Fred Bronson reports on chart activity related to Carrie Underwood, Bo Bice, Mariah Carey, Dave Brubeck and more.
BO TIED WITH CARRIE: The top two finalists from the fourth season of "American Idol" make their debuts under their own names this week, which may come as a surprise to those who didn't expect Carrie Underwood or Bo Bice to appear on a Billboard chart until the release of their respective versions of "Inside Your Heaven" later this month. The two finalists both make their debuts with other songs.
Like Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken after season two of the popular talent search series, Underwood and Bice are tied for their debut dates on the Billboard charts.
Underwood makes her first chart appearance with two debuts this week. On the Hot Country Songs chart, her version of Rascal Flatts' "Bless the Broken Road," featuring the group, is new at No. 50. On the Hot Digital Songs tally, her track from the album "American Idol Season 4: The Showstoppers" (RCA), a version of Martina McBride's "Independence Day" (Arista), enters at No. 63.
Three rungs higher, Bice's track from the same compilation album, his take on Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Want To Be," bows at No. 60. That makes Underwood and Bice the 14th and 15th "American Idol" contestants to have a Billboard chart entry under their own names. The first 13: Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Kimberley Locke, Tamyra Gray, Josh Gracin, William Hung, Fantasia, Diana DeGarmo, R.J. Helton, George Huff and Jim Verraros.
Underwood is the second "Idol" singer to show up on the Hot Country Songs list. Gracin, the fourth-place finalist from season two, is already on his third hit. "Stay With Me (Brass Bed)" (Lyric Street) rises 39-35 this week and is the follow-up to the No. 1 single "Nothin' to Lose."
Verraros, who placed in the top 10 during the first season of "Idol," makes a 25-21 move this week on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart with "You Turn It On" (Koch). Locke, who had a top 10 Adult Contemporary hit with "8th World Wonder," is having quick success with "I Could" (Curb), which makes a 36-28 move in its second week on that chart. Clarkson continues to have a rare three songs inside the top 40 of the Hot 100, as "Breakaway" (Walt Disney/Hollywood) rebounds 40-38, "Since U Been Gone" (RCA) declines 7-9 and "Behind These Hazel Eyes" climbs 8-6.
While he hasn't charted under his own name yet, Underwood and Bice's fellow fourth season finalist Constantine Maroulis beat them to the charts with his band Pray For The Soul Of Betty. A self-titled album released on baby Julius Productions/Koch debuted and peaked at No. 129 the week of May 28.
ISLAND GIRL: Mariah Carey continues to rule Billboard's Hot 100 with "We Belong Together" (Island) for a second week. As reported last week, it's Carey's 16th No. 1, bringing her closer to matching Elvis Presley's total of 17. Only the Beatles, with 20, have more chart-toppers than Presley. Counting weeks at No. 1, Carey has now accumulated 63 weeks in pole position. That keeps her ahead of the Beatles' 59, but still behind Presley's 78.
"We Belong Together" is the first single on the Island label to reach No. 1 in almost 18 years. There have been six Island singles to top the Hot 100 and "We Belong Together" is the first single on the label by a solo female to go all the way. The Island No. 1s are:
"Up Where We Belong," Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes (1982)
"Addicted to Love," Robert Palmer (1986)
"Higher Love," Steve Winwood (1986)
"With or Without You," U2 (1987)
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," U2 (1987)
"We Belong Together," Mariah Carey (2005)
When Carey's "The Emancipation of Mimi" album debuted at No. 1 earlier this year, it became the first Island set by a solo female artist to top that chart.
TAKE SEVEN: Legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck will turn 85 this year. With a chart span that stretches out over 50 years, Brubeck returns to Billboard's Top Jazz Albums chart with his highest-charting set in eight-and-a-half years.
"London Flat, London Sharp" (Telarc) is a new entry at No. 7. That marks Brubeck's best performance since "A Dave Brubeck Christmas" peaked at No. 3 in December 1996.
Best known for the composition "Take Five," a top 30 hit on the Hot 100 in 1962, Brubeck made his debut on the Billboard album chart in February 1955 with "Dave Brubeck at Storyville: 1954."
FROG LEAPS OVER COLDPLAY: There are two noteworthy debuts in the U.K. top 10, although the entry at No. 1 has generated the most coverage. The fact that the Crazy Frog version of the "Axel F" instrumental from "Beverly Hills Cop II" is a ringtone has made its debut in pole position worthy of worldwide coverage, especially since it prevented Coldplay's "Speed of Sound" from reaching No. 1 as expected. The original "Axel F" by Harold Faltermeyer went to No. 2 in 1985, so the Crazy Frog version has done the composer of the song one better.
In 1966, Cher had her second entry on the U.K. singles chart with "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)," a single that peaked at No. 3. Nancy Sinatra's version was featured on the soundtrack of the first "Kill Bill" movie, and now that version is featured in the Audio Bullys' "Shot You Down" (Source), which features Nancy Sinatra and debuts at No. 9.
That puts Sinatra back in the British top 10 for the first time in 34 years. "Did You Ever," credited to Nancy and Lee (Hazlewood), was a No. 2 hit in 1971. The Audio Bullys' single is the fifth U.K. top 10 hit of Nancy's career. Here are the first four:
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," No. 1 (1966)
"Sugar Town," No. 8 (1967)
"Somethin' Stupid," No. 1 (1967) [Nancy Sinatra and Frank Sinatra]
"Did You Ever," No. 2 (1971) [Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood]