Fred discusses Nelly Furtado, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, George Strait and Paris Hilton.
TWO 'LOOSE' TRACKS HOLD POLE POSITIONS: Nelly Furtado is No. 1 on the singles chart whether you live in the United States or the United Kingdom, but which track depends on your country of residence.
On the Billboard Hot 100, "Promiscuous" (Mosley/Geffen) advances 3-1 to become Furtado's first chart-topper. On the U.K. singles chart, "Maneater" leads the list for the third week. Both tracks are from "Loose," the album that enters The Billboard 200 at No. 1.
Furtado is the first artist to be simultaneously No. 1 on the U.S. and U.K. singles charts with two different songs since Usher did it with "Burn" in the United Kingdom and "Confessions Part II" in the United States in July 2004.
"Promiscuous" is the 12th song to assume pole position in 2006. That's more No. 1 hits in any full calendar year since 2001, when 14 songs climbed to the summit.
Since Timbaland is featured on "Promiscuous," the gap between the genders doesn't change: four women have moved into the penthouse this year, vs. 15 men.
"Promiscuous" replaces "Do I Make You Proud" by "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks after just one week. Furtado and Timbaland have the 14th song in a row to be No. 1 for five weeks or less. That's the longest streak since the Hot 100 has been compiled with sales information from Nielsen SoundScan and airplay stats from Nielsen Broadcast Daya Systems.
Finally, Furtado is the second chart-topping artist in a row with a first name that was last No. 1 by an artist of the opposite sex. In Furtado's case, it was St. Louis rapper Nelly. For her predecessor Taylor Hicks, it was singer Taylor Dayne.
GIANTS OF MOTOWN: Two artists who enjoyed their first success during Motown's early years return to The Billboard 200 this week. Smokey Robinson, who was a part of Berry Gordy's company right from the beginning, enters at No. 109 with "Timeless Love" (New Door). It's his first chart album of new material since "Intimate" in 1999 and his highest-charting set of new material since "One Heartbeat" peaked at No. 26 in June 1987.
A greatest hits CD, "My World: The Definitive Collection," peaked at No. 64 in May 2005. That was Robinson's only other title to chart in this century. Smokey's first solo album, called "Smokey," debuted the week of July 14, 1973. That would give him a chart span of 33 years and one week. But you have to include his work with the Miracles, which gives him a total album chart span of 43 years and one month, counting back to the debut of "The Fabulous Miracles" the week of June 8, 1963.
With a Motown tenure that is just a little bit shorter than Robinson's, Diana Ross is back on The Billboard 200 with "Blue" (Universal Motown), an album of jazz standards recorded in 1972. It's the first solo album by Ross to chart in this century; she was last on the survey as a solo act in June 1999 when "Every Day Is a New Day" peaked at No. 108. A collection of Supremes' No. 1 hits went to No. 72 in February 2004.
Ross made her first solo appearance on the Billboard album chart exactly 36 years ago when "Diana Ross" debuted the week of July 11, 1970. Her career chart span is 41 years, nine months and four weeks, dating back to the debut of "Where Did Our Love Go" in September 1964.
"Blue" is doing exceptionally well on the Top Jazz Albums chart, where it debuted last week at No. 5, based on street date violations (it was available exclusively at Starbucks for five weeks). In its second week on the jazz chart, "Blue" is up to No. 2. It's Diana's first album to appear on this chart since "The Lady Sings...Jazz and Blues: Stolen Moments" peaked at No. 10 in January 1994.
The Robinson and Ross CDs also debut on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. "Timeless Love" is new at No. 18, Robinson's highest-charting release since "One Heartbeat" was No. 1 19 years ago this week. "Blue" bows at No. 71.
STRAIT TALK: George Strait has the second highest-debut of his career on the Hot Country Songs chart, with the No. 34 entry of "Give It Away" (MCA). His only song to have a higher opening was "You'll Be There," which bowed at No. 30 the week of April 9, 2005.
"Give It Away" is Strait's 102nd chart entry. If it becomes his 41st No. 1 hit, Strait will hold the record for the most chart-toppers all by himself. For now, he is tied with Conway Twitty at 40.
WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS: She's a reality TV star and a pop culture icon. Now Paris Hilton is also a recording artist with a hit on the Hot 100. Her debut single, "Stars Are Blind" (Warner Bros.), bursts onto the chart at No. 18. That's the third-highest new entry of 2006, behind Taylor Hicks' "Do I Make You Proud" (debuted at No. 1) and Ashley Parker Angel's "Let U Go" (debuted at No. 17).