Answers to readers' questions about Clay Aiken, the Rolling Stones and En Vogue.
ACHIN' FOR AIKEN
When is Clay Aiken going to release his next studio album? I've read some news saying that he started working on it back in March 2005 but there is still no news about its release date. Do you have any idea when will it be released? I've also read that he might be collaborating with Faith Hill and Martina McBride. Is that true?
Right now, Clay Aiken's forthcoming RCA studio album is tentatively slated for release in May or June. It's the follow up to "Measure of a Man," which debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 in 2003. It has sold 2.7 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Aiken also released a holiday set, "Merry Christmas With Love," in November 2004. It reached No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top Holiday Albums chart and has moved 1.2 million in America.
As for what you've heard about Aiken working with Faith Hill and Martina McBride, it's only a rumor.
The Rolling Stones' American tour has just ended after six months on the road and a probable gross record. Contrarily, I've heard that their latest studio release was a "commercial failure" despite a top 3 debut. I would like to know the Stones' SoundScan totals to date, as it seems that they're a (huge) touring band that sells relatively few albums.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Rolling Stones' most recent studio album, "A Bigger Bang," has sold 500,000 in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, across 26 weeks. Released in September 2005, the Virgin album debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200.
While half a million copies of an album isn't quite flop status, it's not exactly a great number, either. The Stones' previous studio album, 1997's "Bridges To Babylon," has sold 1.2 million. In "Bridges'" first 26 weeks of availability, it moved 985,000 units.
"Bridges" also had a hit single and video in "Anybody Seen My Baby." The song climbed to No. 3 on Billboard Radio Monitor's Mainstream Rock chart. Three more singles from "Bridges" charted on one of the many charts Billboard (or Billboard Radio Monitor) publishes: "Flip the Switch," "Out of Control" and "Saint of Me."
So far, two cuts from "Bang" have reached the Mainstream Rock chart: "Rough Justice" (No. 25) and "Oh No, Not You Again" (No. 34).
The Stones next head to Tokyo for a two-night stand at the Tokyo Dome on March 22 and 24. The band has tour dates lined up through an Aug. 29 show in Cardiff, England.
EN VOGUE STILL IN VOGUE
I was happy to see the four original members of En Vogue featured in Stevie Wonder's "So What the Fuss" video and performing with Salt-N-Pepa at the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors. Are there any plans for the quartet to release another studio album together?
I've been wondering this too -- for a long time. Luckily, Billboard Senior Writer Gail Mitchell was backstage at the recent Soul Train Music Awards and caught up with the group's Dawn Robinson.
Robinson said that a reunion album with the four original ladies of En Vogue is still in the "talking stages," and that she is concentrating on her solo recording career at the moment. The last time the four girls released anything together was on the 1996 single "Don't Let Go (Love)."
En Vogue has racked up 16 hits on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, including six No. 1s: "Hold On," "Lies," "You Don't Have To Worry," "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)," "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" and "Don't Let Go (Love)."
The group also scored big with the pop hit "Free Your Mind" and the crossover hit "Whatta Man" (with Salt-N-Pepa).