Fred and his readers discuss Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, George Michael and more.

BACK TO THE 'DANCE'

To: Mr. Fred Bronson

I see on the Adult Contemporary chart that Rascal Flatts' "What Hurts the Most" has hit No. 1 (for the week ending Nov. 18). I know that the last country song to top this list was Martina McBride's "This One's for the Girls" in mid-2004. However, if you only count former No. 1 country hits, wouldn't you have to go back to 2001, when Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance" topped the list?

Respectfully yours,

Shawn Michaels
Pilger, Nebraska


Dear Shawn,

Rascal Flatts' latest chart achievement is the lead item in this week's Chart Beat. Here's an excerpt from that column that mentions the only other country songs to top both the Adult Contemporary and Hot Country Songs charts since both charts started using airplay information supplied by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems (and yes, you're right about "I Hope You Dance"):

"Billboard's country charts have been based on airplay information supplied by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems since January 1990 and the AC chart has been using BDS information since July 1993. Since that time, only three other songs have reached No. 1 on the AC and country charts, and all are by female artists. Those three songs are: "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack, "Breathe" by Faith Hill and "You're Still the One" by Shania Twain."



HOW DEEP ARE YOUR SINGLES?

Hey Fred,

You mentioned in Chart Beat that Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" and Madonna's "Jump" were No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs and Hot Dance Club Play charts, respectively.

It's interesting to note that both songs come from albums that were released exactly a year ago, when Madonna's "Confessions on a Dance Floor" held Carrie
Underwood's "Some Hearts" to the runner-up spot on The Billboard 200 album chart.

Since then, Carrie continues to enjoys top 20 status a year after her album debuted, while Madonna continues to rack up worldwide sales of her latest
album and singles, especially following her recent tour. And contrary to most marketing theories discouraging multiple single releases, both women continue to rule their niche markets with songs that were recorded more than a year ago.

Lastingly yours,

Vince Ripol
San Diego, Calif.


Dear Vince,

Every now and then I hear a new album that sounds like it is "singles-heavy" -- that is, I feel that the label can mine four, five, six or sometimes as many as seven singles from one CD.

Madonna's "Confessions on a Dance Floor" and Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" both impressed me as being albums where the labels could go deep with singles, keeping the albums on the chart for lengthy visits.

The latest album that impresses me as being loaded with hit singles is "Alright, Still" by Lily Allen, due out domestically on Capitol in January. The first single, "Smile," has already been released here, and the second single, "LDN," has already been a hit in the United Kingdom.



IT'S THE SONG

Fred,

The reason why George Michael's records don't garner airplay, or sell as much as they used to, is simple: they aren't very good! It's been a long time since he had a catchy pop song.

It is absurd to suggest that his homosexuality is an issue -- certainly not here in the United Kingdom. Look at the success of the Scissor Sisters or in the past Elton John, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, etc. What people do in their own bedrooms is their business. Unfortunately, he doesn't confine his activities to his bedroom.

His "Shoot the Dog" song and video may have been political, but let's be honest -- the song wasn't exactly hum-able. U2 bang on about political issues but that hasn't affected their popularity much.

It's the song, stupid, not the issues!

John Boylan
Hertfordshire
England


Dear John,

I read the U.K. charts every week, so I would never suggest that sexual orientation had anything to do with how an artist (excuse the pun) performs in Great Britain. My comments were about U.S. radio. The quality of George Michael's songs aside, his chart fortunes in America changed immediately after his arrest in Beverly Hills in 1998.

Thankfully, acts like the Scissor Sisters and Pet Shop Boys don't face prejudice in your country.



YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A LARRY DHOOGHE

Dear Fred,

Here is some more trivia inspired by Hannah Montana having seven songs on the Hot 100 at the same time.

Alabama
Black Oak Arkansas
Joiner, Arkansas Junior High School Band
The California Raisins
Abe Lyman and his Californians
Georgia Gibbs
Georgia Satellites
Kansas
Louisiana's Le Roux
The Montanas
New York City
The New Yorkers
The Baltimore and Ohio Marching Band
Ohio Express
Ohio Players
Oklahoma! Original Cast Album (Believe it or don't, that was the artist billing on the only full-length album ever to be listed on the singles chart, 15 months before the album chart was invented.)
Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians
Eddy Arnold, The Tennessee Plowboy and his Guitar (how he was billed on his pre-rock-era hits)
"Tennessee" Ernie Ford (billed as Tennessee Ernie on early hits)
Johnny Cash And The Tennessee Two (Tennessee Three on a couple of hits)
Little Texas
The Texans
Texas
Utah Saints
Baby Washington [billed on some hits as Jeanette (Baby) Washington and Justine Washington]
Dinah Washington
Ella Washington
Grover Washington Jr.
Keith Washington

That's the list I came up with of "states" who have hit the Best-Seller or Hot 100 charts.

I also have some "honorable mentions" who didn't quite get the name right.

Dakota Moon
Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas
The Main Ingredient
Keith Hampshire

Larry Dhooghe
Forest Grove, Ore.


Dear Larry,

Your e-mail has left me in such a state, that's all the Chart Beat Chat I can handle this week.