Fred discusses Beyoncé, George Strait, Dolly Parton, "chart years," year-end accounting and much more this week with readers.

WHERE'S 'FIGHTING' - GILBERT'S GRIPE

Dear Fred,

I think I found another Beyoncé song that did not make the top 10 of the Hot 100.

Didn't she have a song called "Fighting Temptation" that made it to No. 39? I remember this song was credited to Beyoncé featuring Missy Elliot, MC Lyte and Free and was from the soundtrack of the same name.

I truly enjoy your column,

Gilbert Fuentes
Houston

Dear Gilbert,

Before we get to your question, thanks for letting me know you enjoy "Chart Beat."

Your memory is excellent when it comes to remembering the artists' credits on "Fighting Temptation," considered the title song from the movie "The Fighting Temptations." Although the soundtrack was outstanding, the song never appeared on the Billboard Hot 100.

I'm not sure why you remember the song hitting No. 39, because it only appeared on one chart, Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and it peaked at No. 16 on this tally.

There was another track from the soundtrack that saw chart action. "Summertime" by Beyoncé featuring P. Diddy or Ghostface Killah peaked at No. 35 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs survey but did not cross over to the Hot 100.



LET GEORGE DO IT

Dear Fred,

I just got word that George Strait scored his 40th No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart with "She Let Herself Go." George is now officially tied for first place with the late Conway Twitty as the artist with the most No. 1 country songs.

Congratulations, George!!!

Lisa Curry
Beachwood, N.J.


BY GEORGE, I THINK HE DID IT!

George Strait has finally done it. His move of 2-1 with "She Let Herself Go" gives him his 40th No. 1 hit on the Hot Country Songs list and puts him in a tie with the late Conway Twitty for the most No. 1 country hits.

One can only wonder, however, how long he will "go" at the top of the chart, as Carrie Underwood's "Jesus, Take the Wheel" is right behind him at No. 2. Should Underwood accomplish this feat, she would not only have the first song to mention "Jesus" or "God" in its title since Sawyer Brown's "Thank God for You" in 1993. "Wheel" would be the first song with "Jesus" in its title to top this chart and Carrie would also become the youngest solo act to the top the country chart (age 22) since LeAnn Rimes did it in December 1996 at the age of 14 with "One Way Ticket (Because I Can)."

With Brad Paisley featuring Dolly Parton's "When I Get Where I'm Going" at No. 8 on the Hot Country Songs list, Ms. Parton earns her 55th top 10 country hit, more than any other female soloist/act in country music history. It is also her first top 10 hit since 1991, when she and Ricky Van Shelton topped the chart with their duet, "Rockin' Years."

John Maverick
Omaha, Neb.

Dear Lisa and John,

In a week filled with chart news it was difficult to choose which item should lead off Chart Beat, but I decided George Strait equaling Conway Twitty's record deserved top ink. See Chart Beat for details.

Dolly Parton's latest top 10 hit is the second item in "Chart Beat." John, you're correct in identifying this as her 55th top 10 hit. She was tied with Barbara Mandrell for having the most top 10 hits for any female act, but this collaboration with Brad Paisley puts her in first place by herself. We'll see how fast Reba McEntire can catch up, and who will pull ahead.

Other readers wrote in about Strait's 40th No. 1 and Dolly's latest top 10 hit. See the next two letters.



1,500 AND COUNTING

Dear Fred,

This week, George Strait collects his 40th No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. What is also interesting to note, if you add up all the No. 1 hits since Billboard began tracking country songs (starting with the first Juke Box chart on Jan. 8, 1944), you should find that this makes 1,500 songs that have reached No. 1 on a Billboard country singles chart.

Of course, I used the latest Joel Whitburn book to arrive at this number, and this is counting the separate #1s on the Juke Box, Best Sellers and Most Played by Jockeys charts from the late 1940s to the late 1950s. In light of the recent discussion in "Chart Beat Chat concerning the "correct" number of top 10 hits that Madonna and Elvis have, I'm not sure if you personally recognize all of the country singles charts from that era.

Anyway, I thought it was appropriate to have this milestone reached by an artist that also ties an all-time Billboard record, the 40 #1s by Conway Twitty.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Lammert
Austin, Texas

Dear Jonathan,

It is interesting that we have reached this plateau if we count all of the country charts, but as you guessed, Billboard only counts the Best Sellers chart prior to the consolidation of charts in the various genres.

You asked if I "personally recognize" all of the charts from that era. It isn't a personal choice at all. When I started writing for Billboard I followed the policies and chart rules set by the magazine. A lot of readers who complained about my reporting of Madonna tying Elvis Presley's record for top 10 hits and Mariah Carey tying Elvis' number of No. 1 hits tried to make it personal, but it isn't.



DOLLY WOULD (BE SO PROUD)

Fred,

All of us Dolly Parton fans were certainly pleased to see her back in the top 10 again this week after a 14-year absence. "When I Get Where I'm Going" with Brad Paisley is her 55th credited top 10 Billboard country single, allowing her to regain that record for a female artist (you had reported earlier in the year in
"Chart Beat" that Reba McEntire had tied her at 54).

My question is, does Dolly also hold the female artist record for most top 10s in any genre, or is there another woman with more top 10s on the Hot 100 or R&B or dance or some other chart?

Thanks!

T. Duane Gordon
Canton, Miss.
dgordon@dollymania.net

Dear T. Duane,

Madonna holds the record on the Billboard Hot 100, as she is tied with Elvis Presley with 36 top 10 hits. Aretha Franklin is the clear female leader on the R&B chart, with 52 top 10 hits. I don't think anyone will be surprised that the female frontrunner on the Adult Contemporary list is Barbra Streisand, with 35 top 10 hits.



WHEN
THE 'DAY' BEGAN


Hola Fred,

In your "The Year In Charts" column, you say that "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men was the No. 2 song of 1996 because "its chart life (was) split into two different chart years, or it would have been the top song of the year."

However, "One Sweet Day" debuted on the Hot 100 on Dec. 2, 1995, which I understand is when the new chart year began (the first week of December). If this is true, then the reason that "One Sweet Day" wasn't the No. 1 song of 1996 wasn't because it's chart life was split in two, but that "Macarena" by Los Del Rio, although it spent 14 weeks at No. 1 (not 16 like "One Sweet Day"), ended up with more chart points than "One Sweet Day."

Isn't chart points the real reason any song becomes the No. 1 song of the year? Just look at the years 2000 and 2001, when songs that peaked at No. 2 became the No. 1 song of the year, beating out all the songs that actually went to No. 1 during those chart years.

Thanks for your column. Keep up the great work.

Luis A. De Jesœs
San Juan, Puerto Rico
ldejesus75@hotmail.com

Dear Luis,

While I remembered that "One Sweet Day" debuted in 1995, you're correct - the Dec. 2 debut means that the single's entire chart life was in one chart year.

"Chart years" differ from calendar years, and normally begin with the first week in December and end with the last week in November. That means "Macarena" (Bayside Boys Mix) by Los Del Rio simply out-pointed "One Sweet Day."

However, in recent years, our annual recaps have been compiled in a different manner. Rather than assigning points to each weekly chart position, a title's total sales and/or airplay (depending on whether a particular chart is a sales chart, an airplay chart, or a chart that combines this data) determines year-end position. That's how the year-end charts in 2000 and 2001, as well as subsequent years, were configured.



HE
SAW 'THE SIGN'


Hi Fred!

I was looking over the 2005 and past year-end charts and noticed something that intrigued me. According to the 1994 year-end chart, the No. 1 single of the year was Ace of Base's worldwide hit "The Sign." What confused me is how "The Sign" ranked higher than "I Swear" [by All-4-One] and "I'll Make Love to You" [by Boyz II Men], which posted 11 and 14 week runs at No. 1 [respectively], while "The Sign" managed only six weeks [at No. 1].

I did a little research and found out "The Sign" spent a staggering 13 weeks at No. 1 on Hot 100 Airplay, but "I Swear" and "I'll Make Love To You" both had reasonably high peaks on the chart (I believe they were No. 1 for around 7-11 weeks each).

If anyone can explain this, it's you.

Thanks a lot.

Trevor Anderson
Houston

Dear Trevor,

"The Sign" was a surprisingly strong chart entry, even though it only had six weeks at No. 1. I realized this while writing my book "Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits." In the second edition, "The Sign" was the No. 3 song of the rock era.

One secret to the single's success -- after four weeks in pole position, "The Sign" dipped to No. 2 for four weeks, while R. Kelly's "Bump n' Grind" occupied first place. Then "The Sign" returned to the top spot for two more weeks, then fell to No. 2 again. Add in the two weeks "The Sign" spent at No. 2 before going to No. 1 in the first place, and the Ace of Base song spent 13 weeks in the top two.

"The Sign" was in the top 10 for 21 weeks, in the top 40 for 33 weeks and on the chart for 41 weeks.



OUT
WITH THE NEW, IN WITH THE OLD


Hello Fred,

I just looked at the latest Hot 100 chart and I was quite shocked to see songs that have been on the chart throughout the last months of 2005 gain more airplay than newer songs. What is up with that?

Thanks again,

Jeevaka Weerasena
Leeds, U.K.

Dear Jeevaka,

This is something that happens at the beginning of every calendar year. Radio stations traditionally review the year just ended during the last week of December, and feature countdowns of the year's top hits. Older songs like Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" and the Pussycat Dolls' "Don't Cha" experience airplay spikes that pushes them back up the Hot 100, though it's usually a temporary effect.

It was startling enough to generate more than a dozen e-mails from "Chart Beat" readers who wondered what was happening to the chart.



IT AIN'T NO. 1 UNTIL...

Fred,

Although I am a weekly chart checker, I just discovered your column today! Wow, the information you have is so incredible, I love it!

My question is, why can an artist claim they have a No. 1 hit, when their song never reached No. 1? For example, Rihanna's "Pon de Replay" was proclaimed everywhere as "the No. 1 single" but it only reached No. 2! Also, [on] the Destiny's Child CD "#1's, all of those tracks are not No. 1 hits!

As a huge Mariah Carey fan, it's bothersome because it's not easy to get to No. 1, so who says they can just claim that title?!

Thanks for the wonderful information!

Lorraine Alvarado
Los Angeles
Baller332k3@aol.com

Dear Lorraine,

It's always nice to welcome new "Chart Beat" readers. Glad you discovered the column.

Rihanna's "Pon de Replay" was No. 1 on three different Billboard charts: Hot Dance Radio Airplay, Hot Dance Club Play and Hot Digital Songs. So it's a fair claim -- as long as they didn't say "on the Hot 100," which I'm sure they didn't.

I write the "American Music Awards" every year, and artists (or their representatives) often request certain information be included in their introductions. One year, a new group (I won't mention which one out of respect to the artists) requested that I introduce their performance by mentioning the song was No. 1.

I was pretty certain the song was going to be No. 1 on the Hot 100, but it wasn't by the day our show was airing live. To be fair, I checked every possible Billboard chart where they could be No. 1, but I couldn't find evidence that they were on top of ANY chart.

They didn't realize that someone from Billboard was writing the show, and they kept insisting to our producer that they were No. 1, and our producer kept telling them that if anyone would know if they were No. 1, I would. I continued to check, and finally found they had gone to No. 1 on a little-known chart only published in our sister publication, Billboard Radio Monitor (at that time known as Airplay Monitor). Once I discovered that, I had to honor their request to introduce their performance as "a No. 1 song," because it was genuinely No. 1 on one chart.