Fred and his readers discuss "Beautiful Girls," "Candle in the Wind," Brad Paisley and more!
STAND BY SEAN
With Jamaican artist Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls" steadily rising on the Hot 100, it looks as though a composition that was released in 1961 and 1986 could be fulfilling its pattern of making the top 10 every other decade. Kingston's record samples the classic "Stand by Me." Ben E. King peaked with the original at No. 4 (No. 1 R&B), helping establish his solo career after years of success with the Drifters.
When the Rob Reiner movie arrived at theaters in 1986, King's original "Stand By Me" became a hit all over again, going to No. 9 (I can still remember when Casey Kasem announced its remarkable re-entry into the top 10).
Others such as John Lennon have enjoyed success with the R&B gem. Most recently, Jordin Sparks performed it on her way to the "American Idol" throne. Ben E. King co-wrote "Stand By Me" with the dynamic duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. What was the most recent chart success for the composers of such classics as "Hound Dog," "Is That All There Is?" and "Love Potion No. 9"?
"If Kingston's "Beautiful Girls" makes it to pole position, that will no doubt be something for the record books (in terms of songwriters with No. 1 hits, first to most recent).
You ask what was the most recent chart success for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller before Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls." I don't have to go very far back in time to come up with the answer. "Beautiful Girls" debuted on the Hot 100 at No. 83 the week of June 9. On that same chart, Jordin Sparks' rendition of "I (Who Have Nothing)" entered at No. 80, giving Leiber and Stoller two songs on the same chart, just a few positions apart.
"I (Who Have Nothing)" was originally a hit for Ben E. King, and as far as I know, Jordin sang "I (Who Have Nothing)" on "American Idol," not the other Ben E. King song, "Stand by Me." If I'm wrong, please correct me. Jordin first sang "I (Who Have Nothing)" on the British Invasion show, which I thought was a little dodgy at the time. It's true that Shirley Bassey recorded the song too, but I didn't think it really fit in with the theme.
If "Beautiful Girls" does reach No. 1, then yes, Leiber and Stoller will have the longest span of No. 1 hits on the Billboard pop singles chart. Their first pop No. 1 was Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" in 1956.
"Hound Dog" was written for and originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton. Her single debuted on the R&B singles chart dated March 28, 1953. That gives Leiber and Stoller a career chart span of 54 years and three months.
A JEWEL OF A QUESTION
In last week's Chart Beat, you spoke about the different Billboard policies throughout the yeas with regards to two-sided singles. You spoke about what happened with Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997" / "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" and why the A-side and B-side were switched after "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" increased in airplay and overtook "Candle In The Wind 1997."
I have a question about another two-sided single from 1997, that is, Jewel's "Foolish Games" / "You Were Meant for Me." Billboard charted both songs as one single and the two-sided single peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 and eventually became the No. 2 song of the year behind only Elton John. The longevity of the single was amazing.
However, I'm confused about why "Foolish Games" was initially the A-side. I'm actually looking at the Billboard Hot 100 rewind chart on the website from 1997 and I noticed that between February and June, "You Were Meant for Me" was the B-side. I find this strange because during this time, the song was getting much more airplay than "Foolish Games." In fact, "Foolish Games" wasn't released to radio until late summer.
Both songs of course became huge radio hits that year and reached No. 1 on Mainstream Top 40 radio. So shouldn't "Foolish Games" originally have been the B-side and then, only later, when it took off on radio, become the A-side?
Of course, I'm also wondering why the two songs were joined together as one single, especially since they were released to radio so many months apart. But I guess that was the record company's decision.
And another thing I'm confused about is the actual peak of the single. Some sources I've seen claim that the double A-side peaked at No. 2, other sources say that "You Were Meant For Me" peaked at No. 2 and "Foolish Games" reached No. 7 on its own (or some position near there). Did the two songs chart separately as well? There was no chart policy change for the Hot 100 around that time as far as I know. And was this a two-sided single or a "double A-side"?
Anyway, thanks for reading my e-mail and hope you can reply to my many questions. I happen to love both of those songs so this is something I've been wondering about for a while. Always love reading your column, Fred.
I think the easiest way to answer your e-mail - and clear up any confusion about the charting of Jewel's "You Were Meant for Me" / "Foolish Games" - is to simply report on the charting history of this two-sided hit.
"You Were Meant For Me" debuted on the Hot 100 dated Nov. 30, 1996. It was the highest debuting single of the week, entering at No. 61.
"You Were Meant for Me" peaked at No. 2 and spent two non-consecutive weeks in the runner-up slot, on the charts dated April 19 and May 10, 1997.
On the Hot 100 dated Sept. 16, 1997, "You Were Meant for Me" was already descending and was No. 25 in its 41st chart week.
Then, on the Hot 100 dated Sept. 13, 1997, "Foolish Games" was listed for the first time. Because "Foolish Games" had more airplay, it was listed as the A-side and the single rebounded 25-12. "Foolish Games" had been the B-side, but became popular when a remix was included in the soundtrack to the film "Batman and Robin."
Here's how "Foolish Games" / "You Were Meant for Me" moved from there - the single ascended 12-10-10-10-9-9-8-7-7 and then dropped to No. 10 and continued its descent, falling off the chart after a 65-week run that ended on Feb. 21, 1998.
Unlike singles that were two-sided hits from the beginning, "You Were Meant for Me" was a hit long before "Foolish Games" earned its way onto the Hot 100. The single became a two-sided hit in its 42nd week, making this Jewel hit an anomaly and explaining its long chart run.
No change of chart policy was required, by the way. The way the song charted on the Hot 100 simply reflected the reality of what was going on in the world.
NARY A NO. 2, STILL
The drought of No. 2 country Songs continues as of the week ending June 30, 2007. Brad Paisley jumps 3-1 with "Ticks," while Tracy Lawrence drops 1-2 with "Find Out Who Your Friends Are." As you know, the last time a single peaked at No. 2 on the Hot Country Songs chart was in August 2006. Toby Keith spent two weeks at No. 2 with "A Little Too Late" while Rodney Atkins spent four weeks at No. 1 with "If You're Going Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows)."
Beachwood, New Jersey
P.S. When Tracy Lawrence scored his first seven No. 1 country songs, Brad Paisley wasn't even on the Hot Country Songs chart. Now, Tracy has his eighth No. 1, and Brad has his eighth No. 1. Just another trivia note to pass along to you.
Last week I complimented you on writing an e-mail in the style of Chart Beat, and you've done it again. Thanks, and see Chart Beat for an item on Brad Paisley's "Ticks."
JOHN, PAUL AND GEORGE
There's almost a Beatles reunion in the top 50 of The Billboard 200 this week. Paul McCartney's "Memory Almost Full" falls out of the top 10, but there are debuts of a Traveling Wilburys collection (featuring George Harrison amongst others in the band) and a collection of John Lennon covers on the "Instant Karma" release.
All in all, a nice tribute to the 40th anniversary of "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
Brampton, Ont, Canada
True, it's the 40th anniversary of "Sgt. Pepper," and the first anniversary of Cirque de Soleil's "Love" show at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas. So it's a good time for this confluence of charted albums involving the three former Beatles.
Just to clarify, Paul McCartney's "Memory Almost Full" didn't fall out of the top 10. It's holding at No. 3, where it debuted last week.
Check this week's Chart Beat, where the lead item is all about Paul, George and John coming together on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom.