Fred and his readers discuss Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats," ringles, Reba McEntire and more!

WILL RINGLES STAR ON THE HOT 100?

Hi Fred,

First of all let me tell you how much I enjoy reading your column every week.

I saw that Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" single will be released as a "ringle" on Oct. 23, the same day her new album "Carnival Ride" comes out.

Assuming that "Before He Cheats" will still be in the top 50 of the Hot 100 by then, I was wondering if the ringle sales would count to help this song continue its great run on the Hot 100?

On Oct. 23, "Before He Cheats" will presumably have 59 weeks on the Hot 100 chart. I think that if the ringle sales count, this will give it a huge boost and therefore it will continue charting for more weeks to achieve an even bigger record on the Hot 100.

Thanks a lot,

Eduardo Trejos
Heredia, Costa Rica

Dear Eduardo,

I'm glad you enjoy Chart Beat Chat, and it's nice to know the column has a worldwide audience.

For readers who aren't up to speed on ringles, here's an explanation of what this new format single is, from an article written a couple of weeks ago by Billboard's Ed Christman:

"Each ringle is expected to contain three songs -- one hit and maybe one remix and an older track -- and one ringtone, on a CD with a slip-sleeve cover."

As Ed reported, the concept was developed by Sony BMG, which has scheduled 50 titles for release in October and November. The Universal Music Group is also on board, with 10-20 ringles ready for release. Major retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Amazon have all agreed to carry this new product.

Since the ringle is a new form of single, sales of ringles will count for the Billboard charts, according to our Director of Charts, Geoff Mayfield.

We'll have to wait and see how this affects Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats." The single slipped a notch, 39-40, on the Hot 100 dated Oct. 6, and is in its 56th week on the chart. That puts it in a tie for seventh place among the songs with the longest Hot 100 runs. Here is a list of singles that have spent 56 weeks or more on the Hot 100:

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)
60 weeks: "Macarena" (Bayside Boys Mix), Los Del Rio (1996)
58 weeks: "Smooth," Santana featuring Rob Thomas (1999)
58 weeks: "How to Save a Life," The Fray (2006)
56 weeks: "I Don't Want to Wait," Paula Cole (1998)
56 weeks: "The Way You Love Me," Faith Hill (2001)
56 weeks: "Before He Cheats," Carrie Underwood (2007)



FOUR OF A KIND

Dear Fred:

For the record, "Stronger" by Kanye West makes September 2007 the first calendar month since February 2004 to feature four different No. 1 hits in the same month. During the weeks that ended in February 2004, "Hey Ya!", "The Way You Move," "Slow Jamz" and "Yeah!" all graced the top of the Hot 100. Since OutKast is credited with two of those hits, one would have to rewind to July 2000 to find four different artists at No. 1 during the same month. Those four artists were Enrique Iglesias ("Be With You"), Vertical Horizon ("Everything You Want"), Matchbox Twenty ("Bent") and 'N Sync ("It's Gonna Be Me"). This statistic reminds us how rare it is these days for a song to spend two weeks or less at the top.

Thanks.

Ronnie Corker
Union City, Tenn.

Dear Ronnie,

Good catch with finding the rapid turnover of No. 1 this month. I would only dispute your last sentence, as there have been a great number of songs this year and last that have had one or two weeks stays in pole position, especially compared to the other years in this millennium.

Just nine months into 2007, there have been 11 songs that have ruled the Hot 100 for one or two weeks. Last year there were 10. That compares to two in 2005, five in 2004, three in 2003, two in 2002, five in 2001 and nine in 2000. The main reason for having so many No. 1 songs is the increase in the number of digital downloads being sold every week. That has caused a rapid turnover of chart-toppers.



REBA, KELLY, TOBY AND STING

Hi Fred!

After noting that Reba McEntire (with Kelly Clarkson) peaked at No. 2 on the Hot Country Songs list recently with a cover of Clarkson's 2005 pop smash, "Because of You," I couldn't help but notice that the last time an incident like this occurred was nearly 10 years ago when Toby Keith (with Sting) reached No. 2 on the country list with a version of Sting's No. 84 pop hit, "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying."

Speaking of Keith, unless he rebounds after a slip of 2-3, his latest country hit, "Love Me If You Can," would be the fifth country hit to peak at No. 2 in 2007 (since Keith's "A Little Too Late" in August 2006), following George Strait's "Wrapped," Keith Urban's "I Told You So," Taylor Swift's "Teardrops on My Guitar" and Reba and Kelly's "Because of You."
Hopefully Brad Paisley's "Online" can avoid the No. 2 curse and become his third consecutive No. 1, following "She's Everything" and "Ticks."

John Maverick
Burt County, Nebraska

Dear John,

I have a feeling "Online" is going all the way, so Brad Paisley may be adding another No. 1 to his collection.

Thanks for your observation about Reba & Kelly and Toby & Sting. If "Because of You" had reached No. 1, it would have been the first country remake of a pop song to top the chart since Mark Chesnutt's cover of Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" in 1999.



REBA AND FRIENDS

Hi Fred,

I love your contributions to Billboard. Always compelling!

You have given extensive coverage to Reba McEntire lately and her fans greatly appreciate it.

Here's something you probably already know. but here goes:

With upcoming and recently released CDs from Rascal Flatts, Brooks & Dunn, LeAnn Rimes and Kenny Chesney, Reba could be joined not just on "Reba Duets," her No. 1 CD, but lined up on the country album chart with four of the acts that she sings with on her disc in the top five!

Thanks,

Anthony Peoples
Moline, Ill.
apnews2me@hotmail.com

Dear Anthony,

Reba McEntire has earned all of the coverage in my column with her chart achievements, and this week is no exception.
For details of Reba's first No. 1 album on The Billboard 200 and her 10th on Top Country Albums, see this week's Chart Beat.