Chart Beat Chat

Fred and his readers discuss Eurovision Song Contest, The Shop Boyz, two-sided singles and more!


Dear Fred,

In your reply to Ken Bruin of Scotland in last week's Chart Beat Chat column, you ruminated on the possibility of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland entering contestants separately in the Eurovision Song Contest (instead of one joint U.K. entrant). The constituent country-states that make up the United Kingdom do, in fact, field separate football (soccer) and cricket teams in international competition and in the Miss World Beauty pageant. So I don't see why they should be precluded from doing so in the Eurovision Song Contest! Whereas fielding a united U.K. soccer or cricket team in international competition might enhance the unified teams odds of winning, I agree with you that entering multiple individual contestants in the Eurovision Song contest might enhance the chances of winners from the United Kingdom emerging!

Steve McGuinness
Toronto, Canada

Dear Steve,

Given that neighboring countries do vote for each other, it makes sense that the more neighbors you have, the better you might do in Eurovision. That's why I was being light about splitting the United Kingdom into several countries for purposes of the song contest.

While it might produce better results for the component countries if they entered separately, eligibility for the
Eurovision Song Contest is based on membership in the European Broadcasting Union, an association of television networks. The United Kingdom is a member of the EBU, as opposed to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As long as that is so, the United Kingdom will have to fly the flag at Eurovision.


Hi Fred!

I read (as always) your last Chart Beat column and I saw you talk about the biggest jumps (Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, etc.) to No. 1. But you did not mention the huge jump [from 51-2] for the Shop Boyz single "Party Like a Rockstar." Is this not the biggest jump for a single to No. 2?

Thank you.

Fued N. Mart’n
MŽrida, Yucat‡n, MŽxico

Dear Fued,

The Shop Boyz did jet up the chart, but as impressive as a 51-2 move is, it's not the biggest jump to the runner-up spot in Hot 100 history. For years, the record was held by a single that leapt 54-2 on the second Hot 100 ever published. In the Aug. 11, 1958 issue of Billboard, Domenico Modugno's "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)" made that spectacular move.

Modugno held the record for 42 years - actually, six days shy of 42 years. On the Hot 100's 42nd birthday, Sisqo's "Incomplete" took a 55-2 ride, besting the old record by one position.

Here is a list of the biggest jumps to No. 2 in Hot 100 history:

55-2 "Incomplete," Sisqo (Aug. 5, 2000)
54-2 "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)," Domenico Modugno (Aug. 11, 1958)
51-2 "Party Like a Rockstar," Shop Boyz (June 9, 2007)
49-2 "Last Kiss," Pearl Jam (June 26, 1999)
41-2 "Music of My Heart," 'N Sync & Gloria Estefan (Oct. 16, 1999)
31-2 "I'll Make Love to You," Boyz II Men (Aug. 20, 1994)
26-2 "I Believe I Can Fly," R. Kelly (Dec. 21, 1996)
22-2 "Thank God I Found You," Mariah Carey featuring Joe & 98 Degrees (Feb. 12, 2000)


Hi Fred,

I read and enjoy your articles on Chart Beat Chat and I find them very educating. My question is regarding Billboard's policy on two-sided singles.

I've learned that according to the present policy, the side with the most airplay is the one credited with points for the single's entire chart run. However, something doesn't make sense. For instance, if the A-side received the most airplay for four weeks and the B-side received the most airplay for three weeks, is it fair, then, to disregard the performance of the B-side and give all the chart credit to Side A? Does this mean that such a double-hit single will go down in Billboard history with its B-side omitted?

It seems unfair. Is there something I'm misunderstanding about this policy?

Please enlighten me,
Randy Seaward

Dear Randy,

The policy you're referring to is one that was in place before digital downloads were integrated into the Hot 100.

It wouldn't make sense today, and I'll explain why in a moment.

First, let's go back to a time before the policy you mentioned was implemented. Remember the two-sided single "Candle in the Wind 1997" / "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" by Elton John? When that tribute single debuted on the Hot 100, that's how it was listed, with "Candle in the Wind 1997" as the A-side.

In that single's fourth chart week, the B-side was garnering the most airplay, so the titles were flipped on the Hot 100, and "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" became the A-side, even though people were obviously buying the Princess Diana tribute for "Candle in the Wind 1997."

The policy you mention came into play after the chart was converted to a "song" chart (as opposed to a "singles" chart) on Dec. 5, 1998. That's when airplay-only tracks could chart for the first time, without having a commercial single available.

From this point on, if two sides of a single were popular, the policy was that the song with the most airplay would collect all of the sales points. The B-side would be eligible to chart, but would only receive airplay credit, not sales credit.

The charts continually adjust to reflect current business conditions, and so the policy you refer to is no longer relevant. When people were buying physical singles, they couldn't buy an A-side and a B-side separately.

Today, when you buy a digital download, you can buy one side of a single, or both sides separately or sometimes, both sides as a package. In the first two cases, sales credit would go to each individual song. In the last case, where you buy both sides as a package, sales credit would still go to the side with the most airplay.


Hi Fred,

I'm not sure where to direct my thanks but I'd like to say how pleased I am to see a Canadian Hot 100 chart! This is long overdue and much needed. I'm looking forward to following this chart and perhaps someday there will be something Chart Beat Chat worthy to discuss.

Carl Leeman
New Brunswick, Canada

Dear Carl,

As reported at, this week saw the introduction of The Billboard Canadian Hot 100. The top 10 songs will appear every week in the Hits of the World section in the print edition of Billboard. The complete Canadian Hot 100 will be available to Billboard subscribers at the site.

The Billboard Canadian Hot 100 is compiled in a similar fashion to the American Hot 100, combining sales and airplay data.

The first No, 1 on this new chart, for those who are curious, is "Umbrella" by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z - the same song that is No. 1 on the original Hot 100.