Keith answers readers' questions on Britney Spears, Elton John and British charts.

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at askbb@billboard.com.

BRITNEY'S JIVE

Hi Keith,

I'm just wondering if you have any updates on the long-rumored Britney Spears album that is supposed to be released this fall. As a long time dance-pop fan, Spears' album really is the most anticipated release on my list this year. I've heard all kinds of rumors and rave reviews in the media mainly from producers who have worked on it, but there doesn't seem to be any confirmation from Spears' record label as to a release date.

I know Britney did some kind of video shoot a few weeks ago, but with all the press she gets, nothing relates to her music. I'm really hoping you have some insight as to when a new single is scheduled to drop or any other information on her upcoming fifth album!

Thanks,

Alexandra Ramzan
Los Angeles

Hello Alexandra,

There's a reason why Spears' record label hasn't confirmed a release date for Spears' forthcoming album. There isn't one.

Gina Orr, a publicist with Jive Records, says that there is nothing currently scheduled for release from Spears. Does that mean Spears' album isn't on its way? Nope. Jive simply doesn't have it on its released schedule yet.



ELTON SCANS IN

Dear Keith,

Now that it's been about a year since Elton John released his last studio album "The Captain and the Kid," I wanted to inquire as to how his SoundScan-era albums have sold. His most recent albums have done well, most especially "The Captain and the Kid," but nevertheless seemed to vanish instantly from the charts (probably due to tepid marketing), while his latest hits compilation keeps selling well.

Also, for a more unusual question, could you possibly reveal the debut positions of any Elton albums that ended up ultimately peaking higher? This has always intrigued me.

Many thanks,

Rudy

Hello Rudy,

It's easy to market an Elton John hits compilation. Something like that sells itself. Nevermind how it seems like he already has many other compilations on the market.

It's much harder to promote a new studio album, especially considering John hasn't had a Billboard Hot 100 hit in seven years. His last, "Someday Out of the Blue," peaked at No. 49 in May of 2000.

John's last studio album, "The Captain and the Kid," has sold 148,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan. Compare that to his new hits album, "Rocket Man: Number Ones," which has sold 236,000.

Previous to "Captain," John released the studio albums "Peachtree Road" in 2004 and "Songs From the West Coast" in 2001. They have sold 335,000 and 594,000, respectively. Those aren't bad figures. But they pale when stacked next to the 2.2 million copies of the 2002 double album "Greatest Hits 1970-2002."

Since SoundScan began tracking data in 1991, John has sold 25.6 million albums in the U.S. That figure does not include "The Lion King" soundtrack which is not a proper John album. It has sold 7.7 million.



JAPAN CYLCES THE BRITISH CHARTS

Hello Keith,

Please help me solve this problem.

In the early '70s, a song from Japan entered the British charts. It was there just for a short while. Can you give me the name of the title or the performer please?

Thanks,

Martin Attard
Luqa, Malta

Hi Martin,

Normally, this question would go unanswered, simply because it's so vague and the answer might be so obscure, we'd never be able to properly answer it for you. However, on a whim, I sent out the question to some members of our staff, and a few of them actually had some ideas about what song you are thinking of.

Paul Pomfret, our Hits of the World chart manager, says that there is a "very good chance it's the Sadistic Mika Band's 'Cycling Boogie' (from) 1973. Not many Japanese bands (were) charting in the U.K. back then or ever."

Tom Ferguson, Billboard's London-based deputy global editor, also suggests "Cycling Boogie" from the Sadistic Mika Band. However, neither "Cycling Boogie" or the Sadistic Mika Band ever reached the Official U.K. Singles Chart.

Alternately, Ferguson also says that he is "99.9% certain (that) the only Japanese hit of the 1970s was the theme to the cult TV show 'The Water Margin,' by a Japanese act called Godiego in 1977." The song peaked at No. 37 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart and spent four weeks in the top 75.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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