Fred Bronson answers e-mail from Billboard.com readers.
ANTHONY VS. BACKSTREET BOYS
I just noticed the sudden resurgence of "Incomplete" on Billboard's Hot 100. Do you think this has something to do with Anthony Fedorov singing this song on "American Idol" a couple of weeks ago? I admit that I haven't heard the song before this. But now it is somewhat addictive, the sort of tune I find myself humming. However, I prefer Anthony's version to the Backstreet Boys. What do you think?
Quezon City, Philippines
I'm sure that Anthony Fedorov would be very flattered to know that you prefer his version of "Incomplete." However, I'm not sure what the Backstreet Boys would say.
I do think the song's resurgence is partially due to the fact that it was performed on "American Idol." As reported here, original versions of songs like Heart's "Alone" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" appeared on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart after being performed during the series' fourth season.
I was with the top six contestants when they were told they would be singing songs from the current top 40 of a Billboard chart, and when asked for suggestions came up with the idea of "Incomplete" for Anthony. I think he did a great job with it.
PAINFUL ACCIDENT IN 'AMARILLO'
I fell out of my chair when I read in "Chart Beat" about "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo" [by Tony Christie] topping the U.K. chart for seven weeks.
Is this the same version that Kapp Records released here in the United States in early 1972, just before Kapp and Uni were folded into MCA? It was an outstanding pop tune that probably got lost in the shuffle. To my knowledge, the only Los Angeles airplay came from KMPC, where two of the best sets of ears in the business, the late Alene McKInney and Tess Russell, made sure that talents such as Gary Owens, Wink Martindale, Dick Whttinghill, Geoff Edwards and Roger Carroll played the tune.
I've enjoyed reading your work in Billboard and the various books you've written over the years.
Keep up the excellent work!
Somewhere in my collection of vinyl 45s I still have my U.S. copy of Tony Christie's "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo," released on the Kapp label.
You were not the only one surprised by the incredible success of this single in the United Kingdom, 34 years after its original release. Tony Christie had retired to the coast of Spain and was the last person in the world to imagine that he would rule the U.K. singles chart for seven weeks.
This year's Eurovision Song Contest is just a week away. This year is a vintage year as it is the 50th contest, and the show is more popular than ever. Since its beginning the show (and its national finals) has spawned numerous hit singles in Europe, and even a few in America.
The following songs are off the top of my head, but are there more songs from the Eurovision Song Contest that have hit the American chart?
"Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)," Domenico Modugno
"Eres Tu (Touch the Wind)," Mocedades
"Save Your Kisses for Me," Brotherhood of Man
"Ooh Aah...Just a little Bit," Gina G
Honorable mention: "Love Is Blue," Paul Mauriat (the original version was a Eurovision entry by Vicky Leandros).
As this column is posted on Fridays, the Eurovision Song Contest is just one day away. The action takes place in Kiev on Saturday, May 21. Look for my report on the results here at Billboard.com.
There have been many more hit singles generated by the contest in Europe. You mentioned some of the key U.S. chart entries. There are a few more, including U.K. Eurovision entries from 1963 (Ronnie Carroll's "Say Wonderful Things"), 1968 (Cliff Richard's "Congratulations"), 1970 (Mary Hopkins' "Knock Knock - Who's There?" and 1972 (New Seekers' "Beg, Steal or Borrow").
We'll see how this year's winner does across Europe. I won't hold out much hope for a U.S. release, but you never know.
THE MAVERICK REPORT
Congratulations to Rascal Flatts! With "Fast Cars and Freedom" making an 11-7 jump on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, the group has its 11th consecutive top 10 hit, putting the band in front with the most top 10 hits among country groups this decade. Lonestar, whose "Class Reunion (That Used To Be Us)" takes a 16-26 dive this week, was previously in front with 10, the most recent being the No. 1 hit "Mr. Mom."
Keith Urban makes his fastest trip to the top this week with "Making Memories of Us." It makes a 3-1 move in its 11th week; topping "Days Go By" by just one week. "Memories" was written by country legend Rodney Crowell. This is Crowell's first No. 1 as a songwriter since Tim McGraw took "Please Remember Me" to No. 1 for five weeks in May 1999.
I've been immersed in country music all week. I'm just finishing up a one-week stint in Las Vegas where I wrote the 40th anniversary of the Academy of Country Music Awards special, which will be broadcast on CBS later this year.
So thanks for the chart items -- I'm sure Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban will enjoy reading your letter.