Fred Bronson reports on the latest chart feats of Kanye West, Les Paul, Kimberley Locke, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan.
GOING FOR THE 'GOLD': Elvis Presley fans can rest easy -- at least, for this week. The speculation that Mariah Carey's "Shake It Off" (Island) would advance to No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100 came to naught. Had the song reached the pinnacle, it would have been Carey's 17th No. 1, putting her into a tie with Presley for the second highest total of chart-toppers in the rock era.
"Shake It Off" remains in second place while a surprise contender rockets to pole position. "Gold Digger" (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam) by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx surges 19-1, a move that puts the song into the record books as the fifth biggest jump to No. 1 in Hot 100 history.
For the record, the top four biggest jumps to No. 1 are:
52-1 "A Moment Like This," Kelly Clarkson (2002)
27-1 "Can't Buy Me Love," the Beatles (1964)
23-1 "The Boy Is Mine," Brandy & Monica (1998)
21-1 "U Remind Me," Usher (2001)
"Gold Digger" is the second No. 1 on the Hot 100 for West as well as Foxx. In February 2004, the two men shared one week on top with the song "Slow Jamz," credited to Twista featuring Kanye West and Jamie Foxx. As a songwriter, this is the third chart-topper for West. In addition to "Slow Jamz," he was one of the writers of "Stand Up," a No. 1 for Ludacris featuring Shawna in December 2003.
"Gold Digger" contains samples of the Ray Charles recording "I Got a Woman." That gives the late singer a songwriting credit on "Gold Digger," his very first writing credit on a No. 1 hit on this chart, even though Charles topped the Hot 100 as an artist three times.
Charles first led the Hot 100 almost 45 years ago, in November 1960, with "Georgia on My Mind," written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stewart Gorrell. In October 1961, Charles spent two weeks on top with "Hit the Road Jack," composed by Percy Mayfield. In June 1962, Charles had a five-week reign with "I Can't Stop Loving You," written by the man who originally recorded the song, Don Gibson.
With West and Foxx at No. 1, the record-setting 19-week shut-out of male artists comes to an end. "Gold Digger" puts men on top for the first time since the week of April 30, when 50 Cent and Olivia dominated for the ninth week with "Candy Shop." This is the first week a woman has not occupied the top slot since Feb. 26, the final frame of Mario's nine-week reign with "Let Me Love You."
West isn't just dealing in gold this week. His single "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" makes a huge 40-place Hot 100 rebound, landing at No. 51. Sampling Shirley Bassey's "Diamonds Are Forever," the "Sierra Leone" single peaked the week of Aug. 6 at No. 43.
On the lighter side, "Gold Digger" is the first No. 1 song with a title that begins with the word "Gold." It is only the fourth title that begins with "Gold" to reach the top 10, following Bassey's "Goldfinger" (No. 8 in 1965), David Bowie's "Golden Years" (No. 10 in 1976) and John Stewart's "Gold" (No. 5 in 1979).
On a more serious note, West leads the Hot 100 and The Billboard 200 with his first No. 1 album, "Late Registration," just a few days after making news with his comments about President George W. Bush on an NBC Universal telethon to raise money for hurricane evacuees. Expressing his unscripted feelings on network television proved to be no impediment to sales. "Gold Digger" made the unexpected move to No. 1 based both on airplay and sales of paid digital downloads (the song also debuts at No. 1 on the Hot Digital Songs chart).
MORE OF LES: George Burns was 84 years old when his LP "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again" debuted on the Billboard album chart in February 1980. If he did hold the record for being the oldest living individual to appear on this survey, he no longer does. Electric guitar innovator Les Paul turned 90 on June 9, and as part of the celebration, Capitol has released the CD "Les Paul & Friends: American Made World Played." The album is a new entry at No. 152 on The Billboard 200.
The debut of the new CD ends a 50-year gap in Paul's chart history. He last appeared on the Billboard album tally in 1955 with "Les and Mary," recorded with his wife Mary Ford. That album was also on Capitol.
8TH PLACE: Kelly Clarkson isn't the only "American Idol" competitor in the top 10 of Billboard's Adult Contemporary airplay chart. Clarkson's "Breakaway" (Walt Disney/Hollywood) dips 2-3, while second season finalist Kimberley Locke scores her second top 10 hit on the AC list with "I Could" (Curb), which leaps 13-8.
Eighth place is an appropriate spot for Locke. She first reached the AC top 10 in October 2004 with "8th World Wonder," which peaked at No. 6.
BOB AND ERIC: Two veteran artists with chart careers that began in the 1960s have new albums debuting on The Billboard 200 this week.
"Back Home" (Duck/Reprise) is new at No. 13, making it Eric Clapton's highest-charting set since "Me and Mr. Johnson" debuted and peaked at No. 6 in April 2004. Clapton's chart span stretches to 38 years and four months, counting back to the debut of Cream's "Fresh Cream" in May 1967.
New at No. 16 is "No Direction Home: The Soundtrack: The Bootleg Series Vol. 7" (Legacy/Columbia). It is Bob Dylan's highest-charting album since "Love and Theft" debuted and peaked at No. 5 in September 2001. Dylan's chart span extends to 42 years and one week, dating back to the September 1963 debut of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan."