Chart Beat Chat
Fred and his readers discuss Pink Floyd, Rubinoos' "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" vs. Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" and more!MANY MOONS
Maybe you've been inundated with this comment, but as I was glancing at the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart, I noticed Pink Floyd's impressive 1,560 weeks on the charts with "Dark Side of the Moon." After a few calculator strokes, I realized this was exactly 30 years. Quite an impressive feat!
As an avid chart watcher for nearly that long, I read and enjoy your column every week. Thanks for putting everything into perspective for us!
West Hollywood, Calif.
Good mathematical catch on your part! Where does the time go?
The only thing you miscalculated is the number of e-mails I've received about this benchmark. You were the only person to write in about it.
"Dark Side of the Moon" debuted on the Billboard album chart the week of March 17, 1973. It spent a record 741 weeks on the tally, but just one week at No. 1. The album's final week on the chart was Oct. 8, 1988.
When the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart was introduced the week of May 25, 1991, "Dark Side of the Moon" was on the survey. The "weeks on chart" on the catalog chart continues the numbering from The Billboard 200, so the 1,560 figure is cumulative.
Glad you enjoy Chart Beat, and thanks for letting me know! Our next writer was also effusive, but I'm sure he'll understand if I edit out all his praise and get right to the heart of his letter.
WANNA BE YOUR BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND
We have heard over the years of some notorious copyright/plagiarism cases (legal and otherwise). To date though, I have yet to hear even a stirring regarding Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend." The hook is dead-on the same as that of the Rubinoos' "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" (1978). The lyrics of the Rubinoos song even parallel as they go "Hey, Hey! You, You! I wanna be your boyfriend." I have played both songs back to back numerous times and they seem indeed more than similar, in both lyrics and melody. They rather make "He's So Fine" and "My Sweet Lord" seem as different as night and day.
Raleigh, North Carolina
I should let Chart Beat Chat readers know that you sent this e-mail a few weeks ago. I actually meant to run it earlier, and my answer would have been, yes, the songs sound very similar to me, but if the Rubinoos really felt that "Girlfriend" was a copy of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," they would do something about it.
The news broke this week that a lawsuit is going forward, which sent me running to my inbox to find your letter. Here's an excerpt from a Billboard.com story written by our Canadian correspondent, Larry LeBlanc:
Tommy Dunbar, the founder of the Rubinoos, filed the suit in California's Northern Federal District Court in San Francisco on July 2. The suit alleges that "Girlfriend" bears striking similarities to the Rubinoos' song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," co-written by Dunbar and former Rubinoos' road manager James Gangwer, and released by Beserkley Records in 1978.
The lawsuit also names as defendants Lavigne's publishing company Avril Lavigne Publishing and the co-writer of "Girlfriend," producer/remixer Dr. Luke.
Keep checking Billboard.com for further developments.
'U' FOR UBIQUITOUS
It's been a little while. But I discovered something interesting about the last three No. 1 singles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart that I had to share. Each of the last three No. 1s on that chart, "When I See U" by Fantasia, "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" by T-Pain feat. Yung Joc, and "Lost Without U" by Robin Thicke, contain the letter "U" for the word "you" in their titles. This is the first time that three consecutive No. 1 songs (on any Billboard chart) have done that. What's even more fascinating is that their immediate predecessor, by Lloyd featuring Lil' Wayne, was simply titled "You." Now if only Lloyd had the foresight to call his hit "U," he would have contributed to this historic occasion.
On a totally different note, with Rihanna's "Umbrella" (featuring Jay-Z) firmly outstretched at No. 1 on the Hot 100, there's a chance that this year's five biggest Hot 100 songs will all be by female lead artists. So far, by my estimates of sales and airplay totals and applying Billboard's weighting factors, the five songs that are on pace to be this year's biggest hits are, in chronological order: "Irreplaceable" by Beyonce, "Say It Right" by Nelly Furtado, "The Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani feat. Akon, "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne, and "Umbrella." Only featured artists Akon and Jay-Z add y-chromosomes to the mix.
With nearly five months left in the Billboard chart year, I know it's still too early to tell. But unless something new by a male lead act comes out of the box in the next four months and sells like gangbusters, I think these five songs pretty much have it wrapped up. Only their relative order is left to be determined. With that being said, if the five songs I mentioned do end up being the biggest hits of 2007, it will be the second time in Hot 100 history that women have dominated the top-five year-end positions. In 1999, women held down six of the top-seven slots, with a woman singing lead on the lone exception (No. 6 "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None The Richer). The top five Hot 100 songs of that year were "Believe" by Cher, "No Scrubs" by TLC, "Angel Of Mine" by Monica, "Heartbreak Hotel" by Whitney Houston feat.
Faith Evans and Kelly Price and "...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears. The seventh biggest was "Genie In A Bottle" by Christina Aguilera.
By the way, the first time women held down the top five spots on the weekly Hot 100 chart was exactly 28 years and one week ago (June 30, 1979) when the top five singles were: "Ring My Bell" (Anita Ward), "Hot Stuff" (Donna Summer), "Bad Girls" (Donna Summer), "We Are Family" (Sister Sledge) and "Chuck E's In Love" (Rickie Lee Jones).
Have a great week!
Darrell J. Roberts
Thanks for all of the chart trivia. It's always easy to answer an e-mail when a reader doesn't ask any questions. Like this next letter...
Eve's "Tambourine" becomes the third song about that musical instrument to reach the top 40, which bodes well for her, since the first two reached the top of the pop charts: the Byrds' remake of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" and the Lemon Pipers'"Green Tambourine." Eve already claims the highest R&B chart position for a "tambourine" song, as her single reaches No. 20, just 10 spots behind her featured appearance on Kelly Rowland's "Like This."
But Eve isn't the only superstar dueting with a famous Kelly this week, as Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson debut on the Hot 100 with their remake of Clarkson's "Because of You." The song also climbs to No. 15 on Hot Country Songs, giving Clarkson her career best on this chart (so far), just three positions below Bucky Covington's latest career high of No. 12 with "A Different World." And right behind Clarkson's single is Kellie Pickler's "I Wonder," which has nearly matched her career peak of No. 15 for "Red High Heels." It makes me wonder how successful Carrie Underwood could be with a song about a tambourine.
San Diego, Calif.
Hopefully, we'll never know, but we'll keep an eye on Eve's "Tambourine" and see how she fares, compared to the Byrds and the Lemon Pipers.