Fred Bronson reports on the chart feats of Glen Larson and Stu Phillips (thanks to Panjabi MC), Blue Man Group, Jewel, Wynonna, Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg, and American Idol Finalists.
GOOD KNIGHT: Two names with long histories on Billboard's Hot 100 are back on the chart, thanks to a collaboration between a U.K.-based artist and an American hip-hop icon. "Beware of the Boys (Mundian To Bach Ke)" (Sequence) by Panjabi MC featuring Jay-Z climbs 49-40 this week. The song melds bhangra beats with the theme to the 1980s TV series "Knight Rider," and that means Glen Larson and Stu Phillips, the writers of the show's theme, are back in the top-40.
Before Larson produced TV series like "Knight Rider," "Battlestar Galactica," "The Six Million Dollar Man," and many others, he was a member of the Los Angeles-based pop quartet known as the Four Preps. As an artist, Larson first charted on the Billboard pop singles chart with the Four Preps' "Dreamy Eyes" the week of Dec. 22, 1956. As a songwriter, he first charted with the Four Preps' memorable "26 Miles (Santa Catalina)," a No. 2 hit in 1958.
Phillips has composed numerous film and television scores, including the movie "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" and TV series like "BJ and the Bear," "Get Christie Love," and "Quincy." He produced a number of hit singles on the Colpix label, including "Johnny Angel" for Shelley Fabares, "She Can't Find Her Keys" for Paul Petersen, and "Goodbye Cruel World" for James Darren. The first single he produced to reach the Hot 100 was "Trouble in Mind" by Nina Simone in January 1961. He is the author of "Stu Who?: Forty Years of Navigating the Minefields of the Music Business," a new book detailing his life in the music industry.
Larson and Phillips were last on the Hot 100 as songwriters in 1998, when Busta Rhymes went to No. 10 with "Turn It Up (Remix)/Fire It Up," which also sampled the "Knight Rider" theme. Coincidentally, Rhymes' single entered the Hot 100 exactly five years ago this week. In January 1998, Larson and Phillips were credited as songwriters on the Hot 100 when Lutricia McNeal went to No. 63 with "Ain't That Just the Way," a remake of a Barbi Benton song released in the 1970s.
With the success of "Beware of the Boys," Larson's career chart span expands to 46 years, four months, and three weeks, dating back to the debut of the Four Preps' "Dreamy Eyes." Phillips' career chart span is extended to 42 years, three months, and two weeks, counting back to the debut of Simone's "Trouble in Mind."
BLUE MAN UP: The audience for Blue Man Group must be growing. "Audio," the first album released by performance artists Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton, and Chris Wink, peaked at No. 175 on The Billboard 200 in May 2001. Two years later, the second Blue Man Group release, "The Complex" (Blue Man Group/Lava) enters The Billboard 200 at No. 60. "The Complex" features a number of guest artists, including Dave Matthews and Tracy Bonham.
RETURN ENGAGEMENT I: Just three weeks shy of the seventh anniversary of her first appearance on Billboard's Hot 100, Jewel returns to the chart with the first taste of her forthcoming Atlantic album, "0304." Debuting at No. 73, "Intuition" reveals a new, poppier side of Jewel that is indicative of the direction she's taken on the new CD.
The first Jewel single to chart, "Who Will Save Your Soul," peaked at No. 11 the week of Aug. 3, 1996. The Utah-born singer's biggest hit to date is the double-sided single "You Were Meant for Me" / "Foolish Games." "You Were Meant for Me" peaked at No. 2 the week of April 19, 1997. "Foolish Games" was a hit later in the year, peaking at No. 7 the week of Nov. 1.
Jewel's most recent Hot 100 entry prior to "Intuition" was "Standing Still," which went as high as No. 25 the week of Feb. 16, 2002.
RETURN ENGAGEMENT II: Another solo female artist returns to a Billboard chart this week. Wynonna's been away from the Hot Country Singles & Tracks tally for almost three years; she was last seen on this chart in summer 2000 with "Going Nowhere," which stopped at No. 43. This week, Wynonna debuts at No. 55 with "What the World Needs" (Asylum/Curb).
This new release is Wynonna's 25th chart entry away from the Judds. Her first three solo efforts all went to No. 1: "She Is His Only Need" (one week in April 1992), "I Saw the Light" (three weeks in July 1992), and "No One Else on Earth" (four weeks in October-November 1992). Her fourth No. 1 song was "To Be Loved by You" (one week in April 1996).
TWO DOGG NIGHT: "Chart Beat" reader David Dana-Bashian of Garden Grove, Calif., notes that "21 Questions" by 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg and "Beautiful" by Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell & Uncle Charlie Wilson are now both in the top-10 of Billboard's Hot 100. Dana-Bashian says he doesn't recall ever seeing any weekly top-10 of the Hot 100 having two different artists with the same last name (albeit a stage name in the Doggs' case).
Dana-Bashain adds that "21 Questions" joins "13 Questions" by Seatrain and "Questions 67 and 68" by Chicago as the only numbered questions to make the top-50 of the Hot 100.
LET'S JUST 'BLESS' AND SAY GOODBYE: "Chart Beat" reader Larry Dhooge of Forest Grove, Ore., asks that we consider the phenomenon of a song spending its entire top-10 life in its peak position. In other words, when the song moves into the top-10 of the Hot 100, it jumps up to its peak position, stays there any number of weeks, then falls completely out of the top-10.
The record for the highest position at which any song has done that is No. 4, Dhooge notes. Until now, that record has been held by the Beatles' "She's a Woman." This week the American Idol Finalists share that record as "God Bless the U.S.A." plunges 4-19.
David Dana-Bashian has more to add on this topic: he writes that "God Bless the U.S.A." is the highest-ranked song to spend only one week in the top-10. The record was previously shared by three titles that peaked at No. 6: "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard, "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by Vanilla Fudge, and "The Star Spangled Banner" by Whitney Houston.