CHART BEAT CHAT
Fred Bronson discusses 'my' songs, charts and more with readers.OH MY MY
Since the top 10 keeps getting more possessive, now with "My Happy Ending" joining "My Boo" and "My Place," I thought I'd drum up "my" list of top 10 "my" songs of the rock era. Can't tell you if any three of these were in the top 10 concurrently, I'm afraid, though looking at the weeks they entered the chart, it seems unlikely barring if "My Heart Will Go On" hung on until "My All" (the last "My" No. 1) and "My Way" were hits.
The Knack, "My Sharona," 1979, No. 1 for six weeks
The Platters, "My Prayer," 1956, No. 1 for five weeks
Wings, "My Love," 1973, No. 1 for four weeks
George Harrison, "My Sweet Lord," 1970, No. 1 for four weeks
Angels, "My Boyfriend's Back," 1963, No. 1 for three weeks
Mary Wells, "My Guy," 1964, No. 1 for two weeks
Temptations, "My Girl," 1965, No. 1 for two weeks
Connie Francis, "My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own," 1960, No. 1 for two weeks
Chuck Berry, "My Ding-a-Ling," 1972, No. 1 for two weeks
Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On," 1998, No. 1 for two weeks
Petula Clark, "My Love," 1966, No. 1 for two weeks
Mariah Carey, "My All," 1998, No. 1 for one week
Bobby Brown, "My Prerogative," 1989, No. 1 for one week
Millie Small, "My Boy Lollipop," 1964, No. 2
Usher, "My Way," 1998, No. 2
Connie Francis, "My Happiness," 1959, No. 2
En Vogue, "My Lovin'," 1992, No. 2
Billy Joel, "My Life," 1979, No. 3
Lil' Romeo, "My Baby," 2001, No. 3
Jack Scott, "My True Love," 1958, No. 3
Jive Five, "My True Story," 1961, No. 3
Creed, "My Sacrifice," 2002, No. 4
Barbra Streisand, "My Heart Belongs to Me," 1977, No. 4
Rod Stewart, "My Heart Can't Tell You No," 1989, No. 4
Bruce Springsteen, "My Hometown," 1986, No. 4
Whitney Houston, "My Love Is Your Love, 1999, No. 4
LSG, "My Body," 1997, No. 4
Stevie Wonder, "My Cherie Amour," 1969, No. 4
Somethin' for the People, "My Love Is the Shhhh!", 1997, No. 4
The Supremes, "My World Is Empty Without You," 1966, No. 5
Lionel Richie, "My Love," 1983, No. 5
Paul Petersen, "My Dad," 1963, No. 6
Bobby Helms, "My Special Angel," 1957, No. 7
The Vogues, "My Special Angel," 1968, No. 7
Ed Ames, "My Cup Runneth Over," 1967, No. 8
Paul Anka, "My Home Town," 1960, No. 8
Jackie Wilson, "My Empty Arms," 1961, No. 9
Bobby Vinton, "My Heart Belongs to Only You," 1964, No. 9
Xscape, "My Little Secret," 1998, No. 9
Simon and Garfunkel, "My Little Town," 1975, No. 9
B.W. Stephenson, "My Maria," 1973, No. 9
David Ruffin, "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)," 1969, No. 9
B-Rock & the Bizz, "MyBabyDaddy," 1997, No. 10
Johnny Gill, "My My My," 1990, No. 10
I should have written to you about this when I saw it coming two weeks ago. But now it has happened, and dozens I'm sure will have written to you about it too: "My Place," "My Boo" and "My Happy Ending" [are] all in the top 10.
Actually I was thinking back then writing about how two-worded song titles beginning with "My" have done so well in 2004; earlier this year we saw "My Immortal" and "My Band" in the top 10. (I'm really sorry I neglected doing so!)
This week Avril Lavigne's three-worded entry "ruined" the coincidence a little, but it still makes for fun chart watching!
[With] an "asterisk," we can add "Lose My Breath" by next week, I bet.
Pasig City, Philippines
Dear Mike and Jon,
My, you did a lot of work. You have probably already seen the new Hot 100, with "My Boo" leapfrogging over "My Place" to land at No. 2. "My Place" holds its place at No. 4 and "My Happy Ending" stands pat at No. 9. Perhaps they'll soon be joined in the top 10 by the new Britney Spears song, a remake of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative."
We could also have a couple of "Lose" songs in the top ten before you know it. Destiny's Child joins that elite list this week, jumping 12-7 with "Lose My Breath." Ten rungs lower, Eminem blasts onto the chart at No. 17 with "Just Lose It."
IS THERE A LAW FOR DIMINISHING RETURNS?
As I was reading your last posting in the Sept. 24 "Chart Beat Chat," and as you were building up the story about your 11-year, 9-month tenure of doing the "Chart Beat" column in the print issue of Billboard, my heart started racing. I was sure you were going to finish with an announcement that you were moving on to different pastures. Thank goodness you were just letting us know that your stay with "Chart Beat" had just eclipsed Paul Grein's.
Keep up the good work! Even though I disagree with you on a few issues, mostly involving the coverage of the "American Idol" finalists and their dubious chart accomplishments, I cannot imagine "Chart Beat" without you!
And since I brought it up, [have you] considered whether the Hot 100 Singles Sales chart and the trivia facts related to it (particularly those recent accomplishments by the "American Idol" artists) are still relevant or worthy of mention in an era when traditional (brick-and-mortar store) commercial single sales are as low as they have been?
Just recently, the top-selling commercial single sold a paltry 2,500 copies in a week. Seven years ago, that total might not have even been enough to dent the 75-position Hot 100 Singles Sales chart. It certainly isn't enough to make a big difference in chart position on the overall Hot 100 today. I think a more telling sales story is how singles perform on the Hot Digital Tracks chart -- a chart that reflects the popularity of current music more accurately than the traditional configuration.
You've often commented that radio hasn't caught up with what the consumer wants to hear (or buy), as made evident by their unwillingness to feature most of the "AI" finalists (Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard excepted) in regular rotation. The basis for your argument has mainly been their accomplishments on the Hot 100 Singles Sales charts. But I contend that the Hot 100 sales charts are skewed toward the Clay Aikens, Fantasias and Diana DeGarmos of the world because there's little other current product out there.
I find it hard to imagine that the "AI" dominance would be as great on the sales charts if more product from artists like Usher, Alicia Keys, the host of Lil' Jon configurations, and acts like Ashlee Simpson were available as commercial singles. Heck, if Usher's "Burn" were available commercially, it would have only needed to sell about 15,000 copies or less to prevent Fantasia's "I Believe" from interrupting his No. 1 streak in July, based on many reports.
I assume that Billboard is still considering whether to incorporate the Hot Digital Tracks sales data in the calculation of Hot 100 positions in the near future. The Recording Industry Association of America reportedly announced plans to provide gold and platinum certifications for digital track download sales milestones. With these major concessions to the importance of the digital single, isn't it time for us to kiss the Hot 100 Singles Sales chart, and its related trivia news, goodbye?
Whatever one thinks of "American Idol" and the contestants from the series who have charted on various Billboard tallies, I don't think you can use the adjective "dubious" to describe their various chart achievements.
As for whether I should be writing about Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart, as long as the chart exists, it's fair game for my trivial pursuits. Some time back I wrote about Pat Boone reaching the top 20 of this chart. It was a newsworthy item, since it extended his chart career from the '50s right into the 20th century. Now, Boone only sold 900 singles that week, barely a drop in a bucket in a nation of 280 million people. I still thought the fact that Boone was showing up on a Billboard chart was a worthy item for "Chart Beat."
I think as long as we have weeks where an artist can sell 392,000 singles in one week (Clay Aiken's "This Is the Night") or even 150,000 (Fantasia's "I Believe"), it would be inappropriate to cancel this chart.
I do believe that the new Hot Digital Tracks chart is significant in terms of what people are purchasing. But keep in mind that what I do is place chart achievements in context of the entire rock era. It's difficult to do that with a chart that has existed for such a short time. Eventually, the digital chart will be ripe picking for "Chart Beat," but it will have to be around a little longer before that happens.
One more thought: Billboard has often introduced new charts as new technologies take hold. In the second half of the 1980s, for example, a separate chart for CD sales was introduced alongside the album chart. Eventually, that chart was dropped as the album chart was mostly compiled from CD sales, and a separate list wasn't needed. That could also happen to Hot Digital Tracks as sales of singles tracks simply becomes the new singles sales chart.