrack and the deluxe edition of the same album. One reason that I didn't write about it in Chart Beat is that to find other instances, if they exist, I would have to do a manual search through every album chart, going back to 1956. That's beyond the time and scope of Chart Beat Chat.

Enya's albums have a history of dominating the New Age album chart. Five of her CDs have reached pole position and the shortest reign any of them had was 37 weeks. Here is a summary of her five No. 1 albums and how long they remained in the top spot, with original peak year.

"Shepherd Moons," 29 weeks (1992)
"The Memory of Trees," 37 weeks (1996)
"Paint the Sky with Stars - The Best of Enya," 43 weeks (1998)
"A Day Without Rain," 93 weeks (2000)
"Amarantine," 80 weeks (2005)