Fred Bronson reports on the latest chart feats of Brooks & Dunn, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, Trapt, Thalia and the Rolling Stones.

TWO FOR THE 'ROAD': Will "Red Dirt Road" (Arista) by Brooks & Dunn become the duo's 18th No. 1 hit on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, or be the pair's fifth No. 2 hit?

Odds favor "Road" driving it home, if it can surpass the new occupant of the pole position, Lonestar's "My Front Porch Looking In" (BNA). Brooks & Dunn have accumulated their 18 chart-toppers in a career that stretches back 12 years and one month, to the debut of "Brand New Man" the week of June 22, 1991. That was the duo's first No. 1 and the first of four consecutive songs to reach the top.

"Red Dirt Road" shifts into second place this week. The duo's previous No. 2 hits are:

"We'll Burn That Bridge" (1993)
"Rock My World (Little Country Girl)" (1994)
"I Am That Man" (1996)
"He's Got You" (1998)

As of this week, "Red Dirt Road" is the highest-charting Brooks & Dunn song since "The Long Goodbye" spent one week at No. 1 in March 2002.


SEVENTH HEAVEN: Two weeks ago, "Crazy in Love" (Columbia) by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z became the seventh No. 1 song of 2003 on Billboard's Hot 100. This week, "Crazy in Love" repeats that feat on the Hot R&B Singles & Tracks chart. The first six R&B No. 1 titles of 2003 are:

"Miss You," Aaliyah (3 weeks)
"In Da Club," 50 Cent (9 weeks)
"Excuse Me Miss," Jay-Z (1 week)
"Get Busy," Sean Paul (1 week)
"21 Questions," 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg (7 weeks)
"So Gone," Monica (5 weeks)

Jay-Z is thus the second artist to have two No. 1 songs in 2003, after 50 Cent. "Crazy in Love" is the first co-ed hit to move to No. 1 this calendar year, and the first since "Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop) by Erykah Badu featuring Common was No. 1 from December 2002-January 2003.

"Crazy in Love" marks the fifth time Beyoncé has topped this chart, although her first four No. 1s were songs by Destiny's Child. "No, No, No," "Bills, Bills, Bills," "Say My Name" and "Independent Women Part I" were all No. 1 on the R&B survey.

"Crazy in Love" is also the fifth No. 1 for Jay-Z. He first reached the top as a featured artist on Mariah Carey's "Heartbreaker" in 1999. The following year, he went to No. 1 with "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)." In 2001, "Fiesta" by R. Kelly featuring Jay-Z led the list, and then "Excuse Me Miss" had its day in the sun this past April.


HEAVY METAL: It's been so long since a current chart single has been certified gold or platinum by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA), some readers may not know the meaning of the solid triangle and circle that appear on Billboard's Hot 100 this week. The triangle indicating platinum certification -- for U.S. shipments of 1 million copies -- is especially rare, and appears next to Clay Aiken's "This Is the Night" (RCA). The circle indicating gold certification -- for U.S. shipments of 500,000 copies -- appears next to Ruben Studdard's "Flying Without Wings" (J).

From September 2001 to June 2003, only 12 singles have been certified gold or platinum by the RIAA. During that period, there were three platinum singles: Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance," released in October 2000 and certified in October 2002; Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall," released in July 1979 and certified in September 2001 and Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors," released in July 1973 and certified in September 2001.

In contrast, Aiken's double-sided "This Is the Night" / "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was released June 10 and was certified five weeks later (a release must be in the marketplace for at least one month before it can be certified). It is the best-selling single since Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997."


TRAPT ADORED: "Headstrong" (Warner Bros.) by Trapt moves 3-1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart , completing the longest journey to the summit in this chart's history. "Headstrong" was a new entry the week of Oct. 26, 2002, and thus slides into first place in its 40th chart week.

Previously, the song that took the longest to reach the top was Trapt's immediate predecessor, Chevelle's "Send the Pain," which achieved pole position in its 23rd chart week, just two weeks back.

"Headstrong" set a similar record for patience on the Modern Rock Tracks chart in May, when it advanced to No. 1 in its 24th chart week.


PERSONAL BEST: Latin star Thalía is in the upper half of The Billboard 200 for the first time, as her eponymous English language debut on EMI Latin enters at No. 11. The new CD marks the third Thalía title to appear on this chart, following "Thalía Con Banda-Grandes Exitos" (No. 167 in September 2001) and another album simply called "Thalía" (No. 126 in June 2002).

This new Thalía album is the highest new entry for a Latin artist in 2003, besting the No. 12 debut of Ricky Martin's "Almas Del Silencio" in June.


40 YEARS: One of the world's most famous groups made its first chart appearance 40 years ago this week. The U.K. singles chart of July 25, 1963, featured the debut of the first Rolling Stones single, a remake of Chuck Berry's "Come On." The single ultimately peaked at No. 21 and was followed four months later by a John Lennon-Paul McCartney song, "I Wanna Be Your Man," which went to No. 12. The Stones' third U.K. single, a cover of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," entered the chart the week of Feb. 27, 1964, and peaked at No. 3. In the U.S., "Not Fade Away" was the first Stones single to chart on the Hot 100, debuting the week of May 2, 1964, and peaking at No. 48.