CHART BEAT

Fred Bronson reports on chart activities relating to Kelly Clarkson, Crossfade, "Star Wars," Elvis Presley, "Spamalot" and more.

THIS ONE'S BY THE GIRLS: Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" (Hollywood) is No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart for the 11th week in a row. That's the longest consecutive reign for a solo female artist on this chart since Celine Dion set the all-time record of 21 weeks in 2002 with "A New Day Has Come," the longest-running No. 1 in AC history.

Since Dion's record-setting rule, there have been seven chart-toppers by solo female artists. Clarkson's "Breakaway" is tied with Faith Hill's "Cry" as the longest-running No. 1 by a solo female artist since Dion's "New Day." Hill's "Cry" had a non-consecutive visit at the summit.

Here is a summary of the No. 1 AC hits by solo female artists since 2002, in order of longest stretches on top:

"A New Day Has Come," Celine Dion (21 weeks), 2002
"Cry," Faith Hill (11 weeks), 2002
"Breakaway," Kelly Clarkson (11 weeks to date), 2005
"This One's for the Girls," Martina McBride (nine weeks), 2004
"A Thousand Miles," Vanessa Carlton (seven weeks), 2002
"Forever and for Always," Shania Twain (six weeks), 2003
"Beautiful," Christina Aguilera (five weeks), 2003
"The First Cut Is the Deepest," Sheryl Crow (two weeks), 2004

'COLD' PLAY: A 16-20 dip on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart keeps Crossfade's "Cold" (FG/Columbia) on the list for the 46th week. That's the longest chart run for any song in the chart's history.

"Cold" breaks the 45-week record held jointly by Trapt's "Headstrong" (in October 2003) and Three Days Grace's "(I Hate) Everything About You" (exactly one year ago).

REVENGE OF THE SIXTH: Thanks to a No. 6 debut for the soundtrack to the sixth "Star Wars" film, the second set of three films has a higher average peak position on The Billboard 200 than the original set of three.

"Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" (Sony Classical) equals the No. 6 peak achieved by the "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones" soundtrack the week of May 11, 2002. Three years earlier, on the chart dated May 22, 1999, the soundtrack to "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" peaked at No. 3.

The highest-ranked "Star Wars" soundtrack of all time is the album featuring music from the first film, later titled "Episode IV: A New Hope." That LP spent three weeks at No. 2 in 1977. The soundtrack to "The Empire Strikes Back" peaked at No. 4 in 1980 and "Return of the Jedi" stopped at No. 20 in 1983.

THREE OUT OF 32: Since 1978, 32 Elvis Presley albums have debuted on The Billboard 200. The 32nd Presley title bows this week, but it's only the third of the 32 to reach the top 20 of the album chart.

"Elvis by the Presleys" (RCA), a soundtrack to the TV special, opens at No. 15. The only Presley albums to chart higher since 1978 are "Elvis: 30 #1 Hits," which spent three weeks on top in October 2002, and "Elvis: 2nd to None," which went to No. 3 in October 2003.

GRAIL ROADED: The Broadway musical "Monty Python's Spamalot" is having a very good week. First, the show received 14 Tony nominations and now the original cast album on Decca Broadway debuts on The Billboard 200 at No. 69. That's the highest position for a Broadway cast album since "Rent" debuted and peaked at No. 19 the week of Sept. 14, 1996.

1 OR 2 STEP FOR CIARA: Ciara's third Hot 100 single is the third top two title of her short career. "Goodies" kicked everything off by spending seven weeks at No. 1 in September-October 2004. The follow-up, "1, 2 Step," featuring Missy Elliott, peaked at No. 2. This week, "Oh" (Sho'-Nuff-MusicLine/LaFace) moves 3-2.

With Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" (Interscope) continuing at No. 1 for the third week and Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" (Island) surging 7-3, this is the first week that three solo females are holding down the top three spots since July 26, 2003, when "Crazy in Love" by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z was No. 1, "Magic Stick" by Lil' Kim featuring 50 Cent was No. 2 and "Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)" by Ashanti was No. 3.

If "Oh" moves up just one spot, it will become the shortest title of a chart-topping hit in the rock era. Ciara's song would end a five-way tie for shortest title, held by Frankie Avalon's "Why," the Jackson Five's "ABC," Edwin Starr's "War" and Michael Jackson's "Ben" and "Bad."

'LONELY' AT THE TOP: The reign of Tony Christie's "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo" ends in the United Kingdom after seven weeks. Replacing "Amarillo" at the top is "Lonely" by Akon. That means the three most recent chart-toppers in the U.K. have been written by three American artists whose careers were launched over 40 years ago: Carole King ("You've Got a Friend" by McFly), Neil Sedaka ("Amarillo" by Christie) and Bobby Vinton ("Lonely").