Chart Beat

Fred discusses Billie Holiday, Constantine Maroulis, Chaka Khan and more!

LADY DAY: There's no point in even doing any research to confirm that the record has been set for the longest gap between appearances on a Billboard singles chart. I mean, who could have a longer hiatus than 62 years, three months and two weeks?

Way, way back, on the R&B singles chart titled Most Played Juke Box Race Records dated May 12, 1945, Billie Holiday spent a week at No. 5 with "Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)." While the legendary singer has appeared on various album charts since then, she has never appeared on another singles chart until now.

The late vocalist debuts on Hot Dance Club Play at No. 42 with a remix of "But Beautiful" (Legacy/Columbia).

SEASONS CHANGE: Even though season four of "American Idol" has produced one of the franchise's most successful singers in Carrie Underwood, overall the fourth season of the popular TV series had produced fewer chart-worthy artists than all of the other seasons (not counting the most recent, as the finalists from third place and beyond haven't had an opportunity to be signed yet, until the summer tour is over).

That changes this week, as a season four contestant debuts at No. 75 on The Billboard 200 with his first album released under his own name. Actually, Constantine Maroulis is only using his first name on his self-titled CD. That makes the sixth-place finalist from season four the 31st singer from the series to appear on a Billboard chart.

Constantine is the fourth season four competitor to chart, equaling the number of season two contestants who have appeared on Billboard charts. Season five remains the most successful year in terms of producing the highest number of charting artists. Eight of the season five contestants have already charted. Here is an updated breakdown of charted singers season by season:

Season one: (five)
Kelly Clarkson
Justin Guarini
Tamyra Gray
R.J. Helton
Jim Verraros

Season two: (four)
Ruben Studdard
Clay Aiken
Kimberley Locke
Josh Gracin

Season three: (seven)
Diana DeGarmo
Jasmine Trias
LaToya London
George Huff
John Stevens
Jennifer Hudson

Season four: (four)
Carrie Underwood
Bo Bice
Constantine Maroulis
Mario Vazquez

Season five: (eight)
Taylor Hicks
Katharine McPhee
Elliot Yamin
Chris Daughtry
Paris Bennett
Kellie Pickler
Bucky Covington

Season six: (two)
Jordin Sparks
Blake Lewis

That adds up to 30. Non-finalist William Hung brings the total to 31.

KHAN DO: It's great to welcome Chaka Khan back to Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs after an absence of over 10 years as a lead artist. "Angel" (Burgundy/Columbia) flies onto the tally at No. 58. It's Khan's first appearance on this survey as a lead artist since "Never Miss the Water" peaked at No. 38 in December 1996. As a featured artist supporting De La Soul, Khan went to No. 41 in December 2000 with "All Good?"

"Angel" stretches Khan's R&B singles chart span to 34 years and one month, dating back to the debut of Rufus' "Whoever's Thrilling You (Is Killing Me)" in July 1973.

THE LATEST 'TECHNOLOGY': Almost five years after he made his Hot 100 debut, 50 Cent scores the second highest new entry of his career, while his two featured artists enjoy their highest debuts ever.

"Ayo Technology" (Shady/Aftermath) earns Hot Shot Debut honors by blasting onto the chart at No. 22. 50 Cent's highest new entry remains "You Don't Know," which opened and debuted at No. 12 in December 2006. That single was credited to Eminem, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and Ca$his.

For featured artists Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, the No. 22 entry of "Ayo Technology" is a new high mark. Timberlake's highest solo debut until this week was the No. 44 bow of "Cry Me a River" in December 2002. Timbaland's best opening was the No. 38 entry of "Clock Strikes" by Timbaland & Magoo in May 1998.

Earlier this year, 50 Cent's "Straight to the Bank" charged onto the tally at No. 32. Hopefully "Ayo Technology" will fare better than "Straight to the Bank," which never improved upon its debut position.

With the debut of "Ayo Technology," 50 Cent's Hot 100 chart span expands to four years, eight months and four weeks, dating back to the Nov. 30, 2002 debut of "Wanksta." 50 Cent's biggest hits on the Hot 100 are "In Da Club" (2003) and "Candy Shop" (2005). Both were No. 1 for nine weeks.

TIM, TIMBERLAKE, TIMBALAND: It's a good chart week to be named Tim. Along with the high-debuting Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, Tim McGraw also makes news with his new entry on the Hot 100. Like 50 Cent, McGraw has the second-highest debut of his career, thanks to the No. 45 bow of "If You're Reading This." It's the best opening position for McGraw since his duet with wife Faith Hill on "It's Your Love" entered at No. 36 in May 1997.