Chart Beat

Fred tackles news on Akon, Yusuf Islam, Beyonce and more!

DOUBLE TEAMED: Akon has secured his first No. 1 hit on The Billboard Hot 100, but it's not "Smack That," the single that remains No. 2 for the fifth consecutive week. Instead, "I Wanna Love You" (SRC/Up Front/Konvict) has rocketed 17-1, giving Akon the top two spots on the Hot 100. He is the first artist to occupy the first two positions since Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" and "Shake It Off" were Nos. 1 and 2 the week of Sept. 10, 2005.

Akon made his Hot 100 debut two-and-a-half years ago with "Locked Up." Featuring Styles P., that song peaked at No. 8. "I Wanna Love You" is Akon's eighth chart entry and his fifth top 10 hit. He went to No. 4 with "Lonely," a reworking of Bobby Vinton's 1964 No. 1 hit, "Mr. Lonely." "Soul Survivor," a Young Jeezy song that featured Akon, also peaked at No. 4.

While "I Wanna Love You" is the first No. 1 for Akon, it's the second chart-topper for featured artist Snoop Dogg. Two years ago this month, Snoop spent three weeks in the penthouse with "Drop It Like It's Hot" featuring Pharrell. "I Wanna Love You" is Snoop's 25th chart entry. He made his Hot 100 debut exactly 13 years ago this week with "What's My Name?" That single peaked at No. 8, becoming the first of Snoop's seven top 10 hits.

The sudden jump to No. 1 for "I Wanna Love You" can be credited to the release of a digital single. The song debuts at No. 1 on the Hot Digital Songs chart. On the Hot 100, it is the 17th song to advance to No. 1 in 2006. That's the highest number of No. 1s in a calendar year since 2000, when there were also 17 No. 1s.

The number of No. 1 hits in each year of the new millennium are:

2000: 17
2001: 14
2002: 7
2003: 11
2004: 11
2005: 8
2006: 17 to date

There are four more chart weeks in the calendar year; if "I Wanna Love You" yields its perch at the summit before 2006 is over, this year will set a record for the highest amount of No. 1 titles in this millennium.

Meanwhile, Akon is also No. 1 across the pond, but with a different single. "Smack That," featuring Eminem, also moves to No. 1 from outside the top 10; it was No. 12 on last week's U.K. singles chart.


THE CAT ON THE CHART: He was born Steven Georgiou, became famous as Cat Stevens, and is now known as Yusuf Islam. And he's back on The Billboard 200 with his 15th chart entry, his first to be billed under his Muslim name of Yusuf.

"An Other Cup" (Ya/Atlantic) enters the chart at No. 52. That's his highest position since "Back to Earth" landed at No. 33 in 1979. As Cat Stevens, he was last on the chart in 2000 with a greatest hits collection which reached No. 58.

In the United States, the London-born artist made his album chart debut the week of Feb. 6, 1971 with "Tea for the Tillerman," issued on the A&M imprint. That gives him an album chart span of 35 years and 10 months. He made his U.K. album chart debut much earlier, when he was signed to the Deram label. The "Matthew and Son" set entered the chart the week of March 25, 1967, after the single of the same name peaked at No. 2.

Although he has been away from the charts since 2000, his presence as a songwriter has been felt more recently. Sheryl Crow's version of "The First Cut Is the Deepest" peaked at No. 14 the week of March 27, 2004. Rod Stewart has covered Stevens' "Father and Son" on his latest CD, "Still the Same... Great Rock Classics of Our Time."


FIRST PLACE: Beyonce collects her fourth number one away from Destiny's Child on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, as "Irreplaceable" (Columbia) jumps up three places. That equals the four No. 1s scored by Destiny's Child, giving Beyonce a career total of eight chart-toppers.

"Irreplaceable" is Beyonce's second No. 1 of 2006 on the R&B chart. "Deja Vu" spent two weeks on top in September. In 2003, "Crazy in Love" reigned for three weeks and "Baby Boy" had a five-week run.


ONE YEAR AT A TIME: Since he made his debut on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in 1992, not a year has gone by without a 2Pac song on the chart. That feat is more amazing when you consider than the rapper died on Sept. 13, 1996. The record continues intact with the debut of "Untouchable" at No. 92. That single, which features Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, is 2Pac's 26th chart entry. Of those, 18 are posthumous.


205 GETS YOU 105: When he was competing on "American Idol," Ruben Studdard often wore shirts emblazoned with "205," the area code for his home town of Birmingham, Alabama. Maybe he would have worn T-shirts that said "105," if he could have foreseen that he was going to earn the 105th No. 1 for the "Idol" franchise, counting all domestic, national charts compiled by the Billboard Information Group.

"Change Me" (J) moves 2-1 on the Adult R&B chart, giving Studdard his second No. 1 on that tally. In March 2004, he began a four-week reign with "Sorry 2004."

The 104th "Idol" No. 1 was Kellie Pickler's debut album, which entered Top Country Albums in pole position. The 103rd "Idol" No. 1 was Carrie Underwood's single "Before He Cheats" (Arista), which remains on top for the fourth consecutive week.


JOAN JETS ONTO A NEW CHART: After charting on The Billboard 200 with her albums "Relish" in 1996 and "Righteous Love" in 2000, and after appearing on the Motown soundtrack "Standing in the Shadows of Love" and recording the soulful album "How Sweet It Is," Joan Osborne breaks through into another genre, as she makes her debut on Top Country Albums.

"Pretty Little Stranger" (Vanguard), featuring guest artists like Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill and Alison Krauss, enters the chart at No. 58.


'SAINTS' PRESERVED: Two bands that had their first entries on the Hot 100 some 21 years apart are together on this week's chart. U2 and Green Day's remake of the Skids' "The Saints Are Coming" bows at No. 65.

The two groups had a combined total of 33 chart entries before "The Saints Are Coming" arrived. U2 had 29 chart entries, from "New Year's Day" in 1983 to a remake of their own "One" with Mary J. Blige in June of this year. Green Day had four chart entries, from "American Idiot" in 2004 to "Wake Me Up When September Ends" in 2005.

"The Saints Are Coming" is Green Day's highest debuting title, besting the No. 71 entry of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" in November 2004. U2 has had 10 songs debut higher than No. 65, led by "Discotheque," which opened at No. 10 in February 1997.

Recorded for charity by U2 and Green Day to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief, "The Saints Are Coming" was originally released by Scottish punk band the Skids in 1978. The single peaked at No. 48 in the United Kingdom. The Skids went on to have one top 10 hit, "Into the Valley," No. 10 in 1979. The band's chart fortunes slid after the departure of co-founder Stuart Adamson, who then started a new group, Big Country.