Fred discusses Avril, Fergie, Bucky Covington and more!

GIVE A 'DAMN': The charts are all about Avril Lavigne this week, as the Canadian-born singer garners her second No. 1 album on The Billboard 200 and her first No. 1 on the Hot 100.

"The Best Damn Thing" (RCA) enters The Billboard 200 in pole position, just as Lavigne's second CD, "Under My Skin," did the week of June 12, 2004. The very first Lavigne album, "Let Go," peaked at No. 2 the week of Sept. 28, 2002.

On the Hot 100, Lavigne finally secures her first No. 1 hit, almost five years after her chart debut. She made her first appearance on the pop singles chart the week of June 1, 2002, when "Complicated" bowed at No. 68. It went on to peak at No. 2 and has been Lavigne's highest-ranking song until now.

"Girlfriend" deposes "Give It to Me" by Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake after that single's two-week reign. "Girlfriend" is the seventh title to advance to No. 1 in 2007 but none of them have ruled for more than two weeks.

With Lavigne following Furtado into the No. 1 spot, it is the first time in over 13 years that there have been two successive Canadian artists at the top of the chart, notes Chart Beat reader Larry Cohen of Trumbull, Conn. In February 1994, Celine Dion's "The Power of Love" replaced "All for Love" by Bryan Adams (and his British friends, Rod Stewart and Sting).

"Girlfriend" is the first No. 1 on the RCA label since Clay Aiken's "This Is the Night" occupied the penthouse in June-July 2003. Lavigne is the first solo female to have a No. 1 on RCA since Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" held sway for two weeks in October 2002. "Girlfriend" is the first non-Idol No. 1 for RCA since Christina Aguilera's "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" topped the chart for four weeks in October-November 2000.

Overall, "Girlfriend" is the 61st No. 1 for RCA in the rock era. Lavigne is the sixth solo female to have a No. 1 on RCA in the rock era. Her predecessors are Kay Starr, Little Peggy March, Dolly Parton, Aguilera and Clarkson.


GOT THE BLUES: At 73, British bluesman John Mayall is still making music. His career chart span in Billboard expands to 39 years, two months and three weeks with this week's debut of "In the Palace of the King" (Eagle) at No. 3 on Top Blues Albums.

John Mayall's Blues Breakers made their debut on the Billboard album chart in February 1968 with "John Mayall's Blues Breakers Crusade." This latest album is the seventh to appear on the Blues chart, which dates back to 1997. "In the Palace of the King" is the highest debut and peak for Mayall since "Stories" entered at No. 1 the week of Sept. 14, 2002.


DEAR MR. GABLE: When you hear the words, "Big Girls Don't Cry," it's hard not to think of the No. 1 hit by the Four Seasons, especially if you've seen the Broadway musical "Jersey Boys." But you might be singing a new tune to those words soon, as they form the title of the new single by Fergie. Her "Big Girls Don't Cry" (will.i.am/A&M) enters the Hot 100 at No. 41, the highest-debuting of her four solo singles to date.

Fergie's first three solo efforts have all reached the top two. "London Bridge" and "Glamorous" were both No. 1 and "Fergalicious" settled for No. 2."Big Girls Don't Cry" has a lot to live up to, but one thing is sure -- it is already Fergie's longest title to chart.

Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, who wrote the Four Seasons' "Big Girls Don't Cry," first heard those words when they were uttered by Clark Gable as dialogue in a movie.


BUCKY UP: The finalists from season five of "American Idol" continue their contributions to the series' place in Billboard chart history. This week, it's Bucky Covington who adds to the total of "Idol" No. 1s. His self-titled CD debuts in the lead spot on Top Country Albums, giving the franchise its 121st No. 1 on a national, domestic chart compiled by the Billboard information Group.

Covington also makes his Hot 100 debut, as "A Different World" (Lyric Street) opens at No. 63.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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