Chart-based stories on Carly Simon, ABBA, Britney Spears, Jive Records, Mary J. Blige, and more.
NOBODY DOES IT BETTER: Carly Simon is back on the The Billboard Hot 100 for the first time since the spring of 1989. Between April 1971 and May 1989 Simon had 23 chart entries, beginning with "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" and ending with "Let the River Run" from the film "Working Girl." Her biggest hit during that time was the enigmatic "You're So Vain," which topped the chart for three weeks in 1973.
Simon's return is courtesy of Janet Jackson, who has refashioned "You're So Vain" into "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" (Virgin), a track featuring Missy Elliott, P. Diddy, and Simon. The cut from Jackson's "All for You" CD enters the Hot 100 at No. 72.
DEFINING MOMENT: After selling 21 million copies worldwide and 3 million copies in the U.S., the "ABBA Gold" album is being "retired" in favor of the double-CD "The Definitive Collection" (Polydor/UTV), which enters The Billboard 200 at No. 186. It's the first ABBA album to debut on the chart since "Gold," which was a new entry the week of Oct. 9, 1993. This 2001 release gives the Swedish quartet a four-decade chart span, dating back to the Aug. 17, 1974 debut of "Waterloo."
Underlining the fact that ABBA is more successful in the U.S. almost 20 years after breaking up than the act was during its original run, the foursome never had a top-10 album on a Billboard chart when it was an active group. The "Gold" album finally made the top-10 of the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart in 2001, and reached a peak position of No. 9 just two weeks ago.
JIVE TALKING: The debut of Britney Spears' third album at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 gives the Jive label its 11th chart-topping album. Spears is responsible for three of those 11 No. 1 discs, the highest total of any act on the imprint's roster.
Here is a recap of the 11 No. 1 albums from the label that has been home to artists as diverse as Billy Ocean, Steps, Millie Jackson, Samantha Fox, the Fresh Prince (Will Smith), Aaron Carter, and A Flock Of Seagulls:
"R. Kelly," R. Kelly (1 week), 1995
"Beats, Rhymes and Life," A Tribe Called Quest (1 week), 1996
"...Baby One More Time," Britney Spears (6 weeks), 1999
"Millennium," Backstreet Boys (10 weeks), 1999
"No Strings Attached," 'N Sync (8 weeks), 2000
"Oops!...I Did It Again," Britney Spears (1 week), 2000
"Let's Get Ready," Mystikal (1 week), 2000
"TP-2.Com," R. Kelly (1 week), 2000
"Black & Blue," Backstreet Boys (2 weeks), 2000
"Celebrity," 'N Sync (1 week), 2001
"Britney," Britney Spears (1 week), 2001
The reign of "Britney" is expected to end next week with the likely debut of Garth Brooks' "Scarecrow" (Capitol) at No. 1.
'AFFAIR' OF THE CHART: Mary J. Blige can lay claim to the longest-running No. 1 single on the MCA label in the past eight years. It was exactly eight years ago this week that Meat Loaf was in the middle of a five-week reign on The Billboard Hot 100 with "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)." Now, Blige's "Family Affair" has hit the four-week mark, and could tie Meat Loaf next week.
If Blige can outlast Meat Loaf's record and remain in pole position for six weeks, she will have MCA's longest-running No. 1 title since Olivia Newton-John ruled for 10 weeks with "Physical" in 1981-82.
TIME HAS COME TODAY: Lee Chesnut of Universal Records noted a connection between four No. 1 hits in the Nov. 17 issue of Billboard:
Adult Contemporary: "Only Time," Enya
Hot Country Singles & Tracks: "Angry All the Time," Tim McGraw
Hot Dance Music: Maxi-Singles Sales: "Lifetime," Maxwell
Hot Dance Music: Club Play: "Impressive Instant," Madonna
Thanks to Lee for taking a minute or two to E-mail me about this timely coincidence.