Fred Bronson reports on the latest chart accomplishments of Johnny Mathis, Josh Groban, and t.A.T.u.
CHANCES ARE HE'S BACK: After an absence of more than 14 years, Johnny Mathis returns to Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, as his holiday track "Frosty the Snowman" (Columbia) debuts at No. 29. It's Mathis' first AC appearance since his remake of Little Anthony & the Imperials' "I'm on the Outside Looking In" went to No. 27 in summer 1988.
The gap between "Outside" and "Frosty" is the longest break in Mathis' AC history. He was already a superstar when the AC tally was introduced in 1961 as the "Easy Listening" chart. While many of his earlier singles would have appeared on such a chart had it existed, Mathis made his AC debut the week of Sept. 29, 1962, with "Gina," which spent three weeks at No. 2. From 1962 to 1979, Mathis had at least one AC chart entry every year. The 18-year run stopped with "Begin the Beguine," which reached No. 37. Mathis didn't chart again until April 1982, when his duet with Dionne Warwick, "Friends in Love," made its debut. Mathis also charted in 1984 and 1985, and in 1988 with "Outside."
"Frosty the Snowman" is Mathis' 49th AC chart entry. His biggest hit on this survey is his duet with Deniece Williams. "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" was No. 1 for one week in 1978 and was on the chart for 19 weeks. Mathis' only other AC No. 1 was "I'm Coming Home," which was on the chart for 18 weeks in 1973.
Mathis was 21 years old when he made his first appearance on a Billboard chart. "Wonderful! Wonderful!" entered the pop singles list the week of Feb. 9, 1957. That gives him a career chart span of 45 years and 11 months.
THE LONGEST 'NIGHT': Elsewhere on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, Josh Groban holds on to pole position for a second week with his holiday offering, "O Holy Night" (143/Reprise). That makes 'Night' the longest-running No. 1 Christmas song in this chart's history. The only other two holiday tunes to reach the top -- Newsong's "The Christmas Shoes" and Jim Brickman and Rebecca Lynn Howard's "Simple Things" -- both managed only one-week reigns.
MOSCOW GIRLS SING AND SHOUT: Will 2003 be the year that Russian pop stars make the kind of breakthrough in America that artists from Sweden have experienced? If so, the harbinger is t.A.T.u., a teenaged duo from Moscow. Julia and Lena are the two members of t.A.T.u., and they make their debut on Billboard's Hot 100 with "All the Things She Said" (Interscope), which enters at No. 85.
The single is still No. 10 on the Hot 100 Singles Sales chart after peaking at No. 8. Sales in the U.S. have been boosted by Julia and Lena's short visit to the States, including stops at a Billboard Awards party in Las Vegas, a photo shoot in Los Angeles, and the MTV Studios in New York.