Chart Beat

Fred discusses the Temptations, Carrie Underwood, Chubby Checker and more!

PRIME NUMBERS: With new acts charting all the time, it's easy to forget about a group with a legacy as long and as strong as the Temptations. But the quintet, once known as the Primes and once part of the Motown family, keeps charting on a regular basis, making itself very present on the Billboard charts.

The latest CD by the Temptations, "Back to Front" (New Door), enters The Billboard 200 at No. 108.

After a gap of more than 10 years, the Temptations last returned to The Billboard 200 in 1998 with "Phoenix Rising," an album that peaked at No. 44. Since that return, seven more albums by the group have charted, bringing their career total to 50.

The first of those 50 charted titles was "Meet the Temptations," which bowed the week of May 9, 1964. That gives the Temptations an album chart span of 43 1/2 years.

On Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, "Back to Front" is a new entry at No. 19. It is the third consecutive top 20 album for the Temptations on this chart, following "Legacy" (No. 18 in 2004) and "Reflections" (No. 14 in 2006). This is the first time the group has put together a string of three consecutive top 20 albums since 1976. Between their R&B album chart debut in 1965 and 1976, the Temptations had 29 consecutive top 20 albums, 28 of which made the top 10 ("House Party," the lone exception, peaked at No. 11 in 1976). The Temptations' first 10 albums all went to No. 1.

'RIDE' TO THE TOP: Given its multi-platinum success, the number of hit singles included within and its lengthy chart run, it's difficult to believe that "Some Hearts" by Carrie Underwood has never spent even one week in pole position on The Billboard 200. And yet, the highest rank this debut album ever achieved was No. 2, its position the week it entered the chart on Dec. 3, 2005. This week, the album rebounds 81-60 in its 102nd week on the tally. At the same time, Underwood's second album, "Carnival Ride" (Arista), is a new entry at No. 1.

That's just part of the good news for Underwood on the current crop of charts. The first single from her new CD, "So Small," moves into the top three on Hot Country Songs. That means all of the songs from Underwood's first two albums that have been actively promoted to radio as singles have made the top three.
On the Hot 100, "So Small" is suddenly big again, as it rockets 36-20. That almost matches its peak position of No. 17, achieved the week of Sept. 15.

Meanwhile, "Before He Cheats" continues to rebound, moving 40-37 in its 61st chart week. It is now just two weeks away from becoming the longest-running Hot 100 entry of this century and it is now in fourth place among the longest-running Hot 100 songs of all time. The top four:

69 weeks: "How Do I Live," LeAnn Rimes (1997)
65 weeks: "You Were Meant for Me" / "Foolish Games," Jewel (1997)
62 weeks: "You and Me," Lifehouse (2005)
61 weeks: "Before He Cheats," Carrie Underwood (2007)

Over on Top Country Albums, Underwood's "Carnival Ride" also debuts at No. 1. This is the second chart-topper for Carrie on this survey; "Some Hearts" has spent 27 weeks in the penthouse and is still high on the list. This week, it earns Greatest Gainer honors and a backward bullet as it moves 12-13.

PLANT AND KRAUSS: While Carrie Underwood has the top debuting album on The Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums, the team of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss has the album that debuts at No. 2 on both charts. "Raising Sand" (Rounder) gives these two artists their highest-ranking albums on both charts under their own names.

While she has been charting on The Billboard 200 since 1995, Krauss did not achieve top 10 status until her most recent entry, "A Hundred Miles or More: A Collection" debuted and peaked at No. 10 in April. On Top Country Albums, where she has been charting since 1991, her highest-ranking title is "Now That I've Found You: A Collection," which went to No. 2 in June 1995.

"Raising Sand" marks the first appearance of Plant on the country album survey. On The Billboard 200, Plant has been charting under his own name since 1982. His highest position before "Raising Sand" was the No. 4 peak of "No Quarter" in 1994. Some 10 years earlier, he also peaked at No. 4 with "Volume One," a one-off side project by the Honeydrippers.

Of course, Plant has been to the top of The Billboard 200 seven times as a member of Led Zeppelin.

THREE FOR THE COUNTRY: Alright, let's review. Carrie Underwood debuts at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss debut at No. 2 on both charts. And entering at No. 3 on both album tallies is "Living Hard" (MCA) by Gary Allan.

That makes this week's Billboard 200 the first to have three country artists debut in the top three positions.

'DOWN' IS UP: A few weeks ago I reported that Chubby Checker had his first top 10 hit on a Billboard chart since "Limbo Rock" went to No. 2 on the Hot 100 in 1962.

Checker has upped the ante, as his current single, "Knock Down the Walls" (TEEC), re-enters the Hot Dance Singles Sales chart at No. 1. It is the first time Checker has topped a Billboard chart since "The Twist" returned to No. 1 on the Hot 100 in January 1962. His gap between No. 1s on these different charts is 45 years, nine months and three weeks.

FIVE FOR FERGIE: "The Dutchess" album continues its march into chart history, as the fifth single from Fergie's debut set advances 45-28 on the Hot 100. "Clumsy" ( follows "London Bridge" (No. 1), "Fergalicious" (No. 2), "Glamorous" (No. 1) and "Big Girls Don't Cry" (No. 1) to give Fergie five top 40 hits from this album.

Fergie is the first solo female artist to pull five top 40 hits from a debut album since Toni Braxton did it in 1993-94 with her eponymous debut. The "Toni Braxton" album included "Love Shoulda Brought You Home" (No. 33), "Another Sad Love Song" (No. 7), "Breathe Again" (No. 3), "You Mean the World to Me" (No. 7) and the two-sided hit "I Belong to You" / "How Many Ways" (No. 28).

If "Clumsy" equals the success of the first four singles from "The Dutchess," Fergie would end up with five top two hits from her debut album.

THIS 'KISS': As predicted last week, "Kiss Kiss" (Jive) by Chris Brown featuring T-Pain leads the Hot 100. It is the second No. 1 for both artists. Brown had his first chart-topper two years ago this month when "Run It!" began its five-week reign. T-Pain was No. 1 just six months ago when "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')" spent one week in first place.

"Kiss Kiss" is the 16th No. 1 of 2007 on the Hot 100. Last year, the 16th song to move into the top spot was "My Love" by Justin Timberlake featuring T.I. That single took the lead exactly one year ago.

And "Kiss Kiss" is the 15th No. 1 for the Jive label. The logo's first No. 1, "Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)" by Billy Ocean, topped the Hot 100 23 years ago this week.

TWIN PEAKS: Latin star Juanes reaches new heights on both the Hot 100 and The Billboard 200. On the singles chart, his "Me Enamora" (Universal Latino) zooms 87-69. His two previous chart entries, "La Camisa Negra" and "Lo Que Me Gusta A Mi" peaked at Nos. 89 and 94, respectively.

On the album chart, Juanes' new CD, "La Vida... Es Un Ratico," enters at No. 13. That's far superior to the No. 110 peak of "Un Dia Normal" and the No. 33 ranking of "Mi Sangre."

FOREVER YOUNG: For the third time in this millennium, Neil Young has two albums debut on The Billboard 200 in a calendar year. "Chrome Dreams II" (Reprise) is new at No. 11. In March, "Live at Massey Hall 1971" bowed at No. 6.
Young also had double chart entries in 2000 and 2006.

Since his solo album career began in 1969, Young has also had two albums debut in the same calendar year in 1972, 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1983.

"Chrome Dreams II" is the 41st charted album by Young, away from his work with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.