Fred and his readers discuss Tracey Thorn, Fergie's "Glamorous," album editions/re-releases and more!

THE WRITE STUFF

Dear Readers,

Some observant Chart Beat readers already noticed this change and have sent e-mail to the new e-mail address for this column. Please note that e-mails meant for Chart Beat Chat should be sent to me at:

chartbeat@billboard.com


I will still be the only person reading all of your e-mails -- and I do read them all, even if the volume is too great to send personal replies. My inbox was simply too overwhelmed by your letters, combined with press releases and other e-mails, so I asked for a second e-mail address to make it easier for me to sort through your missives.

Speaking of your letters, let's get to this week's first one.

Fred



EVERYTHING BUT THE GROUP

Tracey Thorn, one of my favourite singers, has just released a solo CD in the U.K., her first in 25 years. Back in the day, Everything But The Girl's "Missing" seemed to be on the U.S. charts forever. Could I request a timely recap of Everything But The Girl's Billboard chart positions?

Steven Davey
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Dear Steven,

I'm looking forward to hearing Tracey Thorn's solo CD. I ordered my copy and it should be arriving in the next couple of days.

Everything But The Girl has been "missing" from the Hot 100 for over 10 years. In fact, the duo -- Thorn and Ben Watt -- has captured only two chart entries. "Missing" debuted in the summer of 1995 and peaked at No. 2 the following year. The single had a 55-week run, which explains why you thought it was on the chart "forever." EBTG's only other Hot 100 chart entry was "Wrong," which stalled at No. 68 also in 1996.

The duo had four albums chart on The Billboard 200. Here's a recap, with peak positions and year:

"The Language of Life," No. 77 (1990)
"Amplified Heart," No. 46 (1995)
"Walking Wounded," No. 37 (1996)
"Temperamental," No. 65 (1999)



TWICE AS 'GLAMOROUS'

Hey Fred.

I just noticed that there are two versions of Fergie's "Glamorous" in the Hot Digital Tracks top 10. I remember reading that the digital track is what propelled the track into the top 10 on the Hot 100. I also noticed that there is no special designation such as "remix" or a different featured rapper on either track. I'm curious how this happens and how this translates to the Hot 100.

Thanks and keep rocking,

Tom Sullivan
Corona, Calif.


Dear Tom,

Before I answer your question, just a reminder that the Hot Digital Tracks chart counts sales of every version of a song separately, which is why you see two versions of "Glamorous" by Fergie featuring Ludacris in the top 10. On our Hot Digital Songs chart, sales from all versions of the same song are combined.

In the case of "Glamorous," you can purchase a "clean" or "explicit" version, which holds true for a number of songs.

On the Hot 100, sales from all versions are combined, just as they are on Hot Digital Songs.



TIME FOR ANOTHER B'DAY

Hi Fred!

I have a question about the forthcoming deluxe edition of Beyoncé's "B'Day" album.

Long ago you explained that Mary J. Blige released two editions of the same album and they charted separately on The Billboard 200 because she removed some songs and added others (and the track order was changed).

On April 3, a new edition of Beyoncé's "B'Day" will be released. Since she removed songs and changed the track listing order, how is Billboard going to handle charting the album?

Thank you, I like your column.

Fued N. Martin
Mérida, Yucatán, México


Dear Fued,

The track listing order has no influence on decisions about whether to chart special editions of previously released albums as separate titles or combine their sales as one entity.

The reason the special edition of the Mary J. Blige album charted separately was because of the number of songs removed from the original. Enough songs were taken off to distinguish the special edition as a different album.

I checked with Geoff Mayfield, Billboard's director of charts and senior analyst, to see how the upcoming special edition of Beyoncé's "B'Day" will be handled. Geoff tells me that none of the songs on the original version will be missing from the new edition. Some tracks will be replaced by new versions of the same song, as Usher did on the special edition of "Confessions."

Geoff adds that there is no limit to how many remixes can be added to a special edition. "Instead, we scrutinize how many additional songs are being added to the package," he explains. "The special edition of 'B'Day' meets our requirements, which means sales from the new edition will be merged with sales from the original."

By the way, record companies understand the rules, so label staffers are not surprised when two versions of an album have their sales combined (or not). They're still free to make their marketing decisions based on what they feel is best for an album and an artist.



110 IN THE SHADE

Dear Fred,

I have a question regarding the Hot Singles Sales chart.

The single "We Will Become Silhouettes" by the Postal Service has been on the sales chart for 110 weeks now. I know that albums are moved to the recurrent chart after 104 weeks if they rank below No. 100. Songs are moved to the recurrent charts after a certain number of weeks and go under a certain position. So, do singles just move out of the chart when they don't garner enough sales or is there some other criteria that would cause removal from the charts?

Thanks,

Sandor Soon
Manila, Philippines


Dear Sandor,

The Postal Service has a couple of titles on the Hot Singles Sales chart, including the two-sided "We Will Become Silhouettes"/"Be Still My Heart," which rebounds 21-18 in its 110th week.

The "recurrent" charts to which you refer are for airplay charts, not for sales charts. Recurrent is a radio term for songs that are no longer new but have been around so long they are removed from the current chart and given "recurrent" status.

Titles that are removed from our various album sales charts are moved to Catalog charts. But there is no Catalog chart for singles and no rule about removal after a certain amount of time has elapsed. That's why "We Will Become Silhouettes" is still charting after all this time.