Fred discusses Dean Martin, several American Idols, Johnny Cash and more!HIS SECOND COUNTRY SONG: Dean Martin had pop hits when he covered Stuart Hamblen's No. 2 country tune from 1950, "(Remember Me) I'm the One Who Loves You" and Hank Locklin's No. 5 country song from 1958, "Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On." But Dino's versions never appeared on Hot Country Songs -- his only appearance on this tally was with the 1983 single, "My First Country Song," with guest star Conway Twitty. Their collaboration peaked at No. 35.
This week, the late Martin makes his second appearance on the country chart, with a remake of the song, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (written by Frank Loesser for the film "Neptune's Daughter," and winner of the Academy Award for Best Original Song of 1949). The evergreen has been recorded numerous times by various pairings, with this one featuring Martin vocalizing with Martina McBride. She recorded her vocals in the legendary studios inside the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood, the same studios where Martin recorded his original vocals many years ago. The single is jointly released by Capitol (Martin's home for many years before he signed with Frank Sinatra's Reprise imprint) and RCA (McBride's label).
HER SECOND COUNTRY NO. 1: Carrie Underwood sets a new record this week, as her second single to achieve pole position on Hot Country Songs, "Before He Cheats" (Arista), remains on top for a fifth week. Earlier this year, Underwood occupied the penthouse for six weeks with "Jesus, Take the Wheel," giving her a grand total of 11 weeks at No. 1 in 2006.
That's the most weeks any female artist has been No. 1 in a calendar year with solo recordings since the introduction of the first country chart in 1944. In second place is Faith Hill, with nine weeks on top in 2000. Her single "Breathe" advanced to No. 1 the week of Dec. 25, 1999, and remained on the throne for five weeks in January. In May, she began a four-week reign with "The Way You Love Me."
If the field is expanded to include duets, the all-time record for a female vocalist is Margaret Whiting's 13 weeks at No. 1 in 1949 with "Slipping Around," recorded with Jimmy Wakely. Their collaboration stood its ground for a total of 17 weeks, with the final four weeks occuring in 1950.
While continuing at No. 1 with "Before He Cheats," Underwood also debuts at No. 57 with another track from her "Some Hearts" album, "Wasted."
HE WALKS THE LINE: The arrival of "The Legend of Johnny Cash: Vol. II" (Legacy/Columbia/American/Island) at No. 28 on Top Country Albums ties Cash's own record for having seven albums debut on this chart in a calendar year.
In 1969, seven albums by the Man in Black debuted on the country albums tally: "The Holy Land," "Johnny Cash at San Quentin," "Original Golden Hits, Volume I," "Original Golden Hits, Volume II," "Get Rhythm," "Showtime," and "Story Songs of the Trains and Rivers."
This year, the second "Legend" volume follows the debuts of "16 Biggest Hits" by Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash; "Golden Legends: Johnny Cash," "Personal File," "American V: A Hundred Highways," "Country Legends: I Walk the Line" and "Country Christmas."
There are five Cash titles on Top Country Albums this week.
HE ALSO WALKS THE LINE: Recently, I was asked to select the top 10 "American Idol" performances of all time for American Idol Magazine. I picked Chris Daughtry's rendition of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" to be No. 8 in that top 10. Of course, Daughtry didn't sing it in a country style. He went with an arrangement originally recorded by the band Live, because Chris is a rocker.
This week, the rocker who was surprisingly voted off in fourth place has his revenge, as his debut album blasts onto The Billboard 200 at No. 2. "Daughtry" (RCA), named for the band that sports Chris' last name, was held to second place by the No. 1 debut of Jay-Z's "Kingdom Come." But "Daughtry" does make its debut on Top Rock Albums at No. 1, giving the "American Idol" franchise its 106th chart-topper, counting all domestic, national charts compiled by the Billboard Information Group. The lead single from the CD, "It's Not Over," is the Hot Shot Debut on the Hot 100, breaking in at No. 65.
Daughtry is the second finalist from the fifth season of "Idol" to have a No. 1 album. Three weeks ago, sixth-place Kellie Pickler debuted at the apex of Top Country Albums with "Small Town Girl" (BNA).
The top two finalists from this most recent season haven't released albums yet. Taylor Hicks' first Arista set is due Dec. 12 and Katharine McPhee's initial RCA release will be out in either December or January.
Here is the latest breakdown of how many No. 1s have been earned by "American Idol" contestants:
Kelly Clarkson - 41
Fantasia - 11
Ruben Studdard - 11
Carrie Underwood - 10
Clay Aiken - 9
Josh Gracin - 6
Taylor Hicks - 3
Kimberley Locke - 3
Bo Bice - 2
Chris Daughtry - 1
Diana DeGarmo - 1
Tamyra Gray - 1
William Hung - 1
Kellie Pickler - 1
American Idol Finalists - 5
If the "Daughtry" album doesn't move to No. 1 on an album chart, the prime candidate to collect the 107th No. 1 for the "Idol" franchise is Kimberley Locke, whose "Jingle Bells" (Curb) could jingle all the way on the Adult Contemporary list after debuting this week at No. 17. That's the highest AC debut of 2006. The last time a song debuted in the top 17 was the week of Dec. 24, 2005, when another "Jingle Bells" -- by Diana Krall featuring the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra -- also debuted at No. 17. One week earlier, deSol's "Little Drummer Boy" opened at No. 6 and Jon Secada's "Feliz Navidad" bowed at No. 16.
Locke had the most successful holiday song of 2005, when her rendition of "Up on the Housetop" spent four weeks at No. 1, making "Jingle Bells" one to watch for this holiday season.
BREAKING AWAY: If Kimberley Locke doesn't advance to No. 1 quickly on the Adult Contemporary survey, she may have to settle for having the 108th "Idol" chart-topper. That's because after two years on The Billboard 200, Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" (RCA) is ready to transfer to the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart. A No. 1 debut would give Clarkson the TV series' 107th No. 1.
"Breakaway" debuted on The Billboard 200 at No. 3 the week of Dec. 18, 2004. That turned out to be its peak position, and despite a fall to No. 12 in its second the week, the album spent a total of 21 weeks in the top 10, kept afloat by a series of five hit singles.
THE NINE: "Kingdom Come" (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam) is the ninth album to debut at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 for Jay-Z, in a chart career that began 10 years and five months ago. "Reasonable Doubt" started it all when it debuted the week of July 13, 1996, ultimately peaking at No. 23. "In My Lifetime, Vol. 1" debuted and peaked at No. 3 in November 1997. The run of No. 1 albums began with "Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life" in October 1998.
Jay-Z had been tied with Barbra Streisand and Garth Brooks for fourth place among artists with the most No. 1s on the Billboard chart. The success of "Kingdom Come" pushes him into third place, tied with the nine No. 1 albums earned by the Rolling Stones. Elvis Presley is runner-up with 10 and the Beatles have the most with 19.
THE 19: The Beatles had a chance to collect their 20th No. 1 album this week, but "Love" (Capitol) bows on The Billboard 200 at No. 4. That's the Fab Four's highest new entry since "1" debuted at No. 1 in December 2000.
Since then, "Let It Be... Naked" opened at No. 5, "The Capitol Albums Vol. 1" box set started at No. 35 and "The Capitol Albums Vol. 2" debuted at No. 46.
"Love" is the 46th Beatles album to chart, and the second in 2006, following the second Capitol box set. This is the first time the Beatles have had more than one title debut in a calendar year since 1996, when "Anthology 2" and "Anthology 3" both joined the chart.
AKON AFTER AKON: Since the introduction of the Pop 100 the week of Feb. 12, 2005, there have been 25 No. 1 songs, but no artist has ever succeeded himself at the head of the class until this week.
Akon moves 2-1 with "Smack That" (SRC/Up Front/Konvict), sending his own "I Wanna Love You" 1-3. The former features Eminem and the latter teams Akon with Snoop Dogg.
On the Hot 100, "I Wanna Love You" stands pat at No. 1 while "Smack That" retreats 2-3 with a bullet, yielding to an advancing Beyonce with "Irreplaceable" (Columbia), up 3-2.
GOSPEL TRUTH: Patti LaBelle makes her first appearance on the Top Gospel Albums chart, and she does it in high style. "The Gospel According to Patti LaBelle" (Umbrella) opens at No. 1.
On Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, LaBelle's gospel CD is a new entry at No. 17. It is her 27th chart entry in a career stretching back 40 years, six months and two weeks. LaBelle made her R&B album chart debut the week of May 28, 1966, with "Over the Rainbow," recorded by Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles.
On The Billboard 200, "Gospel" is new at No. 86. It's the 21st chart entry for LaBelle and her chart span on this tally is 31 years, 11 months and three weeks, dating back to the debut of "Nightbirds" by the trio Labelle the week of Dec. 21, 1974.