Fred Bronson reports on the latest chart feats of Martina McBride, Bow Wow, LaToya London, Natasha Bedingfield and more.BEGGING YOUR PARDON: Martina McBride has the highest new entry on Billboard's Hot Country Songs list, thanks to the No. 53 debut of her latest single. Her 41st song to chart is a familiar title, "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden" (RCA), a remake of Lynn Anderson's 1970 hit "Rose Garden," written by Joe South.
McBride's "Garden" is from her forthcoming album, "Timeless," a collection of cover versions of vintage country songs. The CD is due in stores Oct. 16.
Anderson's recording of the South composition spent five weeks at No. 1 on the country chart, in a reign that began on Dec. 26, 1970. The single had debuted seven weeks earlier at No. 68.
That same year, South made his third and final appearance on the country chart as an artist, when "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" went to No. 56. Although it was a pop hit, it was the lowest-charting of his three country entries. "You're the Reason" peaked at No. 16 in 1961 and "Don't It Make You Want to Go Home" reached No. 27 in 1969. A remake of that last title by Butch Baker peaked at No. 51 in 1987; this week marks South's first appearance on the chart as a songwriter since the Baker single.
If McBride's interpretation of "Rose Garden" achieves top 10 status, it would be her 19th top tier hit. If it goes all the way, it would become her sixth No. 1.
WOW FACTOR: It was exactly five years ago this week that Bow Wow -- then just 13 years old and known as Lil Bow Wow -- made his debut on the Billboard Hot 100. This week he has two songs in the top 30 portion of the chart. One is the highest-charting title of his career and the other is looking like it will be his second biggest hit.
"Bounce With Me" is the song that marked Lil Bow Wow's first appearance on the Hot 100. Featuring the girl group Xscape, the track debuted at No. 48 the week of Aug. 19, 2000, peaking one month later at No. 20. It remained Lil Bow Wow's biggest hit until September 2003, when "Let's Get Down," featuring Baby, peaked at No. 14. That, in turn, was the biggest hit for the artist born Shad Moss until his current collaboration with Omarion, "Let Me Hold You" (Columbia), which is holding at No. 4.
Meanwhile, Bow Wow's new single, "Like You" featuring Ciara, makes a major move, jumping 49-25 in its third frame. If momentum can carry it up the chart another 12 places, it will replace "Let's Get Down" as Bow Wow's second-biggest hit.
'DIAMONDS' ARE A GUY'S BEST FRIEND: Rock veteran Alice Cooper has his highest-charting album on The Billboard 200 in 11 years. "Dirty Diamonds" (New West) opens at No. 169. That's Cooper's highest-debuting and highest-charting set since "The Last Temptation of Alice Cooper," which debuted and peaked at No. 68 in July 1994.
"Diamonds" is the 23rd chart album of Cooper's career, which began with the debut of "Pretties for You" in June 1969. That debut LP only went to No. 193. The most successful Alice Cooper album is "Billion Dollar Babies," which spent the week of April 21, 1973 at No. 1. The debut of "Diamonds" expands Cooper's album chart span to 36 years, one month and three weeks.
EIGHTEEN AND SHE LIKES IT: The No. 8 debut of "Appreciate" / "Every Part of Me" (Peak/Concord) on the Hot Singles Sales tally makes LaToya London the 18th "American Idol" contestant to appear on a Billboard chart under their own name.
London's debut comes just three weeks after the first chart appearance by another third season contestant, Jasmine Trias. With London's new entry, the third season of "Idol" has yielded more charted artists than any other season. London is the sixth third-season finalist to chart, following Fantasia, Diana DeGarmo, George Huff, John Stevens and Trias.
"Appreciate" is just one of four "Idol" singles in the top 10 of the sales chart. Carrie Underwood's version of "Inside Your Heaven" (Arista) continues at No. 2, while Bo Bice's version of the same song, released as a single by RCA, stands pat at No. 3. The fourth season American Idol Finalists' version of "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" (RCA) rebounds 12-9.
'NO MORE' PROPHETIC?: Michael Buble's "Home" (143/Reprise) tumbles 1-3 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, but Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" (Walt Disney/Hollywood) doesn't earn its 22nd week at No. 1, yet. Instead, Rob Thomas' "Lonely No More" (Melisma/Atlantic) leapfrogs 3-1, finally claiming the throne in its 26th chart week.
With Thomas following Buble in pole position, it's the first time in 10 years that two solo males have had back-to-back AC No. 1 hits. In 1995, Elton John's "Believe" succeeded Bryan Adams' "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?"
SWEET 'SEASONS': The film hasn't opened yet, but a song from the soundtrack to "Rent" debuts on the Billboard Hot 100. "Seasons of Love" (Warner Bros.), credited to Cast of Rent, earns Hot Shot Debut honors, bowing at No. 68. "Seasons of Love" debuts based on its sales strength; available exclusively at iTunes for a limited time, it is also a new entry on the Hot Digital Songs chart at No. 25.
"Seasons of Love" was written by the late Jonathan Larson for "Rent" when it was a stage musical. That makes "Seasons of Love" the first song from a Broadway musical to appear on the Hot 100 since Madonna's cinematic version of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina." That song, from the musical "Evita," peaked at No. 8 in 1997.
There have been two top 15 hits that were based on Broadway songs. Jay-Z's "Hard-Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" sampled "Hard-Knock Life" from "Annie" and peaked at No. 15 the week of March 27, 1999. Earlier this year, "Rich Girl" by Gwen Stefani featuring Eve peaked at No. 7. The song was constructed around "If I Were a Rich Man" from "Fiddler on the Roof."
SIBLING RIVALRY: Last week I speculated that Natasha Bedingfield might soon equal or surpass her brother's peak performance on the Billboard Hot 100. Natasha moves 23-17 with her single "These Words" (Epic), so she is in range of Daniel's No. 15 hit "If You're Not the One" and his No. 10 hit, "Gotta Get Thru This."
However, the debut of her album "Unwritten" at No. 26 on The Billboard 200 means she is the highest charting member of her family on that tally. Daniel peaked at No. 41 the week of Sept. 14, 2002, with his debut album, also titled "Gotta Get Thru This."