Chart Beat Chat

Fred and his readers discuss Paula Abdul, Pink and more!

FOREVER OUR GIRL

Fred,

I'm looking forward to Paula Abdul's greatest hits album scheduled for release on May 8. You mentioned in Chart Beat she is one of only six females to have more than one No. 1 hit from the same album.

In your "Billboard Book of Number One Hits," you write about Paula having four hit songs at the top of the chart from her first album, "Forever Your Girl":

"Straight Up" (Feb. 11, 1989)
"Forever Your Girl" (May 20, 1989)
"Cold Hearted" (Sept. 2, 1989)
"Opposites Attract" (Feb. 10, 1990)

Is this the most No. 1 songs from one album for any female?

The list in your book places her in the top 18 of all recording artists since 1955 to have the most No. 1s. Paula has had six, and yet she does not seem to get respect on "American Idol" for her past accomplishments, in my opinion.

Fred, do you see this new album of all her hits together making an impact on how the "American Idol" audience might see her?

Thanks,

Judy Rockwell Stein
Birmingham, Alabama


Dear Judy,

If it seems that Paula Abdul doesn't get respect on "American Idol," it's because of the guy sitting next to her (and I don't mean Randy Jackson). When the series first featured Billboard's No. 1 hits as a theme, Ryan Seacrest acknowledged Paula's six chart-topping singles. That's not something they can mention every week, but maybe they'll find a way to plug the new album, "Greatest Hits: Straight Up!" which Virgin is releasing on, as you point out, May 8.

As for your question, four No. 1 hits from one album is the most for any solo female, but Paula doesn't have an exclusive on this accomplishment. The first woman to score four No. 1s from the same album was Whitney Houston. She had three chart-topping songs on her debut set. Her second album, "Whitney," yielded a quartet of No. 1 singles: "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "Didn't We Almost Have It All," "So Emotional" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go."

Janet Jackson had a run of four No. 1 singles from her "Rhythm Nation 1814" album: "Miss You Much," "Escapade," "Black Cat" and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)."

And then there's Mariah Carey, who had four No. 1 hits on her eponymous debut CD. Her chart career began with "Vision of Love," "Love Takes Time," "Someday" and "I Don't Wanna Cry."

And just for the record, you misquoted me a bit. Here's what I wrote in Chart Beat: "Only six solo female artists have been able to pull two or more Hot 100 No. 1 singles from a debut album in the last 20 years." It's important to note that there were qualifications - I was talking about solo female artists who pulled two or more No. 1 songs from a debut album (not any album) over the last 20 years (note the time frame). If we mind the qualification about having four No. 1 singles from a debut album, only Paula Abdul and Mariah Carey would count.



SUDDENLY IN THE PINK

Hi Fred,

I was wondering why Pink is having a sudden resurgence in popularity in the United States? It seemed her album was dead and buried, but with "U + Ur Hand" now in the top 20 - months after the last single failed to reach the top ten - and "Who Knew" also on the Hot 100, it looks like her career has been suddenly resuscitated in her homeland. Do you think this will give album sales a second wind? And isn't it unusual in this day and age for an artist to have a hit several months after it looked like record buyers just weren't interested anymore?

Cheers mate!

John Marrs
London
England


Dear John,

Pink certainly had a great chart week, with "U + Ur Hand" surging 29-19 to reach a new peak and her previous song at radio, "Who Knew," finally making its debut on the Hot 100. "Who Knew" has begun to sell as a digital download because the American TV network ABC used the song in promo spots for a new series, "October Road."

"U + Ur Hand" has been on the Hot 100 for 13 weeks, and is just now experiencing increasing sales and airplay. On Hot Digital Songs, the cut is up 17-12 in its fifth chart week and on Hot 100 Airplay, the song advances 56-46 in its third chart week.

All of this activity should continue to reactivate sales of Pink's "I'm Not Dead," a title that is proving prophetic. The CD, which peaked at No. 6, has rebounded 130-114-84-68 over the last four weeks.



POP MUSIC

Dear Fred,

I love your column and that you love unabashedly "pop" music. My question relates to three of my favorite groups of all time: Sugababes, Girls Aloud and Westlife.

I know Westlife had a No. 20 hit with "Swear It Again," but did they chart again? They have such wonderful songs, and the songs get used on "American Idol," so it would seem like they'd be great candidates for the charts. Also, what success, if any, have the Sugababes and Girls Aloud had on the charts? They're amazing pop acts with catchy, sublime music. Why don't we hear much from them here?

Thanks!
Benjamin Daniel Rösch


Dear Benjamin,

Westlife's U.S. and U.K. chart careers could not be more different. "Swear It Again," which peaked at No. 20 (as you point out) in 2000, is the only Westlife song to appear on the Hot 100. Ruben Studdard's cover of "Flying Without Wings" was a No. 2 hit in 2003. In the U.K., Westlife has had 14 No. 1 singles.

Sugababes and Girls Aloud have also topped the U.K. singles chart, as separate groups and a couple of weeks ago as one aggregation, on the Comic Relief remake of Run-D.M.C.'s "Walk This Way."

Sugababes has made one appearance on the Hot 100 when "Hole in the Head" peaked at No. 96 in June 2004, but a majority of the group's releases, and the entire output of Girls Aloud, has not been released in the United States, nor has most of Westlife's work. Their singles and albums can't chart without a domestic release.

Like me, you have to search the import bins and order online to get the music you like. Unfortunately, there are plenty of other U.K. pop acts that don't get released in America, including the recently-revived Take That and that group's former member, Robbie Williams. Both have excellent current albums.