Fred Bronson discusses charts and artists with readers.

STILL 'TOGETHER'

Hello Fred!

Mariah Carey continues to be the chart phenomenon of the year, as this week she sets a new chart [record]. With "We Belong Together" in its 13th week on top of the Hot 100, she now has the longest running No. 1 single of the decade (surpassing Eminem's "Lose Yourself" and Usher's "Yeah!" with 12 weeks each).

While her run could certainly be surpassed by the end of 2009, as of now she is the only artist in Hot 100 history to have the longest running No. 1 hit of two different decades. "One Sweet Day," with Boyz II Men, was of course the longest running chart-topper of the '90s with 16 weeks on top.

With "Shake It Off" looking more and more like the next No. 1 single, I'm sure Mariah will continue to pop up in Chart Beat for some time to come.

Thanks for the great column!

Eric Colley
Lake Mary, Fla.

Dear Eric,

Every once in a while there is an artist who generates chart news for weeks at a time. Elton John did it at the end of 1997 when his tribute single to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997," was No. 1 for 14 weeks. Usher seemed to make chart news every week in 2004 and Ray Charles garnered a lot of posthumous ink last year.

Now it's Mariah Carey's turn to make a lot of chart news. The ongoing success of "We Belong Together" and the rise of "Shake It Off" have given me a lot to write about, and so has the success of her album, "The Emancipation of Mimi."

If "We Belong Togeher" is No. 1 for a 14th week, or if Mariah replaces herself at No. 1 with "Shake It Off," that will create even more Chart Beat fodder. This week's Chart Beat leads off with Mariah, and you can read that column by going here.



ALL AROUND THE WORLD

Fred:

While it is generally recognized that the sales of physical singles in Canada is pathetic, with probably less than 1,000 copies required to top the charts, it is nonetheless interesting that five of the top six singles on the Canadian singles charts this week are by U.S. or Canadian "Idols." Besides Carrie Underwood, Bo Bice and the fourth season finalists' tracks, the chart also features Kalen Porter, last year's winner on "Canadian Idol" and Hedley, a band fronted by Jacob Hoggard, who was third in last summer's competition.

Patrick Kelly
Brampton, Ontario

Dear Patrick,

The phenomenon of "Idol" finalists doing well on the charts in their respective countries has repeated all over the world, so I'm not surprised that the Canadian Idols are charting in your country.

The American Idols have charted in some of the countries where the series has been broadcast, particularly Canada, Australia and New Zealand.



EXCLUSIVITY

Hi Fred,

Can you clear up a question I have regarding music that is available exclusively from one retailer? In your Aug. 11 Chart Beat column, you refer to "Seasons of Love" by the cast of "Rent" debuting based on its sales strength and that it was available exclusively from iTunes.

However, I also recall that recently Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill Acoustic" album didn't chart initially because it was only available from Starbucks. Is it a difference between singles charts and albums charts? Or between on-line and traditional retailers? Or something else?

Thanks,

Phil Fernandez
San Diego

Dear Phil,

You did answer your own question somewhere in there. I discussed your inquiry with our director of charts, Geoff Mayfield, and here's what he had to say:

"Phil put his finger on the answer, Fred.

"He is correct in stating that we do not allow exclusive titles on most of Billboard's albums charts, and his assumption is correct that the Billboard Hot 100 is governed by a slightly different set of rules.

"Prior to December 1998, a song could not appear on the Hot 100 until it was available at retail. In those days, the exclusive rule applied, and still does for inclusion on Hot Singles Sales. Changes in the marketplace led us to allow radio-only singles on the Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, a rule that also applies to our new Pop 100 chart.

"Since a song can appear on the Hot 100 on radio play alone, it would seem arbitrary to bar exclusives offered by iTunes or its download competitors. This is also consistent with the rules of the Top Internet Albums chart, which have always allowed the inclusion of exclusive offerings."



COVER ART

Hi Fred,

I loved your comparing Alan Jackson's "USA Today" reference to the classic "Cover of the Rolling Stone" by Dr. Hook. What was so funny at the time was that Dr. Hook DID in fact make it on the cover -- as an illustrated cartoon and not the "see my picture" as they so wanted.

A question that's been poking in my mind of late while I've been looking at the thousands of songs on my iPod are those artists who've topped the chart going by just their first name. I've restricted those to their given names, and also excluded those that were not solo (leaving out everyone from Dion and the Belmonts to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch).

Women easily outnumber the men (I could think of 10 women, but the only men I could think of have been Prince, Seal, and Usher, though I'm sure there are others which your readers and you will quickly jump on).

Chris Companik
Atlanta
chriscompanik@mindspring.com

Dear Chris,

Dion did originally chart with the Belmonts, but by the time he went to No. 1 with "Runaround Sue," he was a solo artist and the single was credited simply to Dion.



MISSED THE POINT, AS IN MISSISSIPPI

Hi Fred,

I believe you may have misinterpreted the e-mail from a couple of weeks ago. The reader was citing top 40 country hits where the state is the only thing in the title, not hits that just contain a state name within the title.

There have been numerous country hits over the years with a state in the title ("All My Ex's Live in Texas," "Tennessee Waltz," "Louisiana Saturday Night," etc.). In fact, that list may be too big to print!

That being said, the reader did miss the song "Mississippi" by Barbara Fairchild, which hit No. 31 in 1976, putting that state at three top 40 hits where the state is the only thing in the title. John Phillips (No. 58) and Jack Paris (No. 75) also recorded songs titled "Mississippi," but those two didn't hit the country top 40, so they don't meet the original criteria set down by the reader.

Hope this clears things up.

Paul Haney
Record Research
Menomonee Falls, Wis.

Dear Paul,

No "may" about it, as a number of readers have let me know I missed John Maverick's original point. Must have been my state of mind. Thanks for finding the third "Mississippi," and for all the good work you and everyone at Record Research do on the great line of books by Joel Whitburn.