Stories on Alicia Keys, O-Town, Melissa Etheridge, and Lonestar.
KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: Alicia Keys, the fourth female act to advance to No. 1 on The Billboard 200 in 2001, is back on top of the chart with her debut album, "Songs in A Minor" (J). Keys opened at No. 1 two weeks ago, was deposed by D12's "Devil's Night" (Shady/Interscope) for a week, and recaptures pole position this week.
The other female acts to reign over the Billboard album chart this year are Jennifer Lopez (one week with "J-Lo"), Janet Jackson (one week with "All for You"), and Destiny's Child (two weeks with "Survivor"). That means Keys only needs one more week at No. 1 to have the longest-running chart-topping album by a female artist in 2001.
Seven male acts have moved into the top spot this year: Shaggy, the Dave Matthews Band, 2Pac, Tool, Staind, Blink-182, and D12.
THEY PUT THE 'O' IN O-TOWN: That "Making the Band" band, O-Town, scored a top-10 hit with its very first single, "Liquid Dreams." That debut release peaked at No. 10 on The Billboard Hot 100 in January. But the J Records act has fared even better with the follow-up, "All or Nothing," which leaps 9-3 this week.
"Liquid Dreams" did well in sales -- it was the first single by a new act to debut at No. 1 on Hot 100 Singles Sales. But it didn't receive wide support from radio, which hurt its chances on the Hot 100. "All or Nothing" is performing well on both the sales and airplay sides. The record rockets 17-4 on the Hot 100 Singles Sales chart, and the song moves 14-11 on the Hot 100 Airplay tally.
THE 'SKIN' SHE'S IN: Melissa Etheridge's seventh album to reach The Billboard 200 is the second-highest charting set of her career. The cathartic "Skin" (Island), with songs written after Etheridge's break-up with lover Julie Cypher, enters the album chart at No. 9, giving the artist her first top-10 album of the 21st century. If "Skin" moves higher than the No. 6 peak of 1995's "Your Little Secret," it will be Etheridge's highest-charting album ever.
Here is a recap of the seven Etheridge albums to chart:
"Melissa Etheridge," No. 22 (1989)
"Brave and Crazy," No. 22 (1989)
"Never Enough," No. 21 (1992)
"Yes I Am," No. 15 (released in 1993, peaked in 1995)
"Your Little Secret," No. 6 (1995)
"Breakdown," No. 12 (1999)
"Skin," No. 9 (2001)
SIX WEEKS: Lonestar's "I'm Already There" (BNA) remains on top of the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for a sixth week, sending the song into a tie for the longest-running No. 1 of 2001. Brooks & Dunn had a six-week reign with "Ain't Nothing 'Bout You" (Arista). The closest competitors, Toby Keith's "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This" and Jessica Andrews' ""Who I Am," both had three week runs at the summit.
The only other recent song to be No. 1 as long as six weeks was Faith Hill's "Breathe." To find a song that was on top longer than six weeks, you'd have to go back to the summer of 1999, when Lonestar's "Amazed" remained at the pinnacle for eight weeks.