CHART BEAT CHAT

Fred discusses Madonna, Bing Crosby and re-releases with readers.

IS MADONNA THE MOST?

Hi Fred!

I'm really surprised no one has said anything about Madonna's performance on the album chart compared to all other female artists. She had her sixth studio album, "Confessions on a Dance Floor," reach No. 1 on The Billboard 200. Isn't she the female singer with the most No. 1 albums?

Feliz Navidad!

Jose Carlos Santos
Mexicali, Mexico

Dear Jose,

When "Confessions on a Dance Floor" checked in at No. 1, Madonna did move out of a three-way tie with Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson for second place among solo female artists with the most chart-topping albums.

With six, Madonna is now in second place by herself; Mariah and Janet occupy third place, with five each. The leader of the pack is Barbra Streisand, with eight.



GLISTENING TREETOPS

Hi Fred!

I noticed Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" has climbed into the top 40 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart. It's my understanding that recurrent rules do not allow the song to chart on the Hot 100. (Hard to believe the Hot 100 did not yet exist when Bing had his final "new" top 40 hit in 1957!)

Still, does this not give Bing Crosby the longest span of top 40 entries on a Billboard pop chart? I count 65 years and five months -- July 1940 to December 2005. It's certainly the longest span for a re-charting single, something we will never see again on the Hot 100 under the current rules.

I'm sure when Bing recorded this single in 1942, he'd have laughed if you'd told him it would still be selling 63 years hence!

Sincerely,

Brian Weber
North Hollywood, Calif.

Dear Brian,

Bing Crosby was recording as early as 1931, though he didn't chart in Billboard until July 1940 because that's when the charts began.
So you're correct, he has set a new record for the longest span of Billboard chart hits.

I think if you could go back in time to 1942 and tell Bing that "White Christmas" would still be charting in 2005, he would not only laugh, he would ask you to explain what a "paid digital download" was.



HITTING THE RE-SET BUTTON

Dear Fred,

With the re-release of Mariah Carey's latest CD, "The Emancipation of Mimi," I noticed that the sales of the old version of the CD and the new CD are combined. Why is that?

Mary J. Blige re-released "No More Drama" back in 2002 with a few new songs on it and her Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) status count was set back at one. Why wasn't Mariah's?

I don't quite understand this because if artists could just add a couple new songs to their CDs, re-release then and keep adding up the tally of their CD sales by doing this, every artist would be doing this to increase their album sales.

Any explanation for this?

Thank You.

Neil Maciejewski
Boston
nmaciejewski@arn.com

Dear Neil,

I can't speak to RIAA policies, as that industry trade organization sets its own rules and is not governed by Billboard. More relevant, the special edition of the "No More Drama" CD by Mary J. Blige did chart separately from the original, and there is a reason.

The revised version of "No More Drama" removed some tracks from the original release. You can add tracks to a CD and still have it count as the same title, but if you remove tracks while adding others, it is considered a different album.

All of the major record companies as well as most independents are aware of Billboard chart policies, so they know in advance if revised versions of albums will chart as the same title or as a new chart entry separate from the original.

Issuing a revised or special edition of an album is still rare. Not every album would sell in significant numbers if reissued in a special version, which is why most artists refrain from this marketing strategy.