Fred Bronson reports on the latest chart feats of "Car Wash," newly remade by Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott, Mavis Staples, Ciara and women on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart
AUTO MATIC: For the second time in the rock era, the song "Car Wash" graces a motion picture soundtrack. The first time around, it was the title song of the 1976 film starring Richard Pryor and an ensemble cast. The "Car Wash" single by Rose Royce topped the Hot 100 for one week in January 1977.
In 2004, the song may be headed for the top once more. It's been remade by Christina Aguilera, with featured artist Missy Elliott, and it's included in the soundtrack to the new animated film "Shark Tale." The Aguilera and Elliott collaboration debuts on Billboard's Hot 100 at No. 73.
In the early '70s, songwriter Norman Whitfield put together an eight-man band to tour behind the Temptations. Later, he added female vocalist Gwen Dickey to the group, and Rose Royce was born. Rose Royce was signed to the Whitfield label, but the "Car Wash" soundtrack was issued on MCA.
The re-appearance of "Car Wash" in 2004 extends Whitfield's chart span on the Hot 100. The New York City-born songwriter signed with Motown, where his first assignment was to work with Marvin Gaye. With Gaye and fellow Motown songwriter Mickey Stevenson, Whitfield fashioned "Pride and Joy," Gaye's first top 10 hit.
"Pride and Joy" entered the Hot 100 the week of May 18, 1963, giving Whitfield a chart span of 41 years, three months and three weeks.
CENTERING ON STAPLES: She may not get as much attention as some other veteran artists, but Mavis Staples continues to record critically-acclaimed albums. Her latest, "Have a Little Faith" (Alligator), is No. 6 on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart.
This latest release extends Staples' Billboard chart span to 37 years, three months and one week, counting back to the June 1967 debut of the Staple Singers' single "Why? (Am I Treated So Bad)."
IF YOU 'BELIEVE': For the 10th consecutive week, "American Idol" third season winner Fantasia is No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart with "I Believe" (J). That means she is one week shy of tying the record for the longest-running No. 1 on this chart by an "Idol" finalist.
If Fantasia is still leading the list next week, her single will tie Clay Aiken's "This Is the Night" as the longest-running No. 1 "Idol" single.
Meanwhile, Aiken's "I Will Carry You" (RCA) debuts at No. 27 on the Adult Contemporary survey, where it is his seventh chart entry in a career that began 15 months ago.
GOODY 'GOODIES': Speaking of Fantasia, until this week she was the only female artist to top Billboard's Hot 100 in 2004. With "Goodies" (Sho'nuff/LaFace) rising 3-1, Ciara, dubbed "the first lady of crunk & B," is the second woman to have a No. 1 song during this calendar year. Since Fantasia is 19 and Ciara is 18, the only females who have had No. 1 hits on the Hot 100 in 2004 are teenagers.
"Goodies" is the ninth song to move into pole position this year, and the fourth on the LaFace label, following three chart-toppers by Usher. Overall, "Goodies" is the 11th No. 1 hit for LaFace.
'GIRLS' JUST WANNA HAVE HITS: Women may be having a tough time reaching the top spot on Billboard's Hot 100, but after a two-year period where no solo female was able to achieve a No. 1 song on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks, the balance of power may be shifting on that tally.
Gretchen Wilson ended the drought of No. 1 hits by solo females with her debut song, "Redneck Woman." Then Reba McEntire went all the way with "Somebody." This week, Terri Clark becomes the third solo female to have a country No. 1 in 2004 as her single "Girls Lie Too" (Mercury) leaps 5-1.
There have been more No. 1s by solo country females in 2004 than any year since 2001, when there were the following five chart-toppers by individual women:
"Born to Fly," Sara Evans (one week)
"There Is No Arizona," Jamie O'Neal (one week)
"Who I Am," Jessica Andrews (three weeks)
"When I Think About Angels," Jamie O'Neal (one week)
"What I Really Meant To Say," Cyndi Thomson (three weeks)
And that's the Who, When and What of women at No. 1.