MODERN ROCK: Billboard's rock charts this week boast a number of acts reclaiming the spotlight.
Ahead of its Sept. 29 release, "Black Gives Way to Blue," its first album in 14 years, Alice in Chains  notches its first top on Alternative Songs since 1996, as "Check My Brain" bolts 33-10. The song is the group's third top 10 and first since "Heaven Beside You," which ascended to No. 6 in February 1996. The group first reached the top 10 with "No Excuses," which peaked at No. 3 on the March 19, 1994, chart.
On Rock Songs, which ranks airplay on more than 200 all-format rock radio stations, "Check My Brain" flies 26-5. The song also darts 35-9 on Mainstream Rock (viewable at billboard.biz) for the act's first top 10 since the No. 4-peaking "Get Born Again" in 1999. Alice in Chains has now collected 11 top 10s on Mainstream Rock, where "No Excuses" represents its sole No. 1 to date.
Additional star power returns to Mainstream Rock (where Cavo  becomes the first act to reign with a debut chart entry since Trapt in 2003, as "Champagne" rises 2-1). The reunited Creed  previews "Full Circle," due Oct. 27, with a lofty launch for "Overcome" at No. 18. Creed, whose members recently spoke with Billboard , placed 13 songs on the survey from 1997 to 2003, including the No. 1s "What's This Life For" (1998), "Higher" (1999), "With Arms Wide Open" (2000) and "My Sacrifice" (2001).
At No. 21 on both Alternative and Rock Songs, Weezer  debuts with "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To," the lead single from the band's seventh studio set, "Raditude," due Oct. 27. The entrance on the former chart is the band's third-best among 18 career entries. The Los Angeles group arrived at higher ranks only with "Beverly Hills" (No. 13, 2005) and "Pork and Beans" (No. 19, 2008), both of which went on to lead the list. (The band owns an additional No. 1, "Perfect Situation," in 2006).
Three other venerable rock bands bow on airplay charts this week. Bon Jovi  introduces "The Circle," due Nov. 10, with "We Weren't Born to Follow" at No. 32 on Adult Top 40 (viewable at billboard.biz). A notch below, Train  arrives with "Hey, Soul Sister." The song is the first single from "Save Me San Francisco," due Oct. 27.
On Triple A (also exclusive to billboard.biz), Phish  previews its 14th studio album, "Joy," due Sept. 8, with "Backwards Down the Number Line" at No. 30. The Vermont faves (after whom the gooey chocolate, marshmallow, caramel and fudge ice cream flavor "Phish Food," from fellow Vermont entity Ben & Jerry's, is named) last appeared on the chart with the No. 2 hit "The Connection" in 2004. That track tied 2000's "Heavy Things" for the band's best Triple A placement.
'TRACTOR' PULLED TO NO. 1: Following a three-year gap between his first two toppers on Country Songs, Jason Aldean  registers his first set of consecutive leaders, as "Big Green Tractor" plows 3-1. Aldean's third No. 1 follows "She's Country," which capped the May 16 chart, and "Why" in May 2006.
An artist new to the chart, meanwhile, isn't exactly a new artist. In 2005, pop veteran Michelle Branch  teamed with Jessica Harp  to form the Wreckers , and the duo burst onto country radio with "Leave the Pieces," which reached the Country Songs summit in September 2006. The pair followed with "My, Oh My" (No. 9) and "Tennessee" (No. 33) in 2007.
Following the release of the Wreckers' album "Stand Still, Look Pretty," Branch and Harp put their partnership on hiatus for solo ventures. In June, Harp reached No. 30 on Country Songs with "Boy Like Me," and this week, Branch posts her first solo entry, as "Sooner or Later" starts at No. 59.
Branch is readying her third solo set , "Everything Comes and Goes." Her first two collections, 2001's "The Spirit Room" and 2003's "Hotel Paper," were geared to pop and adult radio and yielded such Billboard Hot 100 hits as "Everywhere" (No. 12), "All You Wanted" (No. 6) and "Are You Happy Now?" (No. 16).
Also bowing on Country Songs, in the list's anchor spot just below Branch, is Billy Ray Cyrus . "A Good Day" is Cyrus' 29th entry on the tally and extends his chart span to 17 years and five months, dating to the arrival of "Achy Breaky Heart," his lone leader to date, on April 4, 1992 (seven-plus months ahead of the arrival of daughter Miley).
SLOW BURN: She's released two singles since, but Katy Perry  this week makes news on the Adult Contemporary chart with "Hot N Cold."
The song, which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November, ascends to the top 10 on Adult Contemporary in its 34th chart week, marking the second-lengthiest climb to the top 10 in the chart's 48-year history, and the longest by a female artist.
Here is a look at the songs to require the most time before being rewarded with top 10 ranks, with the chart date each title reached the top 10 in parentheses:
49 weeks, "Drops of Jupiter," Train (June 29, 2002)
34 weeks, "Hot N Cold," Katy Perry (Sept. 5, 2009)
32 weeks, "I Will Remember You," Sarah McLachlan (June 12, 1999) (album version first charted in 1995-96 for 26 weeks; re-entered as live version in 1999, reaching the top 10 in six weeks)
31 weeks, "Whatever It Takes," Lifehouse (Nov. 22, 2008)
31 weeks, "Don't Know Why," Norah Jones (March 29, 2003)
COMPLETE BEAT: Check back tomorrow when we run down feats from among all our charts, including the Billboard Hot 100, where a week after the Black Eyed Peas  made history with a 20th consecutive frame at No. 1, their label, Interscope, seeks a milestone mark of its own. A 21st straight week atop the chart would tie the record streak first established by RSO in 1977-78, when songs by Bee Gees, Player, Andy Gibb and Yvonne Elliman reigned consecutively.
- Chart Beat