Fred Bronson reports on chart activities relating to the 'Ray' soundtrack, the Last Poets and Josh Gracin.
AT THE MOVIES: The soundtrack to the Ray Charles biopic remains on top of Billboard's Top Soundtracks chart for the 15th non-consecutive week, making "Ray" (Rhino) the second-longest running No. 1 album since this chart was introduced in June 2001.
The only soundtrack to have a longer reign is "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" with 34 non-consecutive weeks in pole position in 2001-2002. In third place is "Chicago," which ruled for 12 non-consecutive weeks in 2003.
Only two other soundtracks have led the list for 10 weeks or more. "8 Mile" sprinted for 11 weeks in 2002-2003 and "Bad Boys II" dominated for 10 weeks in 2003.
POETRY IN MOTION: Almost 35 years after making its debut on The Billboard 200, the Harlem-based group known as the Last Poets makes its first appearance on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
"The Corner" (G.O.O.D./Geffen) earns the list's Hot Shot Debut honors with its opening at No. 64. Credited to Common featuring the Last Poets, the single also debuts on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales chart at No. 11.
Named for a line in a poem by South Africa's Willie Kgositsile, the Last Poets' self-titled first LP debuted on the Billboard album chart the week of June 20, 1970, ultimately peaking at No. 29. Three members split from the seven-man group and charted in 1971 as the Original Last Poets with "Right On!" which reached No. 106. That same year, another Last Poets album, "This Is Madness," went to No. 104.
AMAZING GRACIN: With Josh Gracin's "Nothin' to Lose" replacing Rascal Flatts' "Bless the Broken Road" at the top of Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, Lyric Street becomes the first label to have two successive No. 1 songs since the first quarter of 2002.
In February and March of that year, three singles on the Curb imprint were consecutive chart-toppers: "Good Morning Beautiful" by Steve Holy, "Bring on the Rain" by Jo Dee Messina with Tim McGraw and "The Cowboy in Me" by McGraw.
Gracin, who finished fourth on the second season of "American Idol," is the first solo male artist to collect his initial No. 1 song since March 2003, when Joe Nichols' "Brokenheartsville" moved into first place.
Gracin's most likely replacement is Craig Morgan, who moves 4-2 with "That's What I Love About Sunday." If Morgan does move up a notch next week, it will also be his first No. 1 hit. The last time two solo male artists had successive No. 1s was in September 1995, when "Not on Your Love" by Jeff Carson was followed by "Someone Else's Star" by Bryan White.
AND THERE'S MORE: The "Chart Beat" column in this week's print edition (issue date March 19) of Billboard covers the return of Marvin Gaye to the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart; Josh Gracin's first No. 1 on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks list and the 36th No. 1 for the "American Idol" franchise; Judas Priest's highest-charting album to date; and Green Day's third top 10 hit from "American Idiot" on the Modern Rock Tracks tally.