Fred Bronson reports on the latest chart feats of Mary J. Blige, the "Bad Boys II" soundtrack, Alan Jackson, Uncle Kracker, Aaron Neville and Clay Aiken.
AT LONG LAST, 'LOVE': The Geffen label issued its first album in 1980. Now, 23 years later, the imprint claims the No. 1 position on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for the first time. Mary J. Blige was shifted over to Geffen earlier this year when parent company Universal shut down her previous label, MCA. Her "Love & Life" album jumps 71-1 to give the label its first chart-topper.
Previously, the highest-ranked Geffen album on this chart was "Liquid Swords" by Genius/GZA. That set peaked at No. 2 in November 1995.
On The Billboard 200, "Love & Life" is the seventh Geffen album to reach the top, but the first by a solo female artist.
'BAD' TIME: The soundtrack to "Bad Boys II" (Bad Boy/Universal) continues its uninterrupted run at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Soundtrack Albums chart. The CD is in the lead for the seventh week, the longest consecutive run since "Chicago" had a seven-week run earlier this year.
"Chicago" has a cumulative total of 12 weeks on top in 2003, broken by a two-week reign for "Cradle 2 the Grave" in March.
'FIVE' AT SIX: Alan Jackson's latest hit becomes his longest-running No. 1 song this week. "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" (Arista), a duet with Jimmy Buffett, is in pole position for the sixth week on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. That beats the five-week reign of Jackson's post-9/11 song, "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)."
Jackson has had two songs remain No. 1 for four weeks each: "Chattahoochee" in 1993 and "Drive (For Daddy Gene)" in 2002.
ADULT EDUCATION: Uncle Kracker and Dobie Gray continue to rewrite history on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart as "Drift Away" (Lava) refuses to budge from the top of the survey. The remake of Gray's 1973 original is No. 1 for the 15th week, placing it among the seven longest-running chart-toppers in the lifespan of the AC tally.
"Drift Away" is tied with Enrique Iglesias' "Hero," which had a 15-week reign that began in December 2001. Here are the five songs with longer runs at No. 1 on the AC chart:
"A New Day Has Come," Celine Dion (2002; 21 weeks)
"Because You Loved Me," Celine Dion (1996; 19 weeks)
"You'll Be in My Heart," Phil Collins (1999; 19 weeks)
"Breathe," Faith Hill (2000; 17 weeks)
"I Knew I Loved You," Savage Garden (1999; 17 weeks)
IT'S HIS 'NATURE': After an absence of almost six years, Aaron Neville returns to Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with "Nature Boy: The Standards Album" (Verve). A new entry at No. 85, it's Neville's first CD to chart since "To Make Me Who I Am" peaked at No. 73 in November 1997.
Although he's had a very long recording career, Neville didn't make his first appearance on this chart until July 1991, when "Warm Your Heart" debuted. His highest-ranking album to date is "Tattooed Heart," No. 50 in July 1995.
'NIGHT' FALLS AND RISES: After two weeks at No. 2, Clay Aiken's "This Is the Night" / "Bridge Over Troubled Water" reclaims the top spot on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart. It's the 10th non-consecutive week at No. 1 for the first single by the "American Idol" runner-up.
Sales of Aiken's single continue to decline, but Hilary Duff's "So Yesterday" suffered a bigger decline, and fell 1-2.