Fred Bronson discusses with readers Kid Rock and the state of commercial singles in the U.S., song titles with repeating words, theories about the No. 1 song of the year, and Canadian country artists.

'PICTURE' IT

Howdy, Fred,

Just wanted to let you know I appreciated your 'cocky' comments in your last "Chart Beat Bonus" regarding the fact that Kid Rock's latest single and album are selling well. Hopefully record industry execs read your column as often as us devoted fans and will get the hint that releasing singles do not necessarily hurt album sales. Thanks for being the voice of so many of us advocates for the release of singles!

Tom Eash
Tempe, Ariz.

Dear Tom,

Thanks. You were not alone in expressing your thoughts about sales of singles and albums in light of last week's comments. "Picture" continues as the best-selling single in the U.S., while the popularity of the song has boosted Kid Rock's "Cocky" album back up The Billboard 200. The CD is holding at No. 7 this issue, matching its peak position set 62 weeks ago when the album debuted at No. 7.

My point was that record companies don't want to release singles because they think it eats into sales of a parent album. There's lot of evidence that is not true -- does anyone remember "Smooth" and "Maria Maria" by Santana? -- but the simultaneous sales success of "Picture" and "Cocky" is the latest proof refuting this idea.

Next week's Hot 100 will bring another example of the disparity between sales and airplay, by the way. Mariah Carey's "Through the Rain" (MonarC/Island) only managed to peak at No. 81 as an airplay track. But the song is poised for re-entry next week, thanks to the late release of a commercial single. "Rain" has the potential to sell enough copies to trigger a re-entry in the top-10 of the Hot 100.



MORE GOOD THINGS THAT COME IN THREES

Dear Fred,

I have located these other top-15 hits listing the same word or phrase in groups of three, which were not listed in last week's "Chart Beat Chat," either in David Dana-Bashian's letter or your reply:

"Real Real Real," Jesus Jones (1991, No. 4)
"Mercy Mercy Mercy," Cannonball Adderly (1967, No. 11)

In addition I have also come up with these songs that contain the same word in groups of more than 3:

"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm," Crash Test Dummies (1994, No. 4)
"Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)," Rolling Stones (1974, No. 15)
"I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do," Abba (1976, No. 15)
"Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um," Major Lance (1964, No. 5)

Jeff Lerner
Long Island, N.Y.

Dear Jeff,

Um, thanks thanks thanks.



EARLY LOOK AT THE END OF 2003

Dear Fred,

With the kind of quick drop-off that Eminem's "Lose Yourself" is seeing (and his songs typically see), it's likely that this 12-week-running No. 1 song will not be the No. 1 single of 2003, thus making this possibly the sixth year in a row that the song that spends the most time at No. 1 on Billboard's weekly Hot 100 lists will not be listed as the year's No. 1 song.

But that doesn't mean we haven't already heard or seen what will become this year's biggest Hot 100 hit, if the past five years are any indication. In those years (1998-2002), the No. 1 single on the Hot 100's year-end tally was already on the chart before the year began in all but two cases. And in both of those cases -- "Too Close" by Next in 1998 and "Hanging By a Moment" by Lifehouse in 2001 -- the singles made their Hot 100 debuts during the second chart week in February. The last year that the No. 1 single made its chart debut after February was 1997, when Elton John's mega-selling tribute to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, "Candle in the Wind 1997," entered the chart in October.

For the record, the top hits of 1999, 2000, and 2002 were "Believe" by Cher, "Breathe" by Faith Hill, and "How You Remind Me" by Nickleback, respectively - all songs that were on the charts during the previous years' Decembers.

Darrell Roberts
Bethesda, Md.

Dear Darrell,

The quick descent of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" is not necessarily an indication of where this song will show up on the year-end recap of Billboard's Hot 100. Remember, these annual recaps are no longer compiled by an inverse point system. For the year-end lists, songs are ranked according to their total sales and airplay points during the chart year.

Of course, it's very early to be predicting the chart champs of 2003, so I won't. But as you suggested a couple of weeks ago, it looks like we're in for a year of rapid turnover at No. 1. So far, two songs have advanced to the top this year. "Bump, Bump, Bump" by B2K and P. Diddy had one week in pole position, and now "All I Have" by Jennifer Lopez featuring LL Cool J is in its second week at No. 1. There are at least two strong contenders for the top spot next week, so "All I Have" might have to settle for a two-week reign. "Mesmerize" by Ja Rule featuring Ashanti moves 5-2 this week, and "In Da Club" by 50 Cent jumped 11-4.



I'M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY, YOU'RE A LITTLE BIT CANADIAN

Fred,

Looking at Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart this week, I couldn't help noticing, as a Canadian, that three of the top five tracks on the chart were by Canadian artists: Terri Clark ("I Just Wanna Be Mad" at No. 3), Emerson Drive ("Fall Into Me at No. 4), and Aaron Lines ("You Can't Hide Beautiful" at No. 5). Has this ever happened before in the history of the country charts, that three or more of the top five were by Canadians?

Coincidentally, all three of these Canadian country acts are from the province of Alberta, which can lay a solid claim to being the most "country" part of Canada. Clark hails from Medicine Hat, Lines from Fort McMurray, and Emerson Drive from Grande Prairie.

Canada has long had a vibrant country music scene, but the Canadian country charts, like American country charts, have always been dominated by American artists. Many of Canada's top country acts, such as Prairie Oyster, Jason McCoy, and Duane Steele, have had little or no chart success in the U.S. However, there are signs that the situation may be changing in both countries. On one of Canada's premier country music stations, CJJR-FM in Vancouver, Canadian artists held down six of the top-10 chart positions this week. It looks like Canadian artists may finally be getting some of the success and recognition they deserve, both in the U.S. and at home in Canada.

Wayne C. Weber
Delta, British Columbia
contopus@shaw.ca

Dear Wayne,

There have been country artists from Canada before -- Anne Murray comes to mind -- but the most successful has been Shania Twain. It's not unlikely that Twain's success inspired other labels to look north of the border for more talent. In addition to the artists you mentioned, Carolyn Dawn Johnson is another successful Canadian act.

Billboard doesn't keep track of national origin in any database, so there's no way other than looking at every single country chart by hand to answer your question accurately; however, I can't remember any time in history when there were this many successful country performers from Canada on the chart at the same time.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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