Fred and his readers discuss artists who have succeeded in their solo career as well as their group career, Bob Dylan and future book ideas.
NOTHING SUCCEEDS LIKE SUCCESSION
A few weeks ago when Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack" catapulted to No. 1, something was accomplished at the apex of the Hot 100 for the first time in more than 17 years. This is the first time since 1989 that a solo artist from a successful group that propelled them to superstardom followed another to the No. 1 spot. Timberlake follows Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas with her hit, "London Bridge."
To put the length of time of this chart feat in perspective, most of the artists charting today were of pre or elementary school age when this last occurred on Jan. 21, 1989. That's when Phil Collins ("Two Hearts") replaced Bobby Brown ("My Prerogative") at No. 1. Collins and Brown graduated from the successful groups Genesis and New Edition, respectively.
The 1970s and 1980s saw a lot of artists breaking away from established duos and groups to have succesful careers of their own. It was not uncommon for the No. 1 spot to be occupied in succession by the likes of George Michael and Belinda Carlisle; Michael Jackson and George Harrison; John Waite and Tina Turner; and even trios that consisted of Kenny Loggins, Phil Collins and Lionel Richie.,
Below I have compiled a list that begins in 1980 of back-to-back No. 1s by artists from successful duos and groups. I don't include those artists who were part of unsuccessful groups early in their careers like Billy Joel; those whose names headlined groups where they first came to prominence like Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band; nor those who at times headlined vanity group projects (Prince and the Revolution or New Power Generation).
"Lady," Kenny Rogers (First Edition) followed by "(Just Like) Starting Over," John Lennon (the Beatles)
"Islands In the Stream," Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton followed by "All Night Long," Lionel Richie (Commodores) followed by "Say, Say, Say," Paul McCartney (the Beatles) & Michael Jackson (the Jackson 5)
"Footlose," Kenny Loggins (Loggins and Messina) followed by "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)," Phil Collins (Genesis) followed by "Hello," Lionel Richie
"Ghostbusters," Ray Parker Jr. (Raydio) followed by "What's Love Got to Do With It," Tina Turner (Ike and Tina Turner) followed by "Missing You," John Waite (Babys)
"Sledgehammer," Peter Gabriel (Genesis) followed by "Glory of Love," Peter Cetera (Chicago)
"Heaven Is A Place on Earth," Belinda Carlisle (Go-Go's) followed by "Faith," George Michael (Wham!)
"Got My Mind Set on You," George Harrison (the Beatles) followed by "The Way You Make Me Feel," Michael Jackson
"Roll With It," Steve Winwood (Spencer Davis Group and Traffic) followed by "Monkey," George Michael
"My Prerogative," Bobby Brown followed by "Two Hearts," Phil Collins
"London Bridge," Fergie (the Black Eyed Peas) followed by "SexyBack" Justin Timberlake ('N Sync)
Thanks for doing all of the research and for noticing in the first place. If Beyonce has the next No. 1 with "Ring the Alarm," we'll once again have three consecutive solo artists formerly in groups occupying pole position on the Hot 100.
When Bob Dylan reached No. 1 on The Billboard 200 earlier this month, several articles noted that he became the oldest living artist to score a No. 1 album (distinguishing him from such recent chart-toppers as the deceased Ray Charles and Johnny Cash).
This is a wonderful trivia tidbit, but what I never saw answered was, whom exactly did ol' Mr. Zimmerman beat for this record? In other words, prior to Dylan and "Modern Times," who held the record for oldest living Billboard 200 chart-topper?
My guess would be Jimmy Buffett, with his smash "License to Chill" from 2003, when he was 57, but I'm just guessing.
Thanks as always for my favorite Friday-afternoon read.
There is no database to check, so I have to rely on my memory (or look up the age of every artist to reach No. 1, which is beyond the time and scope of Chart Beat Chat).
Many of our veteran artists are in their 60s, including Paul McCartney, Diana Ross, Neil Young, Tina Turner, Smokey Robinson, Patti LaBelle, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, Kenny Rogers and Dionne Warwick, but none of them have had No. 1 albums since turning 60.
Back in 1964, Louis Armstrong spent six weeks at No. 1 with his "Hello, Dolly!" album. He was 62 at the time, and was just a few weeks shy of turning 63 when the album completed its run in pole position.
For the record, Bob Dylan turned 65 on May 24.
There was a lot of talk this week about George Strait's record breaking 41st No. 1 hit. You also mentioned that JoJo made the largest jump into the top 3 on the Hot 100, zooming up 63 positions to No. 3. These kinds of musical records fascinate me as I'm sure they do many of your other readers. In fact, it's these kinds of record-breaking accomplishments that have kept me reading your column and Billboard for so many years.
Have you or Billboard considered publishing a book containing all of these interesting musical achievements? Many of your readers write in to ask questions like which artist has spent the most weeks in the top 10 on this or that chart, what song has spent the most weeks at No. 1 or No. 2, what is the most successful duo or trio, which artist had the most hits in a single year or decade in the history of a chart, etc.? It seems like every time someone asks you this type of question, you somehow either have access to the information or you just know the answer from your vast knowledge of the history of music and the charts.
I think a book (or even a website of some sort) with all of these record-breaking achievements would be a beneficial resource followed by both chart fanatics (like myself) and folks just interested in seeing how their favorite artist rates in the record books. [It would be] sort of a "Guinness Book of World Records" for music. A website could even be easily updated every time a record is broken.
What do you think?
It's a great suggestion, but I am spending all of 2006 revising and updating my book "Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits" for a fourth edition to be published in 2007, and the plan is to spend all of 2007 revising and updating "The Billboard Book of Number One Hits" for a sixth edition to be published in 2008.
By the time 2008 rolls around, I'm going to need a rest.
But seriously, in addition to rewriting my books, I'm working on numerous television projects and writing Chart Beat and Chart Beat Chat on a weekly basis. Your chart book is a great idea, but I don't know how I could fit it, or a website that would need constant updating, into my schedule.
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN (WELL, NOT EVERYTHING...)
Can you please explain what is the criterion for an old song that has previously charted to be on the charts again?
This phenomenon hasn't occurred for a long time, but I do remember in the late '80s and early '90s songs like UB40's "Red Red Wine," Benny Mardones' "Into the Night," Pointer Sisters "I'm So Excited," Sheriff's "When I'm With You" and several others [returning to the charts for a second chart run].
There must be many songs that are played on Adult Contemporary stations that are recurrent hits. Why don't they chart?
Billboard singles charts like the Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Country Songs are tools for the music industry to measure the most popular current hits. At a certain point (different for different charts), songs are removed after they fall below a certain position after so many weeks on a chart. They can then appear on recurrent charts in those same categories.
Songs that are simply oldies, like Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," are not eligible to chart.
The songs that you mentioned, including UB40's "Red Red Wine" and Benny Mardones' "Into the Night," had second chart lives because radio re-discovered them and their record labels re-promoted them as new releases. Active promotion by a record label is one of the criterion by which an older song can have a second chart life.