Keith answers readers' questions on Whitney Houston, Salt-N-Pepa and Kylie Minogue.

This week we are doing something a bit different. For our first two topics, we are revisiting two questions from the past.

RETURN OF THE SHAKERS

Last year, Jeff Savage of Salisbury, Md. posed this question in the May 23, 2006 edition of "Ask Billboard:"

"Can you tell me if TLC is going to record with the girl who won last summer on (the TV show) 'R U the Girl?' I thought she was to record a song with Chilli and T-Boz for a greatest hits CD."

"Also, are there any plans to release a greatest hits CD for Salt-N-Pepa?"

The TLC question was easy enough to answer, but here was our response to the Salt-N-Pepa equation:

"As for Salt-N-Pepa, the hip-hop trio still doesn't have a U.S. greatest hits album on the market. In 2000, 'The Best Of' was released outside America, but it has since gone out of print."

"Universal didn't respond to our request for a comment. However, one can imagine that the company would have already released a Salt-N-Pepa hits album if they could. There is likely some contractual wrangling that might need to be done in order to get a hits album on the market."

"After all, considering Universal has released 400 '20th Century Masters Millennium Collection' albums (its affordably priced hits series), it's a safe bet that if they could, they'd put out one devoted to Salt-N-Pepa."

Well, get excited all you Salt-N-Pepa fans, as the legendary rap trio's very first U.S. greatest hits album has finally (finally!) been released. (No doubt the album was released to capitalize on the current VH1 program "The Salt-N-Pepa Show.")

The act's "The Best of Salt-N-Pepa: 20th Century Masters - Millennium Collection" bowed on Oct. 23 exclusively through Circuit City. The 11-track album boasts such hits as "Shoop," "Push It," "Whatta Man" and "Let's Talk About Sex." The album will be available through all retailers early next year.

Here is the tracklist for "The Best Of Salt-N-Pepa: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection," along with each song's respective peak on The Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

1. Push It (No. 19, No. 28)
2. My Mic Sounds Nice (Did Not Chart, No. 41)
3. Tramp (Did Not Chart, No. 21)
4. Shake Your Thang (featuring E.U.) (Did Not Chart, No. 4)
5. Get Up Everybody (Get Up) (Did Not Chart, No. 14)
6. Let's Talk About Sex (No. 13, No. 51)
7. Expression (No. 26, No. 8)
8. Shoop (No. 4, No. 3)
9. Whatta Man (Salt-N-Pepa featuring En Vogue) (No. 3, No. 3)
10. None of Your Business (No. 32, No. 57)
11. R U Ready (Did Not Chart)

While we can complain about a number of hit singles that are absent ("Do You Want Me," "You Showed Me," "Gitty Up," "Ain't Nuthin' But A She Thing"), this hits package is a good introduction to the some of the biggest hits of the rap trio's career.

Perhaps if this set does well, and the ratings are good for the group's VH1 show, we may see a more complete and authoritative Salt-N-Pepa hits package down the road. Or hell, even a new studio album from the ladies!



WHIT'S HITS

While we're in the Way Back Machine, let's talk about a favorite topic of folks who write in: Whitney Houston.

Last we discussed Houston, back on Jan. 9, 2006, she was still allegedly at work on a studio album.

Time has passed and there is still no concrete news about a new studio album from Houston.

However, fans in the U.K. can take a bit of solace in the fact that a new greatest hits album, "The Ultimate Collection," was released there on Oct. 29.

The 18-track single-disc album clocks in at just under 80 minutes and features 14 top 10 U.K. singles. Only two of Houston's top 10 Official U.K. Chart hits are missing from the set ("Love Will Save The Day" and "Could I Have This Kiss Forever").

Here is the tracklist for "The Ultimate Collection" along with each song's peak on the Official U.K. Singles Chart.

1. I Will Always Love You (No. 1)
2. Saving All My Love For You (No. 1)
3. Greatest Love Of All (No. 8)
4. One Moment In Time (No. 1)
5. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) (No. 1)
6. How Will I Know (No. 5)
7. So Emotional (No. 5)
8. When You Believe (Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston) (No. 4)
9. Where Do Broken Hearts Go (No. 14)
10. I'm Your Baby Tonight (No. 5)
11. Didn't We Almost Have It All (No. 14)
12. Run To You (No. 15)
13. Exhale (Shoop Shoop) (No. 11)
14. If I Told You That (Whitney Houston / George Michael) (No. 9)
15. I Have Nothing (No. 3)
16. I'm Every Woman (No. 4)
17. It's Not Right (But It's OK) (No. 3)
18. My Love Is Your Love (No. 2)

U.S. based fans shouldn't fret about having to spend money on an expensive import album. Last we checked, Amazon.com was selling the import set for less than $15.



'X' MARKS THE SPOT

Finally, we have a new question about one of "Ask Billboard's" most popular topics.

Hi Keith,

As always I enjoy reading your column and although I haven't written to you in a long time, I could not resist asking you about Kylie Minogue's new album "X."

I just heard her comeback single, "2 Hearts," and I think it's a departure from the dance-oriented singles she has had in the past, but I totally like it.

My question in particular is how many albums has she sold in the United States since Soundscan began tracking sales in 1991?

Also, I know so far there is no U.S. release date set for "X" and it would be a shame to deprive her fans in the U.S. from her music. I hope her record label finds a date for it in the new year.

Thanks,

Jaime Puentes
Toronto, Ontario

Hi Jaime,

First of all, "X" will indeed be released in the U.S.! It's scheduled to come out in February 2008. That will give Minogue and her label, Capitol, enough time to properly promote the American release of the album.

Right now, they are focusing on territories outside of the U.S. The album, her tenth studio effort, will be released on Nov. 26 in the U.K. Minogue has sold 1.4 million albums in the U.S. since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. Her biggest seller is of course 2001's "Fever," has has moved 1.1 million.


Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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