A recap of late R&B star Aaliyah's chart performance, and a look at R&B acts who debuted in the 1960s who appear on the charts today, plus stories on Blu Cantrell, Jennifer Lopez, and Ja Rule.
IN TRIBUTE: It was just a little over seven years ago that a young R&B singer by the name of Aaliyah made her debut on The Billboard Hot 100. Born in Brooklyn, Aaliyah Haughton was 15 years old when "Back & Forth" entered the chart at No. 56. The single peaked at No. 5 and spent 24 weeks on the chart.
In her lifetime, Aaliyah would collect three more top-10 hits, and make chart history with the first-ever airplay-only track to top the chart. "Try Again," from the soundtrack to her film "Romeo Must Die," spent one week in pole position in June 2000, without being released as a commercial single (although a single was released after the song fell from No. 1).
Here is a recap of the late singer's Hot 100 chart history:
"Back & Forth," No. 5 (1994)
"At Your Best (You Are Love)," No. 6 (1994)
"Age Ain't Nothing But a Number," No. 75 (1995)
"If Your Girl Only Knew," No. 11 (1996)
"The One I Gave My Heart To," No. 9 (1997)
"Are You That Somebody?" No. 21 (1998)
"I Don't Wanna," No. 35 (2000)
"Try Again," No. 1 for one week (2000)
"We Need a Resolution" (featuring Timbaland), No. 59 (2001)
"Rock the Boat," No. 57 (2001) [to date]
With radio stations playing her songs in tribute after her death in a plane crash last week, Aaliyah's "We Need a Resolution" re-enters the Hot 100 at No. 95. "Rock the Boat" debuts at No. 57.
On the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, Aaliyah's first single remains her most successful.
Here is a summary of her history on the R&B chart:
"Back & Forth," No. 1 for three weeks (1994)
"At Your Best (You Are Love)," No. 2 (1994)
"Age Ain't Nothing But a Number," No. 35 (1994)
"I Need You Tonight" (Junior M.A.F.I.A. featuring Aaliyah), No. 43 (1995)
"If Your Girl Only Knew," No. 1 for two weeks (1996)
"The One I Gave My Heart To," No. 8 (1997)
"You Won't See Me Tonight" (Nas featuring Aaliyah), No. 44 (1999)
"I Don't Wanna," No. 5 (2000)
"Try Again," No. 4 (2000)
"Come Back in One Piece" (featuring DMX), No. 36 (2000)
"We Need a Resolution" (featuring Timbaland), No. 15 (2001)
"Rock the Boat," No. 16 (2001) [to date]
THEY LOVE MUSIC: Two acts that first appeared on Billboard's R&B singles chart in the 1960s have songs debut on that chart this week, joining two other acts who also had their initial chart entries in the 1960s.
Michael Jackson earns Hot Shot Debut honors by opening at No. 30 with "You Rock My World" (Epic). That gives Jackson a career chart span of 31 years and nine months, dating back to the Nov. 22, 1969 debut of the first Jackson 5 single, "I Want You Back."
In most weeks, Jackson would be the artist with the most seniority among acts having a new song debut on the chart. But this week, that honor belongs to a veteran act from Canton, Ohio. The O'Jays are back, as their label debut for MCA, "Let's Ride," is new at No. 68. The O'Jays have an R&B chart span of one week shy of 38 years, dating back to the Sept. 14, 1963 debut of "Lonely Drifter."
Jackson and the O'Jays join the Isley Brothers and the late Marvin Gaye on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The Isleys rebound to No. 3 with "Contagious" (DreamWorks), while Gaye is a featured artist on Erick Sermon's "Music" (NY.LA/Def Squad/Interscope), still No. 17 in its 18th chart week. The Isley Brothers' first R&B chart appearance occurred the week of June 16, 1962, when "Twist and Shout" made its debut. Gaye's first R&B single to chart was "Stubborn Kind of Fellow," the week of Oct. 6, 1962.
Of these four acts that can trace their origins back to the '60s, two have family members also charting this week. Michael's sister, Janet Jackson, is bulleted at No. 11 with "Someone to Call My Lover" (Virgin), while O'Jays charter member Eddie Levert is just one notch lower on the chart than his son, Gerald Levert, who moves 68-67 with "Made to Love Ya" (Elektra).
ISLAND GIRL: Larry Cohen of Trumbull, Conn., notes that Blu Cantrell is the first artist from the smallest state in the nation, Rhode Island, to make the top-40 of The Billboard Hot 100 since Jon B peaked at No. 29 in 1998 with "Are U Still Down."
LOPEZ & RULE RULE: Leading up to this week, male artists have occupied the No. 1 position on The Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks in 2001 and female artists for 17 (counting the songs that have advanced to pole position this calendar year). The score had been tied, until Alicia Keys gave her gender a comfortable lead, thanks to the three-week reign of "Fallin'" (J).
This week's No. 1 doesn't give an advantage to either sex, because both genders get credit for "I'm Real" (Columbia), the single by Jennifer Lopez that features Ja Rule.
It's the second No. 1 hit for Lopez on this chart, following the five-week run of "If You Had My Love" in June-July 1999, and the first for Ja Rule.