CHART BEAT BONUS

Fred Bronson reports on chart activities relating to Melissa Etheridge, Joss Stone, Craig Morgan, Kelly Clarkson, Audioslave and more.

'CRY' OUT LOUD: Three weeks after the Grammy performance of "Across the Universe" debuted on Billboard's Hot 100, another performance from the same awards telecast enters the chart. Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone's duet of two songs popularized by Janis Joplin is the highest new entry at No. 32.

The medley of "Cry Baby/Piece of My Heart" generated much water cooler discussion the day after the telecast, as Etheridge's brave performance with a bald pate won her many plaudits. She is recovering from breast cancer and proceeds from the sale of "Cry Baby/Piece of My Heart" will benefit the City of Hope and the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, an organization dedicated to eradicating breast cancer in the next 10 years.

"Cry Baby/Piece of My Heart," sold exclusively through Apple's iTunes music store, marks Etheridge's first appearance on the Hot 100 in almost six years, following "Angels Would Fall," which peaked at No, 51 in October 1999. "Cry/Piece" is Etheridge's highest charting song since "I Want to Come Over" went to No. 22 in March 1996.

The recording marks the very first appearance of U.K. prodigy Stone on the Hot 100. The 17-year-old with the mature soulful voice has charted with two titles on The Billboard 200: "The Soul Sessions" EP peaked at No. 39 and "Mind Body & Soul" went to No, 11, both in 2004.

This is the third time around on the Hot 100 for "Cry Baby" and the fifth visit for "Piece of My Heart." "Cry Baby" was originally a No. 4 hit for Garnett Mims and the Enchanters in 1963. Janis Joplin took the song to No. 42 in 1971. "Piece of My Heart" first charted for Erma Franklin in 1962. Her version went as high as No, 62. The Big Brother & the Holding Company remake that featured Joplin on lead vocals peaked at No. 12 in 1968. A Sammy Hagar cover stopped at No. 73 in 1982 and a version by Shaggy only made it one rung higher at No. 72 in 1997.

INDEPENDENT'S DAY: Craig Morgan remains on top of Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for a second week with "That's What I Love About Sunday" on the independent Broken Bow imprint. It's been almost 28 years since a No. 1 country hit on an independently distributed label has remained in pole position for more than one week.

The last one to do so was "Heaven's Just a Sin Away" by the Kendalls. That father/daughter duo spent four weeks at No. 1 with the single, released on the Ovation label.

THE 37TH: For those who are keeping track, the "American Idol" franchise has racked up its 37th No. 1 on a Billboard chart as Kelly Clarkson takes the lead on the Mainstream Top 40 chart with "Since U Been Gone" (RCA).

This is the second No. 1 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart for Clarkson. "Miss Independent" had a six-week reign that began in June 2003.

'YOURSELF' CONTROLS: An impressive 24-2 leap on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart gives Audioslave its second-biggest hit to date. "Be Yourself" is the sixth entry on this chart for the group and its fifth top 10 song. The band's only title to chart higher than "Be Yourself" is "Like a Stone," a No. 1 for two weeks in May 2003.

The 22-point jump is the biggest move into the top 5 since "Don't Drink the Water" by the Dave Matthews Band bounded 36-5 in April 1998.

AND THERE'S MORE: The "Chart Beat" column in this week's print edition (issue date April 2) of Billboard covers the latest Billboard staffer to find success as a songwriter on the Billboard charts; the coincidence of the top four songs in the U.K. being written by veteran U.S. songwriters; Nine Inch Nails' highest debut of all time on the Modern Rock Tracks chart; and Amerie doing her "Thing" on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks list.