Chart-based stories on holiday singles, Michael & Janet Jackson, LeAnn Rimes, and the song "Somethin' Stupid."
THE MELODIES LINGER ON: The date on this week's Billboard charts is Jan. 5, 2002, but they reflect sales and airplay during the days leading up to Christmas. That's why it's not surprising to see so much activity on holiday-related songs, even though Dec. 25 has passed.
On the Adult Contemporary chart, James Taylor's rendition of the 1944 classic "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (Columbia), introduced by Judy Garland in the film "Meet Me in St. Louis," leaps 11-4. It's Taylor's biggest AC hit since "Little More Time With You" peaked at No. 3 in 1997.
On that same AC chart, Toni Braxton debuts at No. 25 with "Snowflakes of Love" (Arista) and Barbra Streisand enters at No. 28 with "It Must Have Been the Mistletoe" (Columbia).
Don't look for any of these songs to climb any higher. There's nothing colder than a Christmas tune on Dec. 26, so all of the holiday-related titles could be gone by next week.
ONE UP, ONE DOWN: Two Jackson siblings are having different experiences on this week's charts. On The Billboard Hot 100, Michael Jackson's "Butterflies" (Epic) floats 21-19, while Janet Jackson's "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" (Virgin) falls 28-31. Unless "Son" rebounds, it will be Jackson's lowest-charting song where she is the primary artist since the pre-"Control" single "Come Give Your Love to Me" peaked at No. 58 in 1983.
Starting with "What Have You Done for Me Lately" in 1985, every Janet Jackson single has made the top-20, and all but one ("The Pleasure Principle," which peaked at No. 14 in 1987) have made the top-10. Janet has had a particularly strong streak over the last few years: since 1995, every chart entry where she was the primary artist has registered in the top-three on the Hot 100.
On the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, Michael and Janet are also having their ups and downs. "Butterflies" is up 5-3, far above the No. 13 peak of the first hit from the "Invincible" album, "You Rock My World." Lower down the chart, "Son of a Gun" falls from its No. 26 peak, slipping to No. 31.
SPINS FOR 'MOONLIGHT': The continuing saga of LeAnn Rimes' "Can't Fight the Moonlight" (Curb) gets a new spin, as the song from the "Coyote Ugly" soundtrack makes its first appearance on Billboard's Hot 100 Airplay chart, debuting at No. 68. It's the first Rimes song to appear on this chart since "I Need You" (which peaked at No. 23 the week of Sept. 30, 2000).
With airplay added to the mix and sales continuing to be strong, the revitalized "Moonlight" rises 57-49 on The Billboard Hot 100. During its original run, the song peaked at No. 71.
'STUPID' IS AS 'STUPID' DOES: When C. Carson Parks wrote "Somethin' Stupid" in 1966, he probably didn't expect the song to be a No. 1 hit even once, let alone twice, 34 years apart. Producer Lee Hazlewood found the song and brought it to the attention of Nancy Sinatra, who then showed it to her father. It was Frank who thought the song would make a perfect duet, and in the spring of 1967 "Somethin' Stupid" spent four weeks atop The Billboard Hot 100.
Flash forward to 2001, and British pop star Robbie Williams goes into the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, recording an album in the same studio where Frank Sinatra worked on so many of his classic albums. The result is "Swing When You're Winning," an album of standards that is in its fourth week at No. 1 in the U.K. The lead single, a remake of "Somethin' Stupid" featuring actress Nicole Kidman as a duet partner, is in its second week at No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart. It's the second time the song has reached pole position in Britain; the Sinatras had a two-week run at No. 1 in April 1967.
One added note: Kidman isn't the only actress to have a top-10 hit in the U.K. this month. Kate Winslet earned rave reviews for "What If" (Liberty), which debuted at No. 6 and this week holds at No. 11.