Fred Bronson reports on chart activity relating to Usher, Juvenile, Van Halen, the Jacksons and Reba McEntire.
FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER: Between 1955 and 2003, no song with a title that began with the word "Slow" had ever made it to No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart. Then, five months ago, Twista took over the top spot with "Slow Jamz." Now, there is another "Slow" No. 1, as Juvenile's "Slow Motion" (Cash Money) moves 2-1 on the Hot 100.
That means the long reign of Usher is over. He has ruled the chart for 22 of the last 23 weeks, giving up pole position for only one week to "American Idol" winner Fantasia. Since Feb. 28, Usher has dominated the tally with "Yeah!" "Burn" and "Confessions Part II" (LaFace).
"Slow Motion" is Juvenile's ninth chart entry in a career that began in February 1999 with "Ha." But until now, Juvenile's highest position on the Hot 100 was the No. 19 peak of "Back That Thang Up" in November 1999.
"Slow Motion" continues the male domination of the Hot 100 in 2004. Fantasia is the only female artist to advance to No. 1 this calendar year. The other acts who have risen to the top in 2004 are OutKast (featuring Sleepy Brown), Twista (featuring Kanye West and Jamie Foxx) and Usher (on his own, and also featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris).
USHER PART II: Juvenile also replaces Usher at the top of the Hot 100 Airplay chart. One big difference between this tally and the main Hot 100 is that Usher has ruled this list for 23 solid weeks, with his three consecutive hits.
That means Juvenile's "Slow Motion" is the first non-Usher song to top this chart since the week of Feb. 21, when "Slow Jamz" by Twista featuring Kanye West and Jamie Foxx was in its second week in the pole position.
'BOTH' SIDES NOW: A new compilation of Van Halen hits, with three new tracks featuring Sammy Hagar, gives the band its highest-charting title on The Billboard 200 in almost eight years.
"The Best of Both Worlds" (Warner Bros.) bows at No. 3. That's the best performance by a Van Halen album since another greatest hits CD, "Best of Volume 1," opened at No. 1 the week of Nov. 9, 1996.
"The Best of Both Worlds" continues Van Halen's uninterrupted run of top 10 albums. After the group's self-titled debut LP peaked at No. 19 in 1978, every subsequent Van Halen release has reached the top 10. In fact, all 13 have made the top six.
WE WANT THEM BACK: Van Halen isn't the only group that has its highest-charting album in a long time with a greatest hits collection. On Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, the Jacksons have their best performance in 15 years with "The Jacksons Story" (Hip-O/UTV). The double-CD collects hits from the Jackson 5's Motown years, the Jacksons' tenure on Epic, as well as solo tunes from Michael Jackson and Jermaine Jackson. It's new to the chart at No. 74.
Five months ago, "The Essential Jacksons" (Legacy/Epic) debuted and peaked at No. 99. "Story" is the highest-ranking Jacksons album since "2300 Jackson Street" went to No. 14 in July 1989.
BE 'SOMEBODY': As foretold last week, Reba McEntire's "Somebody" (MCA) takes charge of Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks with a 3-1 move. McEntire thus becomes the second female artist to top this chart in 2004, following newcomer Gretchen Wilson's reign with "Redneck Woman."
"Somebody" is McEntire's 22nd No. 1 hit, and puts her closer to matching Dolly Parton's total of 24, the most for any woman in the history of this chart.