Fred discusses Frankie Valli, Alicia Keys, Soulja Boy and more!FRANKIE IS THE WORD: This summer, a friend of mine bought tickets to see Frankie Valli at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood and at the last minute had a change of plans. He gave me his tickets and for the first time in my life, I saw Valli perform live.
It appeared to be a full house – I couldn't see an empty seat in any direction – and as I looked around, I noticed the audience wasn't made up of just baby boomers. There were kids, teenagers, and every age range from people in their 20s on up. And when Frankie sang, the audience gave him an incredibly enthusiastic reception, building to an electrically-charged finale.
It was obviously a "Jersey Boys" effect. Valli's audience isn't just the folks who grew up with the Four Seasons in the '60s, it has expanded to include fans who have come to the party because they've seen the musical life story of Frankie and his pals from Newark.
That "Jersey Boys" effect also touches The Billboard 200 this week, where Valli's new "Romancing the '60s" (Universal Motown) debuts at No. 177. It is Valli's first appearance on this tally in 29 years and his eighth solo album to chart. Valli was last on the album survey with "Frankie Valli…Is the Word" in 1978. His first solo album to chart was "Frankie Valli-Solo" in 1967. That album contained his hit single, "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." Just counting his solo work, Valli's album chart span expands to 40 years, three months and one week.
Of course, Valli's chart life didn't begin with his solo work. The first chart album by the Four Seasons, "Sherry and 11 Others," debuted exactly 45 years ago, on the chart dated Oct. 27, 1962. This week's album chart is dated Oct. 27, 2007.
But you can trace Valli's Billboard chart career even further back. He made his first appearance on a Billboard chart the week of May 26, 1956, with the single "You're the Apple of My Eye" by the Four Lovers. As any "Jersey Boys" fan knows, the Four Lovers became the Four Seasons. And for any "Jersey Boys" fans reading this item, the Broadway cast album on Rhino is No. 1 on Top Cast Albums for the ninth non-consecutive week.
‘ONE' IS ONE: Add one punctuation mark to Alicia Keys' "No One" (J) and you have "No. One," which is what the single is on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. This is the fifth chart-topper for Keys on this list. Her streak of No. 1 songs began with her very first single, "Fallin'," in 2001. The run continued with "You Don't Know My Name" (2003), "If I Ain't Got You" (2004) and the duet with Usher on "My Boo," which was No. 1 three years ago this week.
On The Billboard Hot 100, where "No One" is Keys' 12th chart entry, the single advances 8-4 to become her sixth top five hit. Should "No One" reach No. 1 on this list, it would be Keys' third chart-topper, after "Fallin'" and "My Boo."
LET'S HEAR IT FOR DENIECE: A No. 40 debut on the Adult R&B survey gives Deniece Williams her first entry on a singles chart since 1989, when "Every Moment" peaked at No. 55 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
The title that brings Williams back to a singles chart is "Grateful" (PGR), recorded with Wanda Vaughn and Sherree Brown.
‘CRANK' THAT ‘UMBRELLA': Soula Boy Tell'em remains No. 1 for the sixth week on the Hot 100 with "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" (Collipark). If Soulja Boy can occupy the penthouse for one more week, he will tie Rihanna and Jay-Z for having the longest-running No. 1 of 2007.
"Umbrella" (SRP/Def Jam), credited to Rihanna featuring Jay-Z, is the longest-running chart-topper of the calendar year, with seven weeks at the zenith. In third place is the four-week reign of "Beautiful Girls" (Beluga Heights/Epic) by Sean Kingston. The only other song to lead the list for three weeks or more is Maroon 5's "Make Me Wonder," with three weeks in pole position.
THINK ‘BLINK': On the Hot 100, 15 songs have advanced to No. 1 so far this calendar year. That's a fast pace, but not quite as rapid as the turnover on Hot Country Songs, where Kenny Chesney's "Don't Blink" (BNA) is the 22nd title to reach the summit in 2007. That's the quickest succession of No. 1 songs since 1996, when 24 songs had moved into the lead position by this same date.
Chesney has been No. 1 on the country songs chart for nine weeks this year. In March, his "Beer in Mexico" ruled for three weeks and in August-September, "Never Wanted Nothing More" was in first place for five weeks. Only one other artist has also had three chart-toppers in 2007 – Brad Paisley, whose trio of No. 1 songs made him leader of the pack for a total of five weeks.
FATHER AND DAUGHTER REUNION: Billy Ray Cyrus returns to the top 40 portion of Hot Country Songs for the first time in seven years. "Ready, Set, Don't Go" (Walt Disney), now a duet with Billy Ray's popular daughter, Miley Cyrus, takes a 48-33 hike, thanks to the father-daughter team's appearance on ABC-TV's "Dancing With the Stars."
"Ready" is Billy Ray's highest-charting song on this chart since "You Won't Be Lonely Now" peaked at No. 17 in November 2000. And "Ready" is the highest-ranked song on the Walt Disney label on Hot Country Songs since Rascal Flatts' "Life Is a Highway" (from the soundtrack to "Cars") drove to No. 18 in October 2006.
WHAT BECOMES OF THE ‘BROKEN HEART': Even before his latest single debuted on the Adult Top 40 chart, John Mayer held the record for having the most top 10 hits by a male artist. Now that his "Dreaming With a Broken Heart" (Aware) glides 11-9 to become his eighth top 10 hit, that lead is extended.
Mayer's average for top 10 hits is outstanding, since he's only had nine chart entries. His first Adult Top 40 hit was "No Such Thing," which peaked at No. 5 in August 2002. His only chart entry to miss the top 10 on this chart was "Clarity," No. 13 in April 2004. In second place among male artists with the most top 10 hits on the Adult Top 40 tally is Rob Thomas with six, which represents his entire history on this chart. His most recent top 10 hit was "Little Wonders," No. 5 in April.
ONE ‘FINE' J: The debut of "Just Fine" (Matriarch/Geffen) at No. 33 on the Adult R&B chart gives Mary J. Blige her 36th chart entry, extending her lead as the artist with the most appearances on this list. Blige made her debut on this chart in September 1993 with "Love No Limit," giving her a chart span of 14 years, one month and one week.
Remaining in second place is R. Kelly, with 32 chart entries. He was most recently on the chart with "Same Girl," a duet with Usher that peaked at No. 20 in September. Kelly first showed up on the Adult Top 40 survey three months after Blige made her debut. "Sex Me (Parts I & II)" bowed the week of Dec. 18, 1993. As Kelly is an extremely prolific artist, he could give Blige a run for her money and surpass her total of 36 chart hits.
HE'S SO FINE: The digital release of the George Harrison catalog brings the single "My Sweet Lord" back to the Billboard charts for the third time. The original Apple single debuted on the Hot 100 the week of Nov. 28, 1970, and spent four weeks at No. 1. A re-release of the single following Harrison's death resulted in a No.2 debut on Hot Singles Sales in February 2002.
This week, the digital track enters Hot Digital Songs at No. 59.