CHART BEAT CHAT

Fred Bronson answers e-mail from readers.

ED NOTE: Although usually updated on Fridays, due to unforseen circumstances, a new "Chart Beat Chat" will be appear in this space on Monday (Aug. 8).

OH! CAROLE

Hi Fred,

I enjoyed reading your interesting comments about Carole King recently in "Chart Beat." Although "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" was Carole's first hit in 1961, I believe she actually first appeared on the pop charts three years before that as the subject of Neil Sedaka's single "Oh! Carol."

You stated that "Tapestry" had the sixth longest run on the album charts. What were the five albums that had longer runs?

Thanks for sharing your wonderful "Chart Beat" insights with us every week.

Take care,

Jerome Fransblow
Abbotsford, British Columbia

Dear Jerome,

It was a pleasure to write about Carole King, since she is one of my all-time favorite artists as well as one of my all-time favorite songwriters.

Neil Sedaka's third chart entry on the Hot 100 was "Oh! Carol." The single debuted the week of Oct. 12, 1959, and peaked at No. 9, giving Sedaka his first top 10 hit. It was written about his high school classmate Carol Klein, the woman who we know as singer/songwriter Carole King.

Here are the five albums that had longer runs on The Billboard 200 than "Tapestry," which was on the chart for 302 weeks:

"The Dark Side of the Moon," Pink Floyd (741 weeks)
"Johnny's Greatest Hits," Johnny Mathis (490 weeks)
"My Fair Lady," Original Cast (480 weeks)
"Highlights from 'The Phantom of the Opera'," Original Cast (331 weeks)
"Oklahoma!" Original Soundtrack (305 weeks)



THIS TIME, 'GREASE' WASN'T THE WORD

Dear Fred,

I was reading about "Billboard's hottest summer songs" on CNN.com with the list of the Top 10 "summer" songs from the Billboard Hot 100. I was wondering why "Summer Nights" by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John didn't make the list. It peaked at No. 5, way above the No. 10 song "Cruel Summer" by Ace of Base.

Thanks,

Toby James Petty
North Hollywood, Calif.

Dear Toby,

I'm glad CNN.com picked up my story from Billboard magazine, even if they did fail to run my byline. I can't complain, since they did mention my book, "Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits," which was the source for the top 10 list -- and therein lies the answer to your question.

The top 10 songs with "summer" in the title wasn't based on peak position, but on a point system developed for "Hottest Hot 100 Hits." Peak position and length of time on the chart are factored in, so songs that had high peaks but short runs might not fare as well as songs with lower peak positions but longer visits on the chart.

When I compiled the list of summer hits for the Billboard article, I noticed that a lot of popular summer songs failed to make the top 10, but were ranked in the next 10. So I provided a list of the songs ranked 11-20 and my editors consented to run it as a sidebar. For those who didn't see the print article, here are the songs ranked 11-20:

11. "Suddenly Last Summer," The Motels
12. "Summer Nights," John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
13. "Summer of '69," Bryan Adams
14. "Summer," War
15. "Summer Breeze," Seals & Crofts
16. "Summertime Blues," Eddie Cochran
17. "Cruel Summer," Bananarama
18. "A Summer Song," Chad & Jeremy
19. "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer," Nat King Cole
20. "Summertime Blues," Blue Cheer

You can read about the top 10 songs in the July 30 issue of Billboard, or check the story posted at CNN.com.



ALWAYS AND 'FOREVER'

Dear Fred,

After I read last week's question by Don Bodger, where he pointed out the success of third, fourth and fifth singles, when previous releases flopped, I remembered the example of the singles released from Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl."

The first single released from that album was "Knocked Out" in 1988, which peaked at No. 41 on the Hot 100. The second single released was "(It's Just) The Way That You Love Me" which did worse at a mere No. 88. But Virgin decided to go with a third single, which we all remember: "Straight Up," which reached the No. 1 position and stayed there for three weeks.

The rest is history, with [subsequent singles] "Forever Your Girl" and "Cold Hearted" going to No. 1, [a re-issue of] "The Way That You Love Me" peaking at No. 3 and finally "Opposites Attract" also achieving No. 1 status. Hope this example will make clear that a third single, and further releases, can be huge hits although the fist and second weren't.

I really enjoy reading your column every week.

Take care,

Eugenio Palma Genovés
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Dear Eugenio,

I'm glad you enjoy "Chart Beat!"

The singles from Paula Abdul's first album are excellent examples of third and subsequent singles becoming hits; thanks for the reminder.



ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THAT TOTAL?

Dear Fred,

I love Mariah Carey and have been following all the records that she is breaking. One is the musician with the most No. 1 songs. I know she has 16 now and has a few more to go to break the all-time record, but the other big record is the most weeks at No. 1 for any musician. I feel you are reporting [this] differently than most.

Everywhere I read and my records indicate that Elvis Presley has been in the No. 1 position for 80 weeks, not 79 weeks like you are reporting. Now that Mariah has just reached 70 weeks, I can definitely see her breaking this huge record. Can you check this out and give the number of weeks at No. 1 of Elvis and Mariah so I can keep track of this.

Thanks for your help.

David Heath
BigD927@aol.com

Dear David,

Your enthusiasm for Mariah Carey is clear and I can understand why you would want to know how many weeks Elvis Presley has been No. 1. I'm sure you can understand that I would not report the number of weeks he has been No. 1 without checking very carefully.

The figure you have read elsewhere of 80 weeks comes from Joel Whitburn's books. It's not that he is wrong, simply that he counts a different way.

Prior to the introduction of the Hot 100 on Aug. 4, 1958, Billboard published a number of different charts every week. Joel counts all of those charts. When adding up the Elvis Presley singles that went to No. 1 before there was a Hot 100, he counts the four weekly singles charts published in Billboard.

Since counting four different charts can give you four different No. 1 songs in a week, and since only one song should count as being No. 1, Billboard uses the Best Sellers in Stores chart as the definitive weekly singles chart prior to the Hot 100.

Using only the Best Sellers chart and the Hot 100, Elvis has spent 79 weeks at No. 1.

For more about Mariah Carey's total weeks on top, see this week's "Chart Beat."