Chart Beat

Fred tackles news on "Hannah Montana," Justin Timberlake, "American Idol" and more!

THE STATE OF 'MONTANA': "Hannah Montana" isn't the first fictional character to appear on a Billboard chart, but the teenage singer portrayed by Miley Cyrus in the Disney Channel series of the same name is the first act to have six songs debut on The Billboard Hot 100 in the same week.

Just as "Sugar, Sugar" was released under the name the Archies and not Ron Dante and Toni Wine, the songs performed by Cyrus on the TV soundtrack are credited to the character of Hannah Montana. There is a duet on the soundtrack credited to Miley and her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, but that song, "I Learned From You" is not one of the seven "Hannah Montana" songs appearing on this week's chart.

You read that number right -- while six singles make their debut, another song from the album, "Who Said," makes a re-entry at No. 83 after debuting at No. 92 the week of Aug. 5 and falling off the chart the following week. The highest-ranked of the six Montana songs is the Hot Shot Debut: "If We Were a Movie" (Walt Disney) opens at No. 47. The other Montana debuts are:

"I Got Nerve," No. 67
"Pumpin' Up the Party," No. 81
"The Other Side of Me," No. 84
"This Is the Life," No. 89
"Just Like You," No. 99

The Beatles had three songs debut at once, as did Elvis Presley. While having seven "Hannah Montana" songs on the survey at the same time is impressive, it doesn't beat the 14 songs the Beatles charted in one week, or the nine Presley songs that charted simultaneously.

On The Billboard 200, the "Hannah Montana" soundtrack enters the chart at No. 1, the first TV soundtrack to do so. It is the first TV soundtrack to achieve pole position since "High School Musical" topped the chart earlier this year. While "High School Musical" was also on the Walt Disney imprint, it was a soundtrack to a TV movie. That makes "Hannah Montana" the first soundtrack from a TV series to reach No. 1 since "Miami Vice" in 1985-86. "Hannah Montana" is only the third soundtrack to a TV series to rule the Billboard album chart. The first No. 1 soundtrack to a TV series was "The Music from Peter Gunn" by Henry Mancini in 1959.

'LOVE' CONQUERS ALL: Justin Timberlake made chart news last week by having two hits in the top five of the Hot 100. "SexyBack" and the follow-up "My Love" (Jive) are still both in the top five, but the latter jumps 5-1, making Timberlake the first artist to have two chart-toppers on this list in 2006.

While it was looking like no artist would have more than one No. 1 on the Hot 100 this calendar year, Timberlake's second chart-topper arrives earlier than the first multiple No. 1 of 2005. Last year, Mariah Carey was the only artist to have two songs claim a stake at the summit during the calendar year. "We Belong Together" began a 14-week run in June and "Don't Forget About Us" moved into the penthouse on the chart dated Dec. 31.

Timberlake is the first solo male artist to pull two No. 1 singles from the same album since Usher has four No. 1 hits from the special edition of his "Confessions" CD. Since "SexyBack" was on top for seven weeks, Timberlake has racked up eight weeks in first place in 2006; that's the most weeks an artist has been No. 1 in a calendar year since Kanye West and Jamie Foxx reigned for 10 weeks in 2005 with "Gold Digger."
The title "My Love" is the first to be No. 1 on the Hot 100 through three different songs. Petula Clark's "My Love" was No. 1 in 1966 and Paul McCartney's "My Love" was No. 1 in 1973.

'BEFORE' AND AFTERMATH: Anticipation has been building to see which "American Idol" contestant would collect the series' 100th No. 1 on a Billboard chart. If that number seems high, keep in mind that it includes all national, domestic charts compiled by the Billboard Information Group. While I was busy focusing on whether Carrie Underwood or Ruben Studdard would collect the 100th "Idol" No. 1, since both were positioned at No. 2 last week, it turns out that Kelly Clarkson actually earned the TV series its 100th No. 1 in September. Two of her songs, "Breakaway" and "Walk Away," topped the Adult Contemporary and Adult Top 40 recurrent charts, respectively.

Underwood goes to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs as well as the Country Detections chart this week with "Berfore He Cheats" (Arista). That brings the total of "American Idol" No. 1s to 103, and they break down like this:

Kelly Clarkson - 41
Fantasia - 11
Ruben Studdard - 10
Carrie Underwood - 10
Clay Aiken - 9
Josh Gracin - 6
Taylor Hicks - 3
Kimberley Locke - 3
Bo Bice - 2
Diana DeGarmo - 1
Tamyra Gray - 1
William Hung - 1
American Idol Finalists - 5

"Before He Cheats" is Underwood's second No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs tally, following "Jesus, Take the Wheel" in January.

THE STATE OF ALABAMA: It's been 17 years since Alabama topped the Billboard country album chart, so it's a triumphant return for the veteran quartet as "Songs of Inspiration" (RCA) is its first set to debut at No. 1.

In March 1989, "Southern Star" was the 10th Alabama album to garner top ink. The group's highest-ranked album since then had been "For the Record: 41 Number One Hits," which debuted and peaked at No. 2 in September 1998.

On The Billboard 200, "Songs of Inspiration" enters at No. 15, matching the debut and peak position of "In the Mood: The Love Songs" in February 2003. Only three Alabama albums have charted higher than "Songs of Inspiration" and "In the Mood." They are:

"The Closer You Get...," No. 10 (1983)
"For the Record: 41 Number One Hits," No. 13 (1998)
"Mountain Music," No. 14 (1982)

"Songs of Inspiration" also debuts at No. 1 on the Top Christian Albums chart, where it is the first Alabama title to chart.

CUCHI-CUCHI, INDEED: If you only think of her signature line "Cuchi-Cuchi" when you hear the name Charo, you might be surprised to find her latest album debuting on the Top New Age Albums chart. The Spanish-born artist does have a serious side and is a virtuoso guitar player. "Charo and Guitar" (Universal Wave) is a new entry at No. 8. It is Charo's first release to appear on the new age chart since 1994, when "Guitar Passion" peaked at No. 6.

Charo does have a chart career that stretches back to 1977, when she was a dance artist signed to the Salsoul label. She had three songs appear on the Hot Dance Club Play chart; the most successful was "Dance a Little Bit Closer," No. 18 in 1978.

TEAMS TIMES TWO: Two superstars teaming up for a one-off project usually proves irresistible to music fans and there are two outstanding examples on this week's charts.

On Top Country Albums, George Jones and Merle Haggard's collaboration, "Jones Sings Haggard, Haggard Sings Jones" (Bandit/Welk) bows at No. 25. It's Haggard's highest-charting set since "Chill Factor" rose to No. 8 in March 1988. Jones was No. 13 as recently as October 2005 with "Hits I Missed... And One I Didn't."

The Jones/Haggard album enters The Billboard 200 at No. 119. "Hits I Missed" went to No. 79 on this chart. Haggard peaked at No. 37 in 1983 with "Pancho & Lefty," recorded with Willie Nelson.

Another duo debuts this week, as George Benson and Al Jarreau are paired on "Givin' It Up" (Monster/Concord). The CD enters the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart at No. 14. That makes it Jarreau's highest-ranked set since "Heart's Horizon" went to No. 10 in February 1989 and Benson's highest-charting album since "In Your Eyes" peaked at No. 6 in 1983.

On The Billboard 200, Benson and Jarreau debut at No. 58. That's Jarreau's best performance since "High Crime" climbed to No. 49 in 1984. For Benson, it's his best ranking since "20/20" saw its way to No. 45 in 1985.

Benson and Jarreau also shine on the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, where "Givin' It Up" enters at No. 1. Jarreau was last No. 1 in 2000 with "Tomorrow Today," which ruled for 11 weeks. Benson was most recently No. 1 with "Absolute Benson," which reigned for one week, also in 2000.