Fred discusses Katharine McPhee, India.Arie, "Superman" and more!
'RAINBOW' CONNECTION: "The Wizard of Oz" had its world premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood on Aug. 15, 1939. Exactly 65 years and 11 months later, one of the songs from that film reaches its highest position ever on a Billboard pop singles chart, as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (RCA) by fifth season "American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee enters the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 12.
The song, written by Harold Arlen and E. Y. "Yip" Harburg (and usually titled "Over the Rainbow") was performed by McPhee on "Idol" when there were three contestants left, and again on the show's live finale which originated at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, just steps away from the still-standing Grauman's Chinese.
The first Billboard pop singles chart was published in July 1940, so the original recording of "Over the Rainbow" by "Oz" star Judy Garland couldn't chart. A vocal group from the Bronx, the Demensions, took the song to No. 16 on the Hot 100 in 1960 while singer Gary Tanner had a 1978 single that peaked at No. 69.
McPhee's recording of "Rainbow" has missed out on being the highest-charting song from "The Wizard of Oz" soundtrack by one rung. In 1967, a group from Stamford, Conn., known as the Fifth Estate went to No. 11 with "Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead."
McPhee also debuts at No. 60 with the B-side of her single, "My Destiny." On the Hot Singles Sales chart, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"/"My Destiny" bows at No. 2, held out of pole position by the man who won the fifth season of "American Idol": Taylor Hicks. He is No. 1 for the third week with "Do I Make You Proud"/"Takin' It to the Streets."
BLUES AND SOUL: When India.Arie made her first appearance on The Billboard 200, she became only the second solo female artist in the history of the Motown imprint to have a top 10 album. Her "Acoustic Soul" opened at No. 10 the week of April 14, 2001.
The only other solo female Motown artist to have a top 10 album at that point was -- and no points at all for guessing this one -- Diana Ross.
This week, India.Arie rewrites the chart history books again as her third CD, "Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship," debuts at No. 1. That makes India.Arie and Diana Ross the only solo female Motown artists to have No. 1 albums. Ross led the list just once, for two weeks in April 1973 with the soundtrack to "Lady Sings the Blues."
YOU'LL BELIEVE AN ALBUM CAN FLY UP THE CHARTS: It's been 23 years since a soundtrack to a "Superman" movie appeared on The Billboard 200. "Superman III" stopped at No. 163 in July 1983. Before that, "Superman II" stalled at No. 133 in the summer of 1981. "Superman - The Movie" found its way to No. 44 in 1979.
That makes "Superman Returns" (Warner Bros.), with a debut at No. 110, the second-highest ranked soundtrack to a film about the Man of Steel.
'DIXIE' CLICKS: Hank Williams, Jr. has his highest-charting album in just over 16 years, thanks to the No. 3 debut of "That's How They Do It in Dixie: The Essential Collection" (Curb) on Top Country Albums. Williams was last in the top three in April 1990, when "Lone Wolf" peaked at No. 2.
This greatest hits set is Williams' first chart entry since "I'm One of You" reached No. 24 in December 2003.
Williams' chart span is stretched to 42 years, two months and two weeks, dating back to the May 2, 1964 debut of "Hank Williams, Jr. Sings the Songs of Hank Williams."
SUMMER FREEZE: For the first time since the launch of weekly sales
charts in Germany on Jan. 4, 1971, the entire top 10 of the singles chart remains in place, notes German chart expert Jochen Tierbach. The same 10 best-selling singles from last week are this week's 10 best-selling singles, in the same order.
This has never happened before, says Tierbach, who remembers two close calls. On June 9, 1975, the top eight was unchanged. The previous record was set on March 24, 1980 and tied on Sept. 27, 1993, when the nine best-selling singles did not move at all.