Fred Bronson reports on the latest chart accomplishments of Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Barbra Streisand, Luther Vandross, Sheryl Crow, Ray Charles and Earth, Wind & Fire.
THE DOLLY-MERLE GAME: The numbers 108-105 might sound like a basketball score, but for purposes of "Chart Beat," it's the number of chart entries scored by two veteran stars who both return to Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart this week.
Dolly Parton collects her 108th chart entry with the tally's Hot Shot Debut. "When I Get Where I'm Going" (Arista), credited to Brad Paisley featuring Dolly Parton, is new at No. 50. That's Parton's highest debut since February 1987, when her remake of the Teddy Bears' "To Know Him Is to Love Him," recorded with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, opened at No. 48.
"When I Get..." is already Parton's highest-charting song in 10 years. In November 1995, her duet with Vince Gill on her much-recorded composition "I Will Always Love You," peaked at No. 15.
"When I Get..." is Parton's second chart entry of 2005, following her appearance on the Bellamy Brothers' update of their own "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me)" in August. This is the first year that Parton has had two songs debut on the chart since 1994, when "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" (recorded with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette) and "PMS Blues" both debuted.
Her new total of 108 chart entries isn't enough to lift Dolly out of sixth place on the list of artists with the highest number of appearances on this survey. When she scores hit number 109, she will tie Ray Price for fifth place. Among females, Parton is comfortably ahead of second-place Reba McEntire, who has 88 chart entries to date.
The debut of "When I Get" stretches Parton's chart span to 38 years, eight months and three weeks, counting back to the entry of "Dumb Blonde" the week of Jan. 21, 1967.
Debuting at No. 58 on this week's chart is "Politically Uncorrect" (Epic) by Gretchen Wilson featuring Merle Haggard. It is Haggard's 105th chart entry, though his chart span is slightly longer than Parton's, at 41 years, nine months and two weeks, dating back to the Dec. 28, 1963, debut of "Sing a Sad Song."
Haggard's new total of 105 chart entries keeps him in seventh place among artists with the most appearances on the country list. The only artists with more chart entries than Parton and Haggard are George Jones (167), Eddy Arnold (145), Johnny Cash (137), Willie Nelson (119) and the above-mentioned Price (109).
"Politically Uncorrect" is Haggard's first chart entry of the 21st century. He last appeared on the Hot Country Songs chart in 1999 with "That's the Way Love Goes," which featured Jewel. "Politically" is Haggard's highest debuting title since "5:01 Blues" opened at No. 57 in April 1989.
INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN: The "Guilty" LP was Barbra Streisand's fifth No. 1 album when it was released in 1980. That Barry Gibb-produced set debuted on the Billboard album chart at No. 15 exactly 25 years ago this week. Marking the silver anniversary of this five-times-platinum album, the sequel enters The Billboard 200 at No. 5.
"Guilty Pleasures" (Columbia) is Streisand's 54th album to chart and the first since "The Movie Album" also debuted at No. 5 in November 2003. Thanks to "Guilty Pleasures," Streisand's album chart span grows to 42 and-a-half years, harking back to the debut of "The Barbra Streisand Album" the week of April 13, 1963.
One track from "Guilty Pleasures" is making noise on Billboard's Hot Dance/Club Play chart, where "Night of My Life" climbs to No. 25. It is the first Streisand song to appear on this chart in 26 years. In 1979, "The Main Event/Fight" peaked at No. 13 and "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)," recorded with Donna Summer, spent four weeks at No. 1.
AMAZING: In his lifetime, Luther Vandross had eight No. 1s on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Debuting in pole position on this week's tally is "So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross" (J).
It is the second multi-artist set to top the R&B list this year, but most noteworthy, it is the first tribute album to ever hit the No. 1 spot. On The Billboard 200, "So Amazing" bows at No. 4. If measured against all of Vandross' entries on this chart, it would rank as his second-highest charting album, runner-up only to "Dance With My Father," No. 1 in June 2003.
'GOOD' VIBRATIONS: An 11-9 move for "Good Is Good" (A&M) on Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart gives Sheryl Crow her 10th top 10 hit. That puts her in a tie with Matchbox Twenty for the highest number of top 10 hits on this survey. Crow collected her 10 top 10 hits in 10 years. She made her debut on the Adult Top 40 list 10 years ago with "All I Wanna Do."
MORE RAY: Seven months after Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company" moved to No. 1 on The Billboard 200 in the wake of its Grammy victory, another duets album starring Charles makes its debut. "Genius & Friends" (Atlantic/Rhino) is a new entry at No. 36.
"Genius & Friends" is the fifth album by Ray Charles to appear on the chart since Sept. 18, 2004, the week that "Genius Loves Company" made its
bow. Before this current set of five chart albums, it took Charles 18 years to chart his previous set of five albums -- "Renaissance," "Porgy & Bess," "True to Life," "Friendship" and "My World" -- which made the list between 1975 and 1993.
ELEMENTAL: Earth, Wind & Fire posts its highest-charting disc on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in almost 18 years. "Illumination" (Sanctuary) opens at No. 8, matching the debut and peak of "Millennium" in October 1993. In December 1987, the band went to No. 3 with "Touch the World."
Earth, Wind & Fire now has a chart span of 34 years and five months, going back to the May 8, 1971, debut of a self-titled LP.
On The Billboard 200, "Illumination" debuts at No. 8 and is Earth, Wind & Fire's highest-charting album since "Powerlight" topped out at No. 12 in 1983.