Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about Pink, Five Star and Lisa Loeb.
IN THE PINK
Was wondering if there was any word on Pink's new album? And how many copies of each of her three previous CD's has she sold!
Newport Beach, Calif.
We're still patiently waiting for details about Pink's forthcoming studio album. Last we heard, she was working with a number of collaborators, including Rob Thomas and RZA. Of course, that was a number of months ago, so things could have changed.
Pink's last album, 2003's "Try This" (LaFace), debuted and peaked at No. 9 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 697,000 units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
SonyBMG, Pink's record company, doesn't have her new album on its publicized released schedule. But that doesn't mean one isn't on the way -- all involved may be waiting for the right time to announce the news. The opening screen of artist's official Web site features a note that reads, "new album, Web site and fan community coming soon!"
While there are rumors about her new album, and what the lead single might be, nothing has been officially confirmed by her label.
In the 1980s it was not as easy for an R&B artist to crossover on to The Billboard Hot 100 chart as it is today. This brings me to my two questions.
There was a British R&B group named Five Star on RCA Records that consisted of brothers and sisters. Five Star became a hit there in the U.K. and eventually "crossed over" to the States on the R&B charts with many of their album/singles.
Later the United States had their own with the MCA Records answer: the Jets. Both groups would eventually fade out in the early '90s. However, when I ask people about Five Star they have no idea of whom I am speaking. Moreover, everyone seems to know the more campy group, the Jets.
My first question is: In comparison, what was the peak chart positions of singles and albums by both groups on the pop charts as well as R&B charts? The second, is it possible for someone to have major R&B success and be a virtual unknown to the major public?
We had the same reaction to your question as most people: "What's Five Star?"
Turns out, the family group -- made up of Deniece, Doris, Lorraine, Stedman and Delroy Pearson -- charted 10 singles on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. They even scored three top 10 hits -- including "Let Me Be The One," which spent two weeks at No. 2 in 1985.
Of Five Star's 10 hits, only four crossed over to The Billboard Hot 100 -- our all-format singles chart. Even then, none of those four tunes made it into the top 40 of the Hot 100.
To compare, the Jets hit the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart 11 times -- with four top 10 singles. But, the Jets were also fortunate enough to cross over to mainstream top 40 radio stations, as well as adult contemporary radio. On the Hot 100 -- which at the time was primarily driven by top 40 radio -- the Jets managed 10 entries, six of which were top 20 hits: "Crush on You," "You Got It All," "Cross My Broken Heart," "I Do You," "Rocket 2 U" and "Make It Real."
As for albums, neither group was exceedingly successful on either The Billboard 200 or the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Five Star did best on the R&B albums tally with 1986's "Luxury of Life," which went to No. 14. The Jets had the most success on The Billboard 200, where its highest charted album was its self-titled debut, which reached No. 21 in 1986 as well.
There are many acts that were very big in the '80s (and earlier) who still had a respected and fruitful career -- but never crossed over to the pop charts.
Grammy winner Stephanie Mills only had one top 10 Hot 100 hit, but has charted 29 entries on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with five of those hitting No. 1. Vocalist O'Bryan (aka O'Bryan Burnett) hit No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart in 1984 with "Lovelite," and also charted eight other singles. However, he only hit the Hot 100 twice.
Female singer Candi Staton charted 28 singles on the R&B chart -- with six of them going top 10. However, she only hit the Hot 100's top 20 once, in 1976 with her No. 1 R&B hit "Young Hearts Run Free." The song would later be re-popularized by Kym Mazelle in the Leonardo DiCaprio film "Romeo + Juliet." You also may have heard Staton's single "You Got The Love" as it played over the final moments of the "Sex and the City" finale last year. The single originally hit No. 88 on the R&B chart in 1986.
I'm writing because like many others, I'm a big supporter of Lisa Loeb and her music. I remember, back in November of last year, someone wrote you asking about "The Way It Really Is" and if it had charted. Well, we all knew that with only 9,000 units sold back then, there was no way the world was hearing this album.
Over the last year, Lisa has made many, appearances and performed as various events and venues. I'm curious how many albums she's sold with all of the touring. So is it possible for you to give us an update as to how many units of this album she has sold to date.
The picture hasn't gotten much brighter for "The Way It Really Is." To date, the album has sold 15,000 units in America, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Still, at least it's more than the 9,000 that it had sold when we last checked in November 2004.
Loeb's biggest album remains 1995's "Tails." It has sold 716,000 to date.
Make sure to visit Lisa Loeb's official Web site at LisaLoeb.com to stay on top of her upcoming tour dates and current news.