"Chart Beat" columnist Fred Bronson's chart-based stories on Aimee Mann, Brandy, Heather Headley, NElly, Chritina Aguilera, Enya, the Rolling Stones, the Dixie Chicks, and Sheryl Crow.
MANN ACT: Her fourth solo album to chart on The Billboard 200 is the highest-charting set yet for Aimee Mann. The former lead singer of 'Til Tuesday reached No. 127 in May 1993 with her first solo work to chart, "Whatever" (Imago). In February 1996, she peaked at No. 82 with a DGC/Geffen release, "I'm With Stupid." In May 2000 "Bachelor No. 2 or the Last Remains of the Dodo" stopped at No. 134. This week, the long-awaited "Lost in Space" debuts at No. 35, far above its predecessors.
If the three 'Til Tuesday albums that charted are included, "Lost in Space" is Mann's second-highest charting set of her career. In 1985, "Voices Carry" sailed to No. 19 on the strength of the title song, released as a single. "Welcome Home" went to No. 49 in 1986, and "Everything's Different Now," a lauded work that chronicled Mann's breakup with singer/songwriter Jules Shear, stalled at No. 124 in 1988.
IS 'HE' OR ISN'T 'HE': At first glance, it appears there is a cover battle going on between two divas on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. But it's merely a coincidence that new mother Brandy and Broadway star Heather Headley are charting with songs titled "He Is."
In its second week on the chart, Brandy's "He Is" (Atlantic) moves 78-77. It's her third chart entry of 2002, following "What About Us?" (No. 3 in February) and "Full Moon" (No. 16 in June).
A different song titled "He Is" marks the chart debut of Headley, who is recording an album for RCA. Headley starred on Broadway in the Elton John/Tim Rice musical "Aida." While this is her first appearance on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, Headley peaked at No. 15 on the Adult Contemporary chart in July 1999 with "A Step Too Far," a song from "Aida" recorded with John and Sherie Scott.
KELLY, KELLY, KELLY: There's no doubt the name Kelly Clarkson will be showing up on Billboard's Hot 100 soon. The only question is, how high will the "American Idol" winner debut? With 22.5 million people watching the finale of the series, less than 1% of those viewers need to buy the single "A Moment Like This" in its first week to give the RCA release a probable No. 1 debut, even if it has no airplay at all. If the single does make it to No. 1, it will be the first pop song to do so in 2002; all of the other chart-toppers in this calendar year have been by R&B/hip-hop artists.
Clarkson won't be first in one area: she'll be the second Kelly to have a No. 1 song in 2002, following Kelly Rowland. The Destiny's Child member is in her fifth week on top as the guest star on Nelly's "Dilemma" (Fo' Reel/Universal). To carry this one step further, Kelly Rowland is the second K. Rowland to have a No. 1 hit in the rock era. The first was Kevin Rowland, the creative force behind Dexys Midnight Runners, who topped the Hot 100 in 1983 with "Come on Eileen."
NELLY, NELLY: With "Dilemma" leading the pack for a fifth consecutive week on the Hot 100, Nelly has been No. 1 for 12 weeks in a row. His previous hit, "Hot in Herre," ruled for seven weeks just prior to "Dilemma."
That means Nelly has occupied the No. 1 spot longer than any artist since Santana and Rob Thomas had a 12-week run at the top with "Smooth" (from October 1999 to January 2000). If Nelly and featured artist Kelly Rowland can hold off Eve and Alicia Keys' No. 2 hit "Gangsta Lovin'" (Ruff Ryders/Interscope) and remain No. 1 for a 13th week, Nelly will have been No. 1 longer than any artist since Brandy & Monica led the list for 13 weeks in 1998 with "The Boy Is Mine."
SPELLING BEE: Is there any possibility Christina Aguilera and Nelly had the same English teacher? While Nelly's "Hot in Herre" (Fo'Reel/Universal) slips 9-11 on the Top 40 Tracks chart, Aguilera debuts at No. 37 with her new song, "Dirrty" (RCA). Do you suppose this is the start of a trrend?
A WEEK WITHOUT A REIGN: After an atypical dip to No. 2 for three weeks, Enya reclaims pole position on Billboard's Top New Age Albums chart with "A Day Without Rain" (Reprise/Warner Bros.). The album is in its 87th week on top. "A Day Without Rain" opened at No. 1 the week of Dec. 9, 2000, and remained in place for 53 consecutive weeks. It had a holiday timeout in December 2001, as it fell to No. 2 for three weeks while Mannheim Steamroller's "Christmas Extraordinaire" moved to the summit.
"Rain" reigned again the week of Jan. 5, 2002, and didn't budge for 33 more weeks. Last month, Jim Brickman's "Love Songs & Lullabies" (RCA) captured the top spot. But Brickman's lead over Enya only lasted three weeks, and now the Irish artist is back where she's most comfortable, at the New Age tippy-top.
NOT FADING AWAY: With a U.S. tour underway, the Rolling Stones add to their lengthy chart history by debuting at No. 38 on Mainstream Rock Tracks with a new song, "Don't Stop" (Virgin). It's the first song by the veteran band to appear on this tally in the 21st century; the Stones last charted with a live version of "Gimme Shelter," which peaked at No. 29 in December 1998.
The Stones first appeared on a Billboard chart in May 1964, when their cover of "Not Fade Away" (penned by Buddy Holly and recorded by him with the Crickets) debuted, ultimately peaking at No. 48. That gives the Stones a career chart span of 38 years, four months, and two weeks.
CHICK SINGERS: The Dixie Chicks go where almost no "girl group" has gone before, as the trio collects its second No. 1 album on The Billboard 200. "Home" (Monument/Columbia) enters the chart on top, just as "Fly" did exactly three years ago this week.
The Dixie Chicks are only the second girl group in history to have more than one chart-topping album. Here is a list of all the No. 1 albums by female groups:
"The Supremes A' Go-Go," the Supremes (1966)
"Diana Ross & the Supremes Greatest Hits," Diana Ross & the Supremes (1967)
"TCB," Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations (1969)
"Beauty and the Beat," the Go-Go's (1982)
"Spice," Spice Girls (1997)
"Fanmail," TLC (1999)
"Fly," Dixie Chicks (1999)
"Survivor," Destiny's Child (2001)
"Home," Dixie Chicks (2002)
NO. 97 WITH A BULLIT: Add another name to the list of actors who have been mentioned in the titles of songs that chart on the Hot 100. Sheryl Crow debuts at No. 97 with "Steve McQueen" (A&M/Interscope). The song has a long way to go to become the most successful title that includes the name of an actor: Kim Carnes spent nine weeks at No. 1 in 1981 with "Bette Davis Eyes." The Crow single has a better chance of topping the No. 95 peak of Bananarama's 1984 single, "Robert DeNiro's Waiting."