Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.
THE NUMBER 50, PART 1
I love, love, love reading your Q&A column every week. This week, I have a question. I noticed that Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours," Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" and Lady GaGa's "Just Dance" have appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 for so long, and it seems that all three songs will remain on for a while. I'm wondering which titles have had the longest runs on the Hot 100?
Los Angeles, California
Thank you - glad to be of help! Yes, there are a few veteran tracks on the Hot 100 this week, and Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" becomes just the 27th title in the 50-year history of the chart to stay on for 50 weeks or more. Here is a rundown of those titles, all but two of which peaked in the top 10. (Can you name the two songs that didn't reach the top 10? Answer at the end of this column ...)
Weeks On Chart, Title, Artist, Peak Year
69, "How Do I Live," LeAnn Rimes, 1997
65, "Foolish Games/You Were Meant for Me," Jewel, 1997
64, "Before He Cheats," LeAnn Rimes, 2007
62, "You and Me," Lifehouse, 2005
60, "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)," Los Del Rio, 1996
58, "Smooth," Santana featuring Rob Thomas, 1999
58, "How to Save a Life," The Fray, 2006
57, "Higher," Creed, 2000
56, "I Don't Want to Wait," Paula Cole, 1998
56, "The Way You Love Me," Faith Hill, 2001
55, "Missing," Everything But the Girl, 1996
55, "Barely Breathing," Duncan Sheik, 1997
55, "Amazed," Lonestar, 2000
54, "Hanging By a Moment," Lifehouse, 2001
54, "Unwell," Matchbox Twenty, 2003
53, "Too Close," Next, 1998
53, "Breathe," Faith Hill, 2000
53, "Kryptonite," 3 Doors Down, 2000
53, "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)," Train, 2001
53, "I'm Yours," Jason Mraz, 2008
52, "Truly Madly Deeply," Savage Garden, 1998
52, "How's It Going to Be," Third Eye Blind, 1998
51, "Here Without You," 3 Doors Down, 2003
51, "What Hurts the Most," Rascal Flatts, 2006
50, "Someday," Nickelback, 2004
50, "Paralyzer," Finger Eleven, 2008
50, "Viva La Vida," Coldplay, 2008
Mraz's title spends its 53rd week on the Hot 100 - click here  for last week's Chart Beat , which highlighted the song's one-year anniversary on the chart - and since it's still fairly high on the Hot 100 (No. 27) and reigning over the Adult Contemporary chart for a 12th week, it has a chance to challenge Rimes' record.
As you mention, Lady GaGa's "Just Dance" is in its 37th week, ranking at No. 14. That song and Taylor Swift's "Love Story" at No. 16 (32 total weeks) look like they're not going anywhere just yet. "Love Story" currently ranks No. 2 at Adult Contemporary, and both are in the top 10 of Adult Top 40. Swift's song follows the formula of crossing over from country to pop radio, an arc that has produced sustained multi-format airplay for hits listed above by LeAnn Rimes, Carrie Underwood, and Faith Hill.
THE NUMBER 50, PART 2
While reading your Ask Billboard  article last week, which listed the top hits of each year dating to 1929, I was amazed to see that it wasn't until 2003's "In Da Club" by 50 Cent that a rap/hip-hop record was No. 1. Consider that the genre of music has long been all over radio, commercials and movies, as well as some of the top-selling albums of the past 10 to 15 years.
The list also led me to inquire what the top albums were over the years in Billboard history.
Long Island, New York
Astute observation, although note that one rap title earned top year-end Billboard Hot 100 honors prior to 50 Cent: "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio in 1995. Since 2003, one more rap record has worn the year-end crown: Flo Rida's "Low" last year.
Of course, with Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" considered the landmark first mainstream rap hit in 1979-80, the format is younger than pop, rock and more traditional R&B genres, and, thus, hasn't had as many years in which to compete on the charts. Since 2003, however, all but one No. 1 Hot 100 song of the year, Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" in 2006, has logged time on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
As for your question about the top albums of each year, we offer that information, dating to 1956, as a purchasable package from our Billboard Research department. For a copy, please contact Billboard Research Supervisor Gordon Murray at email@example.com.
I can, however, run a hearty sample of the list. Here are the top releases annually since the Billboard 200 converted to Nielsen SoundScan-powered data in 1991:
Year, Title, Artist
1991, "Mariah Carey," Mariah Carey
1992, "Ropin' the Wind," Garth Brooks
1993, "The Bodyguard," Soundtrack
1994, "The Sign," Ace of Base
1995, "Cracked Rear View," Hootie & the Blowfish
1996, "Jagged Little Pill," Alanis Morissette
1997, "Spice," Spice Girls
1998, "Titanic," Soundtrack
1999, "Millenium," Backstreet Boys
2000, "No Strings Attached," 'N Sync
2001, "1," The Beatles
2002, "The Eminem Show," Eminem
2003, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," 50 Cent
2004, "Confessions," Usher
2005, "The Massacre," 50 Cent
2006, "Some Hearts," Carrie Underwood
2007, "Daughtry," Daughtry
2008, "As I Am," Alicia Keys
Similar to the songs list, R&B has dominated our year-end album rankings this decade. Five of the nine Billboard 200 albums of the year in the '00s have appeared on Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums. 50 Cent additionally stands as the only performer in the SoundScan era to boast album of the year accolades twice, having reigned in 2003 and 2005. The only other artists to earn the double distinction are Elton John ("Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" in 1974 and "Elton John's Greatest Hits" in 1975) and Michael Jackson, whose "Thriller" was named the top album of both 1983 and 1984.
'COME BACK' FOR THE FIRST TIME
I'm an avid fan of Japanese-American singer/songwriter Hikaru Utada, billed as Utada in the U.S. As I live in the United Kingdom, I was wondering how she is doing with her new single, "Come Back to Me," and album, "This Is the One," in the U.S. I think it would be great for U.S. music fans to seek out this brilliant artist, and I also believe that she could continue to provide inspiration to other Asian artists who want to cross over to American audiences.
Kirkcaldy, Fife, United Kingdom
26-year-old New York native Utada has enjoyed major success since the late '90s in Japan, where she moved in 1998 and continues to be an award-winning artist.
Earlier this decade, she returned to the U.S. and notched a No. 1 on Hot Dance Club Play in 2004 with her first charting single, "Devil Inside." The song's parent album, "Exodus," spent a week on the Billboard 200 at No. 160 and has sold 55,000 copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Having been absent from the U.S. Billboard charts since 2005, as she spent more time in Japan, Utada released her new set, "This Is the One," digitally in the U.S. in March. The album made an appearance at No. 178 on the Billboard 200 dated April 11. It has sold 5,000 units.
At radio, "Come Back to Me" has found early support at mainstream top 40. The lush ballad has climbed as high as No. 69 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart, where it bubbles under this week with airplay at 26 stations, according to Nielsen BDS.
For more on Utada, visit utada.com. You can gain insight into her choice of Stargate and Tricky for production credit on her new album, her decision to leave Columbia University after one semester, and her love of video games, including her favorite: Tetris ...
(Answer from the first item above: the two songs to have spent 50 or more weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 but not make it to the top 10 are Paula Cole's "I Don't Want to Wait" (No. 11 peak) and Duncan Sheik's "Barely Breathing" (No. 16). Chart cheers to you if you knew!)
- Ask Billboard