"Chart Beat" columnist Fred Bronson reports chart-based stories on Shania Twain, Madonna, "American Idol," LeAnn Rimes, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Police & Sting, and Mark Knopfler.
IMPRESSED US MUCH: It's been almost two years since Shania Twain had a song debut on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. Absence must have made radio's heart grow fonder, because massive instant airplay on "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!" (Mercury) results in a Hot Shot Debut designation for the track as it bows at No. 24. It's the highest debut of Twain's career, besting the No. 29 entry of "Love Gets Me Every Time." Of Twain's 22 entries on the country chart, only "Love Gets Me Every Time" and "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!" have entered in the top-40 portion of the chart.
Only two songs have debuted higher than "Getcha!" since Billboard started using Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems' monitored airplay information to compile the chart. Garth Brooks' owns both: "The Thunder Rolls" started at No. 19 in 1991 and "Wrapped Up in You" opened at No. 22 in 2001.
Should "Getcha!" travel all the way to the top of the chart, it would become Twain's eighth No. 1 hit, and the first since "You're Still the One" ruled for a solitary week in May 1998.
THE 'DIE' IS CAST: Just as Shania Twain has the highest-debuting song of 2002 on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks tally, Madonna has the highest-debuting title of the year on Billboard's Hot 100. "Die Another Day" enters at No. 41, based solely on airplay (a commercial maxi-single will be in stores Oct. 22). "Die Another Day" is the first Madonna song to debut this high since "Music" entered at No. 41 the week of Aug. 12, 2000. To find a higher-debuting Madonna song, you'd have to go back to the week of Oct. 17, 1998, when "The Power of Good-bye" entered at No. 24. Madonna's highest new entry of her career is the No. 5 opening of "Ray of Light" the week of July 11, 1998.
Before "Die Another Day," the highest debuting song of 2002 was the No. 42 entry of Brandy's "What About Us?" the week of Jan. 26. The Bond song is the highest new entry on the Hot 100 since the week of Sept. 29, 2001, when, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the U.S., Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." debuted at No. 16.
'MOMENT' BY 'MOMENT': America's love affair with "American Idol" is clearly not over, as an album of songs by the top-10 finalists from the summer TV series hits The Billboard 200 at No. 4. "American Idol: Greatest Moments" (RCA) also enters Billboard's Top Soundtracks chart at No. 1, where it is the first soundtrack from a television series to top the list.
October has seen a different album in the pole position on the soundtrack chart every week. The "XXX" soundtrack had a six-week reign from the end of August through the end of September. Since then, "Barbershop" had a week at No. 1, followed by "Brown Sugar" for one week, and now "American Idol."
LOW-FLYING 'ANGEL': LeAnn Rimes' first six albums all debuted in the top-10 of The Billboard 200, with two of them opening at No. 1. With the exception of the little-noticed "God Bless America" in November 2001, the new "Twisted Angel" (Curb) set is the first Rimes album to debut out of the top-10. It is a new entry at No. 12.
Here's a summary of where Rimes' eight albums have debuted on The Billboard 200:
"Blue," No. 4 (1996)
"Unchained Melody/The Early Years," No. 1 (1997)
"You Light Up My Life - Inspirational Songs," No. 1 (1997)
"Sittin' on Top of the World," No. 4 (1998)
"LeAnn Rimes," No. 8 (1999)
"I Need You," No. 10 (2001)
"God Bless America," No. 159 (2001)
"Twisted Angel," No. 12 (2002)
THE NITTY GRITTY: After an absence of 13 years and one month, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band returns to The Billboard 200 with a follow-up to a 1989 release. The circle actually began in December 1972, when "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" LP debuted on the Billboard album chart, ultimately peaking at No. 68 in 1973.
The Dirt Band continued to chart with other albums in the '70s and '80s, until the release of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Volume Two." That CD debuted in May 1989, and peaked at No. 95. Now, Volume Three in the series opens at No. 134.
All three "Circle" albums have appeared on different labels. The first was released by United Artists, the second by Universal, and the latest by Capitol.
EVERY HIT THEY MADE: The Police are back on The Billboard 200, with their first chart entry in five years, and their highest-charting album since the 1986 release of "Every Breath You Take - The Singles," which peaked at No. 7. "The Very Best of... Sting & the Police" (A&M/Interscope) is new at No. 46. A similarly-titled collection peaked at No. 100 in December 1997.
Sting's most recent appearance on this tally was with the live album "...All This Time," which went to No. 32 in December 2001.
MONEY FOR SOMETHING: Dire Straits founder and frontman Mark Knopfler has the highest-charting album of his solo career, as "The Ragpicker's Dream" (Warner Bros.) debuts at No. 38 on The Billboard 200. Knopfler's previous solo best was his most recent work, "Sailing to Philadelphia," which reached No. 60 in October 2000.
The last time Knopfler was this high on the Billboard album chart was in 1991, when the Dire Straits CD "On Every Street" traveled to No. 12.