Manchester Attack

CHART BEAT CHAT

Fred Bronson discusses chart records, Fantasia, song titles, Top 40 radio and Maroon5 with readers.

NOT GOING BACK, NOT GOING FORWARD

Dear Fred,

Kenny Chesney's "I Go Back" remains at No. 2 [on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart] for a sixth non-consecutive week, making this his longest run at No. 2 in his career. His previous long run at No. 2 occurred a year ago at this time when "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems" began a five-week run.

If "Back" can retain another week in the runner-up position, it will tie Jo Dee Messina's "Lesson in Leavin'" for the longest run at No. 2 since Billboard began using SoundScan in 1991, as well as (not sure exactly) the last 30-40 years.

Am I correct, or how close am I?

John Maverick
Omaha, Neb.

Dear John,

You did very, very well. When Jo Dee Messina's "Lesson in Leavin'" had a seven-week stay at No. 2 on the country chart in the summer of 1999, it became the longest-running song to peak in second place since the summer of 1962, when Jim Reeves' "Adios Amigo" spent nine non-consecutive weeks in the runner-up spot.

Since Kenny Chesney's "I Go Back" is stuck at No. 2 this week, the song is tied with Messina's "Lesson" as the longest-running No. 2 song of the last 42 years.

One note: Hot Country Singles & Tracks is an airplay-only chart, so Nielsen SoundScan information is not used to compile this tally. Billboard uses airplay information from Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems to compile the country singles chart. This survey has used BDS information since the week of Jan. 20, 1990.



WHERE'S FANTASIA?

Hello Sir,

If Fantasia [has had] the top [selling single] for the past eight weeks, why does she not appear on any [Billboard chart]? She is terrific and I'm happy she is doing so well, but don't understand the Billboard charts and why she is not on them.

Also, is there anyway you can prompt the Honolulu stations to play her song? It is unbelievable that none of the stations will play her song, yet several of them play Clay Aiken and Kimberly Locke very frequently.

Thank you for your response.

Sincerely,

Frank Reuter

Dear Frank,

Fantasia appears on a number of Billboard charts with her single "I Believe," and has for the last eight weeks.

The week of July 10, "I Believe" debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100. That chart combines airplay and sales data. Fantasia's song charted almost entirely on her sales figures, as airplay was negligible.

Since sales have declined each week, the song has moved down the Hot 100. As I write this column, the track falls 66-80 in its eighth week. There still isn't significant airplay at mainstream top 40 radio, where as of deadline the song had 101 spins on seven stations. To compare "I Believe" to another "American Idol" tune, Kimberley Locke's "Wrong" in the same period had 1287 spins on 96 stations.

On the Adult Contemporary chart, which measures airplay at AC radio stations, "I Believe" is No. 29 in its third chart week, with 195 spins, down from last week's 198.

"I Believe" has been No. 1 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales chart for eight weeks. The song peaked at No. 12 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, where it is down 56-65 this week. That's because the airplay picture at R&B isn't very bright. Among all R&B formats, Fantasia is doing best at Adult R&B, where "I Believe" slips 22-24 in its seventh week with 229 spins, down from 283.

I would say the real test of Fantasia's staying power will come with her second single and her debut album. Like Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard, her first single was the song she performed on the finale of "American Idol." It's one of those there's-never-been-a-moment like this songs that radio stations don't usually embrace.

As for prompting the station in Honolulu to play "I Believe," that wouldn't be our job. We report what stations are playing but we don't ask radio to play anything. That's more a project for you and Fantasia's many other fans.



HEY, LADY!

Hi Fred!

Regarding George Galteros's question about titles appearing multiple times in the top 10 -- I couldn't think of any with more than four either -- but I thought of another "foursome." I believe "Lady" has been a top 10 title for Kenny Rogers, Styx, Little River Band and D'Angelo.

I also found if I cheated a bit I could include some other notable titles -- for example, within the top 20 there have been five appearances of "Hold On" from Wilson Phillips, En Vogue, Jamie Walters, Santana and Ian Gomm. By stretching it even further, to include the top 30, you can count on seeing six "Missing You" tracks.

Vince Forrington
Vancouver

Dear Vince,

Now hold on, no cheating.

As for the Ladies, you've trumped me with four. Kathleen A. Moore came up with the same four "Lady" songs, as did Larry Dhooghe.



THE RADIO THREAD CONTINUES

Fred,

I just got done reading the "Chart Beat Chat" column [dated Aug. 20] and had to write you! You posted a letter of mine two weeks back about my radio show, "Sounds from the Lost and Found" (great to know it got a lot of response from readers, by the way!).

I totally sympathize with Andy Ray's comments (the thing that irks me the most about the major local "top 40" station here is that they tout in their promos that they're playing "everything" on the top 40, but in reality they're omitting about a third of it -- mainly, the country hits -- which irritates me, if only because it misleads listeners into thinking the charts are less eclectic than they are, and I would immensely love to see a legitimately comprehensive top 40 radio station.

And I absolutely LOVE his idea about a top 40-charts-this-week-in-history flashback show and was wondering if there was any chance that you could put me in touch with him, because that's a project I would really, really love to help out in some way with! Radio is in dire need of a show like that!

Fortunately, in the past week, I did hear from someone at an Internet radio station called Radio Six International (based in Scotland) who found out about my show from a thread I posted at a message board I visit regularly and expressed real interest in possibly picking up the show and asked me to send him a demo CD, so I just may have found a new home for my show after all! There's hope!

Jeff Fiedler

Dear Jeff,
Keep us posted on where your radio show lands.

In defense of your local top 40 station, I don't know of any top 40 station in the country that also plays country music in regular rotation. Country titles appear on the Hot 100 because country music is one of many formats that reports to the Hot 100, but that doesn't mean top 40 radio is playing these hits.

I can't put readers in touch with each other. When readers provide their e-mail addresses with their signature, I'm glad to run those addresses in "Chart Beat Chat." But I can't give out e-mail addresses any more than I could give out personal phone numbers.

Andy Ray's e-mail generated another response. See the next letter.



LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN

Fred,

I'm replying to Andy Ray's letter from last week. At one point, he wrote:

"The first week of the Hot 100 comes to mind (August 1958, I believe). This station would play the hottest songs of the week as its 'hot hits,' the hits from earlier in 1958 as its 'recurrents' (a radio term for 'songs from the recent past'), and the larger hits from 1955-1957 as its 'oldies.' I even imagine a minute-long newscast at the beginning of each hour, delivering the news and sports of that very week in time. The next day, this station's 'hot hits' would mirror the Hot 100 chart for the next week in history, and its newscasts would move on to the news of the next week."

Andy might want to check out www.Live365.com, where I've launched a stream called "20-Year Time Warp." This week, it's playing songs from the Hot 100 chart from the last week in August 1984. Each week, I update the playlist. I think Andy will enjoy this!

Josh Hosler
Seattle

Dear Josh,

I predict a spike in your listenership, not just from Andy but from all the "Chart Beat" readers who check out your station.



SLOW MOTION

Fred,

It looks like Maroon5's excellent album "Songs About Jane" will top the British album chart this Sunday (Aug. 22). It will be another slow climb to the No. 1 spot, rather like fellow American band the Scissor Sisters. What is the slowest journey to No. 1 on the Billboard album chart?

Incidentally, for those interested in the British charts there's a new combined "Guinness Book of Hit Singles and Albums" out now. It features a list of the top 10 selling albums and singles of 2003.

Dido had the top selling album with "Life for Rent" with over 2 million sales. The 10th best-selling album had sales of 900,000. In American terms that would be like the year's best-seller selling 10 million, and the 10th best seller selling 4.5 million. U.S. record companies would be happy with that!

John Boylan

Dear John,

You sent your e-mail days before the latest album chart was compiled, but you were absolutely correct. The Maroon5 album moves 2-1 this week. To answer your question about the slowest climb to No. 1 on The Billboard 200, here's an excerpt from my "Chart Beat" column dated March 23, 2002:

TO THOSE WHO WAIT: In its 63rd chart week, the soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (Lost Highway/Mercury) slips into pole position on The Billboard 200. It's the second-longest trip to the top in the history of this chart. The album that took the longest time to reach the summit only took one more week than "O Brother": In October 1989, Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl" advanced to No. 1 in its 64th chart week.

Two albums arrived at the chart zenith later than "Forever Your Girl" -- if you include the weeks they were off the survey. Roberta Flack's "First Take" went to No. 1 in its second chart run. If you include the 91 weeks it was off the chart, it led the list in its 118th week. Jim Croce's "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" also went to No. 1 during its second run. If you count the 34 weeks it was off the chart, it moved to the top in its 81st week.