Fred Bronson answers e-mail from Billboard.com readers.

HOLLA FOR GWEN

Hi Fred,

I was thrilled to see that Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" made it to the top of The Billboard Hot 100. It's been such a long time since a non-R&B/rap song hit the summit. Then I noticed that it also debuted on the R&B chart last week, which I suppose could make some consider it an R&B song, also.

My question is, how long has it been since a song has been No. 1 on the Hot 100, but never touched the R&B singles chart. I know we've had a few close calls lately ("Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day), but since when has a pop-only song landed at No. 1?

Thanks for your help!

Adrian Deal
Baltimore
agdeal2002@yahoo.com

Dear Adrian,

"Hollaback Girl" is in its second week on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but is in the bottom 20. That means it is receiving airplay on a few R&B stations, while most of its airplay strength comes from top 40, as evidenced by its No. 1 position on the Pop 100. The song is also selling extremely well, which is a big factor in its position on the Hot 100, I think you could consider "Hollaback Girl" a pop song that has crossed over to R&B.

The last No. 1 song on the Hot 100 to not grace the R&B/Hip-Hop chart was Clay Aiken's "This Is the Night" in June 2003.



SAVE THE BEST FOR THIRD

Hey Fred,

Not counting No Doubt's airplay-only No. 1 smash "Don't Speak," Gwen Stefani enjoys her first week at the top of the chart with the third single from her latest album. It's not common for the third single to become the first No. 1 hit from an album. Off the top of my head, I remember Vanessa Williams reached No. 1 with "Save the Best for Last," which was the third single from her album "The Comfort Zone."

Even more unique is the fact that both women's albums survived a single release that missed the top 40 (Stefani's "What You Waitin' For" and Williams' "The Comfort Zone"), but both persevered to score their first chart-topping solo hit.

Just in case you weren't getting enough mail, I'll wait for other "Chart Beat" readers to remind us of the other instances when an album saves the best for
last -- or at least third.

Take care,

Vince Ripol
San Diego

Dear Vince,

If I were really clever, I would have made your e-mail the third letter in today's Chat, not the second.



1 SINGULAR SENSATION

Hi Fred,

I read your column each week online.

My question regards Amerie's "1 Thing," which recently went all the way to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. She accomplished something that Ciara couldn't do with "1, 2 Step," and Ludacris couldn't do with the not-so-fatefully titled "Number One Spot."

I've seen the subject come up a lot with regard to artists' names reflecting their chart success (like Maroon5), but this is the first time I have seen a song with "1" in the title go to No. 1 on any Billboard chart. Has this ever happened before?

Mark Harris
Columbus, Ohio

Dear Mark,

Glad you read the column online. Don't forget that the "Chart Beat" column is posted on Thursdays now, and a new "Chart Beat Chat" is posted every Friday. The earlier posting of "Chart Beat" is possible because there is only one column, instead of one for print and one for online.

On the Hot 100, there has never been a No. 1 title with the digit "1." Of course, there have been chart-toppers with the word "One," like "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies.

The highest-ranked Hot 100 songs with the digit "1" in the title are "1-2-3" by Len Barry (way back in 1965) and Ciara and Missy Elliott's recent "1, 2 Step." Notice that both titles also feature the digit "2."



CITY FOLKS

Hi Fred,

The Killers are rapidly moving up the Hot 100 with "Mr. Brightside." If the song reaches the top 10, the Killers will be the first act from Las Vegas to have a top 10 hit since the female trio named for the city's area code 702 peaked at No. 4 back in 1999 with "Where My Girls At?"

By the way, 702 also reached No. 10 in 1997 with "Get It Together."

Larry Cohen
Trumbull, Conn.

Dear Larry,

You sent your e-mail before the Killers moved down from No. 11 this week, but your point about acts from Las Vegas is a good one. Maybe "Mr. Brightside" will reverse course and make the top 10 yet.