Fred Bronson discusses the Supremes, Usher, Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart and Laura Branigan with readers.

WHERE DID THE TIME GO?

Hi Fred,

My name is Fernando. I am 24 years old from Ecuador and my favorite group in the world is the Supremes. Aug. 22 marked the 40th anniversary of "Where Did Our Love Go" going to No. 1. It was just the beginning of the legacy of the greatest American group in history. However, I am very disappointed to see that there is almost [no] recognition of the Supremes.

I mean, for the Beatles, they keep releasing DVDs, [have] special celebrations during the Grammys and [feature them on] TV shows; however, there is nothing in the media that celebrates the Supremes. Do you know if there are any special documentaries or DVDs coming out for all the fans to enjoy our favorite girls, Florence, Diana and Mary?

If possible, Fred, would you write a special article on the Supremes for Billboard, in which you can mention their great contribution to American music to make people aware that the Supremes were as good as those British groups when it comes to talent and fame.

Thanks,

Fernando Torres

Dear Fernando,

Motown hasn't forgotten the 40th anniversary of the first Supremes' No. 1 hit on The Billboard Hot 100. In October, the label will release a double CD deluxe anniversary edition of the "Where Did Our Love Go" album with all songs in mono as well as stereo, plus rare and unreleased tracks.

I have a lot of memories of the single "Where Did Our Love Go" being released, because I had just started working in a record store. I shared those memories with reissue producer Andy Skurow, who is writing the liner notes for the new "Where Did Our Love Go" CD, so I won't post them here, in case he decides to include any of my thoughts. Check out the essay in October in case any of my recollections were included.

Andy had a long interview with writer/producer Lamont Dozier for the liner notes, and also talked to people like Dick Clark, who was touring the country with his Caravan of Stars when "Where Did Our Love Go" was released. The Supremes were at the bottom of the bill when they first went on the road, but during the tour the single climbed to No. 1, and the trio quickly moved up the bill.



USHER'S THREE IN A ROW

Dear Fred,

Usher missed out a few months ago having three No. 1s in a row. But this week Usher achieves the uncommon feat of three in a row in the top 40 [of Billboard's Hot 100]: "My Boo" ([with] Alicia Keys) at No. 29, "Yeah!" (Featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris) at No. 30 and "Burn" at No. 31.

David Dana-Bashian
Garden Grove, Calif.

Dear David,

It's difficult enough to have three songs as lead artist in the top 40, but to have them all lined up next to each other is very rare. Now if Usher could quickly release two more songs, maybe he could equal the Beatles' feat of having five songs occupying adjacent positions, although the Fab Four did it by occupying the top five slots.



SET THEM ADRIFT, AWAY

Dear Fred,

I just noticed on the Adult Contemporary chart [for the week ending Sept. 11] that "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban went recurrent, yet "Drift Away" by Uncle Kracker featuring Dobie Gray, "Forever and for Always" by Shania Twain, "Unwell" by matchbox twenty and "Calling All Angels" by Train are still on the AC chart. In fact, "Drift Away" has been on the AC chart for 78 weeks. Is there any way Billboard can change the recurrent rule on the AC chart again? For example, if songs fell below No. 10 after 26 weeks, they go recurrent.

I don't mean to go off on a rant like Dennis Miller, but I would just like to know the answer.

Thank you very much.

Lisa Curry
Beachwood, N.J.

Dear Lisa,

Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart is notoriously slow moving because it reflects the reality of AC radio. The format is one where radio stations play songs forever and for always, and they rarely let those long-running hits drift away. Setting the recurrent bar too high wouldn't give an accurate picture of airplay at AC radio, which is the point of the chart.

Still, the Billboard chart department is always examining chart policies, and I'll pass your suggestion along.



REMEMBERING LAURA

Dear Fred,

My favorite singer of all time, Laura Branigan, has tragically died way too young. I'm extremely upset, since I always looked forward to hearing her voice -- [the] first record I ever owned was by her [and hers was] the first concert I ever attended.

Could you do her fans a favor and list her chart entries on the Hot 100 as a tribute? I only hope that we will one day get to hear the material she was working on before she left us.

Sincerely,

Karl Bittner
McLean, Va.

Dear Karl,

You were the first of many "Chart Beat" readers to write about the sad and unexpected passing of Laura Branigan at age 47.

I'm sure her family and associates will do what they can to find a way to release her recent work. The last new track I heard by Laura was her remake of ABBA's "The Winner Takes It All."

During her chart career, she had 13 songs debut on Billboard's Hot 100. Here is a discography:

"All Night With Me" (No. 69, 1982)
"Gloria" (No. 2, 1982)
"Solitaire" (No. 7, 1983)
"How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" (No. 12, 1983)
""Self Control" (No. 4, 1984)
"The Lucky One" (No. 20, 1984)
"Ti Amo" (No. 55, 1984)
"Spanish Eddie" (No. 40, 1985)
"Hold Me" (No. 82, 1985)
"I Found Someone" (No. 90, 1986)
"Shattered Glass" (No. 48, 1987)
"Power of Love" (No. 26, 1988)
"Moonlight on Water" (No. 59, 1990)