Fred Bronson reports on the latest chart feats of Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt, Missy Elliott, Alice Cooper and Beyoncé.

THE RAITT STUFF: There's a connection between two albums that debut on The Billboard 200 this week - a fragile connection, but a connection nevertheless.

Bette Midler has her highest-ranking title in 12 years, as "Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook" (Columbia) enters at No. 14. Midler hasn't been this far up the chart since "Some People's Lives" peaked at No. 6 in January 1991. Produced by her old compatriot Barry Manilow, Midler's latest album features remakes of songs made famous by the legendary Clooney, who passed away on June 29, 2002.

One of Clooney's biggest hits interpreted by Midler is "Hey There," which spent six weeks at No. 1 in 1954. "Hey There" is from the Broadway musical "The Pajama Game," which starred John Raitt.

Also debuting on this week's Billboard album chart is the latest release by John Raitt's daughter. "The Best of Bonnie Raitt 1989-2003" collects Bonnie's hits on the Capitol label. After a long stint on Warner Bros., Bonnie moved over to Capitol in 1989 with the "Nick of Time" album, which spent three weeks at No. 1.

(Bette Midler's version of "Hey There" will be featured on The Billboard Radio Countdown for the week ending Oct. 18, to be posted Monday (Oct. 13) on billboardradio.com.)


HIGH TIME: Missy Elliott has the highest new entry of the week on Billboard's Hot 100 with "Pass the Dutch" (The Gold Mind/Elektra), which opens at No. 48. It's Elliott's highest opening mark since "Hot Boyz" started at No. 36 the week of Nov. 27, 1999.

"Dutch" is the seventh highest new entry of 2003. The top-10 highest-ranking debuts of the calendar year are:

"This Is the Night," Clay Aiken (No. 1, June 28)
"Flying Without Wings," Ruben Studdard (No. 2, June 28)
"God Bless the U.S.A.," American Idol Finalists (No. 4, May 3)
"Did My Time," Korn (Aug. 9, No. 38)
"I Can," Nas (March 1, No. 46)
"Somewhere I Belong," Linkin Park (March 15, No. 47)
"Pass the Dutch," Missy Elliott (Oct. 18, No. 48)
"Have You Forgotten?" Darryl Worley (March 15, No. 50)
"Sing for the Moment," Eminem (April 5, No. 52)
"Excuse Me Miss," Jay-Z (Feb. 15, No. 53)
"So Yesterday," Hilary Duff (Aug. 16, No. 53)

Elliott has another debut on the Hot 100 this week: She's a featured artist on Wyclef Jean's "Party to Damascus" (Yclef/J), new at No. 90.


A MAN NAMED ALICE: "The Eyes of Alice Cooper" (Eagle) enters The Billboard 200 at No. 184, making it the veteran rocker's highest-charting album in nine years. "Eyes" surpasses the No. 193 peak of "Brutal Planet" in 2000 and the No. 197 ranking of "Dragontown" in 2001. His last album to chart higher than "Eyes" was "The Last Temptation of Alice Cooper," No. 68 in July 1994.


POLE POSITION PARTNERS: With "Baby Boy" (Columbia) by Beyoncé and Sean Paul still heading up Billboard's Hot 100, the Destiny's Child singer is closing in on 50 Cent for the most weeks at No. 1 during 2003. Combining "In Da Club" and "21 Questions," 50 Cent has spent 13 weeks in pole position this calendar year. Adding "Crazy in Love" to "Baby Boy," Beyonce is close behind, with 11 weeks at No. 1.

Here is a list of the artists with the most weeks at No. 1 during 2003:

50 Cent (13 weeks)
Beyoncé (11 weeks)
Jay-Z (eight weeks)
Sean Paul (six weeks)
P. Diddy (five weeks)
Murphy Lee (four weeks)
LL Cool J (four weeks)
Jennifer Lopez (four weeks)
Nate Dogg (four weeks)
Nelly (four weeks)
Clay Aiken (two weeks)
B2K (one week)

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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