Fred Bronson discusses 50 Cent, Cher, coincidences, charity singles and albums, the Eagles, Celine Dion, and Madonna with readers.

50 CENT'S WORTH

Fred,

Quick question: Will 50 Cent's new DVD/CD combo get to chart on The Billboard 200? Just wondering if it would be treated as a music or DVD release, or both?

Peace,

Jim Sanches

Dear Jim,

50 Cent's "The New Breed" is a hybrid, part CD, part DVD, similar to Josh Groban's "In Concert." Like that Groban album, "The New Breed" will be eligible to chart on The Billboard 200.

Based on first-day sales, it will be a battle for No. 1 between 50 Cent's "The New Breed" and Kelly Clarkson's debut set, "Thankful." At deadline, it's very close between the two, so a lot will depend on who sells the most copies over the Easter weekend.

"The new Breed" will also be eligible to appear on our music video chart, as was Groban's album.



I WANNA YOU BACK

Fred,

It must have been a transmission error, as I'm sure you are well aware that Cher's first Hot 100 hit was Bob Dylan's "All I Really Want To Do," not "All I Wanna Do," as stated in last week's "Chart Beat Bonus." So there no chance that Cher'll make you eat Crow as a result of that one.

Randy Price
New York

Dear Randy,

Yeah... transmission error... that's the ticket.



SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW

Fred,

I was amused by the "Chart Beat Chat" item regarding the wordplay of consecutive song titles on the charts. My favorite example of cute wordplay has always been the consecutive titles of Lionel Richie's singles from his debut solo album -- "Truly," "You Are," and "My Love" (It might have been cuter if the first two songs were reversed). Interesting that he was a guest judge on the same "American Idol" episode on which you appeared.

Speaking of which, I couldn't help but notice the grayish hair, which looks perfectly dignified on you. So what's with the "old" black and white photo on this web site?

Bob Ridge
Fishers, Ind.

Dear Bob,

It's strange, but when the light hits my hair a certain way, it does appear to be gray-ish.

You aren't the first person to suggest that it's time to change my photo. By eerie coincidence (thought not as eerie as the coincidence in the next E-mail), I am scheduled for a session at a local photo studio today as I write this column. You'll see the results soon.



FAITH...

Hi Fred,

How's this for an eerie coincidence: While reading this week's "Chart Beat Chat" (regarding charity singles), I was listening to a copy of "American Top 40" from Oct. 12, 1985, and Casey Kasem mentioned in his intro to Mick Jagger and David Bowie's "Dancing in the Street" (at No. 7) that the money from that song went to the Live Aid organization to combat world famine. The chart muses certainly do work in strange ways!

Aaron McCracken
Clearwater, Fla.

Dear Aaron,

You do realize that most "Chart Beat Chat" readers are saying to themselves right now that the truly eerie thing is that you were listening to an "American Top 40" program from 1985. However, I'm not one to talk. One night last year I was watching an old Eurovision Song Contest that a friend had just sent. It was about one in the morning and my phone rang. It was Adam White calling, then Billboard's international editor-in-chief based in London. As we talked, I realized he could hear in the background: "Portugal...12 points." I felt it necessary to mention that I didn't spend every evening watching old Eurovision Song Contests.

As for your question, my reply wasn't meant to be the definitive listing of all charity singles that have reached the Hot 100. I should have remembered "Dancing in the Street," though, as I was at RFK Stadium in Philadelphia for Live Aid in 1985; I wrote ABC's three-hour coverage of the event, hosted by Dick Clark.



...HOPE...

Dear Fred,

I'm sure your listing of charted charity singles wasn't meant to be definitive. Otherwise, you would have mentioned "Sun City" by Artists United Against Apartheid.

Mark Kausch

Dear Mark,

Right... not definitive... that's the ticket.



...AND CHARITY

Dear Fred,

Concerning the question about charity singles that hit No. 1, I recall a multi-artist project called "The Concert for UNICEF." The recording acts that performed that concert also contributed songs to an album, with the sales proceeds going to UNICEF. At least two of the songs on that album, "Too Much Heaven" by the Bee Gees and "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" by Rod Stewart, hit No. 1. I'm not sure, but I think the royalties from those singles went to the cause also.

Larry Dhooghe
Forest Grove, Ore.

Dear Larry,

I remember the album and the television broadcast as well. Abba's "Chiquitita" was included, although it didn't reach No. 1 in the U.S. While proceeds from these songs were donated to UNICEF, they weren't written or recorded originally for charity, so I don't think of them in the same breath as "We Are the World" or "Voices That Care."



...AND MORE CHARITY

Dear Fred,

I always enjoy your column, especially the ones that make me want to talk back to the screen. Concerning charity singles, wasn't the Bee Gees' "Too Much Heaven" written for UNICEF? I also would think that George Harrison's "Bangla Desh" might have qualified, if the legal battles surrounding the concert hadn't taken most of the money.

Anyway, here's my real question: In your book "Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits", in the section about the Eagles, you only mention Don Henley's and Glenn Frey's solo hits. Why not Joe Walsh, Randy Meisner, Timothy B. Schmit, and maybe Poco?

Tim Meyers
North Fort Myers Fla.

Dear Tim,

Your eagle eye is correct. While Timothy B. Schmit didn't have a song with enough chart points to appear in the Eagles' top-30 hits, Joe Walsh and Randy Meisner do. I'll correct that list for the next printing of the book. It doesn't feel right to add in Poco, though, unlike some lists, like the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young chart where I include songs by all of their previous groups.



DRIVING HOME A HIT

Hello there Fred,

I'm an avid fan of your column and the Billboard charts as well. I'm a Celine Dion fan too, and every week I check the status of her single. "I Drove All Night" is not doing well on the charts. But she has her Las Vegas show, which I believe could help the single reach a better position on the charts. In addition, she also has the Chrysler commercial that could empower the single. Could those ways of promoting the single help it to reach No. 1? Why did "I Drove All Night" peak only at No. 45?

Marcenino Bautista
Manila, Philippines

Dear Marcenino,

Celine Dion has had enormous publicity from the opening of her show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and it's hard to not hear "I Drove All Night" unless you don't watch television. It's been a little more difficult to hear the song at top-40 radio, and therein lies her problem on Billboard's Hot 100. The song is an album track; in other words, there was no commercial single released in the U.S. Chart position on the Hot 100 is determined by airplay and sales. No commercial single means no sales points, so "I Drove All Night" charted on the Hot 100 solely based on its airplay.

It seems that Dion has evolved into an Adult Contemporary artist -- that is, most of her airplay comes from stations that play music in the AC format. "I Drove All Night" didn't receive enough top-40 radio airplay to rise higher than No. 45 on the Hot 100.

Even at AC, "I Drove All Night" didn't receive the kind of airplay Dion songs usually garner in this format. The song is No. 7 on Billboard's AC chart, its peak position. Considering Dion usually goes to No. 1 on the AC tally, that's not an impressive performance.

Celine's stint in Vegas has had more impact on her album sales. On The Billboard 200, which is only based on sales, the album "One Heart" debuted at No. 2 and is currently No. 8.



A SECOND LOOK AT 'LIFE'

Hey there Fred,

I read your response about Madonna's latest single not doing well, because it may not be very good. I'm writing to say that I've heard it and like it more and more every time I listen to it. I wonder if this could be a sleeper hit that will get more and more radio airplay as time progresses.

This would be a surprise because it's a Madonna song, and her hits are overplayed right from the start, but this may be a change for the better. I just heard that the song is No. 1 on KIIS-FM (Los Angeles, April 15, 2003) and so, it seems my prediction may be true. Do you think this is a possibility?

Also, the song just entered the top-40 on The Billboard Hot 100; this is an amazing feat since I believe this sets another record for Madonna.

Not bad for what you and a few fans think is a not-so-good song. I for one love Madonna's "American Life!"

Steven Dunbar
Alhambra, Calif.

Dear Steven,

I won't argue about whether it's a "few" fans or not, but I'm willing for the song to grow on me. Sales of the single certainly fuelled the 30-place leap on the Hot 100, as "American Life" zoomed 67-37. The airplay picture is still not bright enough. On Hot 100 Airplay, "American Life" only moves 70-61. I would expect a new Madonna song to have more airplay than that, although it's very possible airplay will continue to grow in the weeks ahead.

For those who haven't heard "American Life" and want to make up their own mind, listen to "The Billboard Radio Countdown" for the week ending April 26, to be posted at billboardradio.com beginning Monday, April 21.