Fred Bronson answers e-mail from readers.
HOW MUCH 'HEAVEN'?
I have followed your column and Billboard charts for years and have [watched] three "American Idol" winners debut at No. 1. My question to you is how many singles does someone have to sell in order to knock a song ("We Belong Together") out of the top spot when the airplay of that single is somewhere near 200 million listeners? How are sales calculated over the airplay? I would think that a single that has that many listeners would fare better than a single that sells maybe 100,000-200,000singles.
Thanks for listening, love this column
There's no one sales figure I can give you, as every week the chart positions are relative to each other, not a constant number. Carrie Underwood had a tougher assignment than most, since the airplay figures on "We Belong Together" are record-setting. It was reported that Carrie's "Inside Your Heaven" sold 130,000 commercial singles in the United States. Add in her paid digital download sales and airplay (which is minimal), and her total combined sales and airplay was enough to put her on top.
This week, Carrie's sales declined, driving down her single 3-1 on the Hot 100, while Bo Bice debuted at No. 2 with his take on "Inside Your Heaven" (see "Chart Beat "). Since airplay on "We Belong Together" continues to set new records, Mariah Carey reclaimed the No. 1 position.
WHICH WAY IS 'HEAVEN'?
Would you consider "Inside Your Heaven" a pop or country song? I see that it's getting airplay at country radio and was wondering whether country or pop stations were playing it more? If it were to be considered a "country" song, isn't it the first country song to hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 since "Islands in the Stream" by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton in 1983?
I would also argue that, given the single's B-side, her cover of Martina McBride's "Independence Day," maybe it should be considered a country track.
"Independence Day" is definitely a country song, but I would classify "Inside Your Heaven" as a pop song. The real question is, is Carrie Underwood a pop artist or a country artist? I don't think we know the answer yet. Perhaps she is one of those rare artists who can be both.
If Carrie is a country artist, then she is the first one to hit No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100 since Lonestar. That group's "Amazed" spent two weeks on top in March 2000.
"Inside Your Heaven" did receive enough airplay to debut on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, but remember that Kelly Clarkson's 'A Moment Like This" also entered the country chart. I wouldn't consider Kelly a country artist, or the song a country song. It's more about the power of "American Idol."
Back in 1988, at the age of 18, I purchased Steve Winwood's song "Roll With It." I told my best friend of the purchase. His reply was, "That song is the current No. 1 single in the U.S.A." That was the first No. 1 single in my collection.
Later that year, the same friend introduced me to the 1988 edition of your book, "The Billboard Book of Number One Hits." The book inspired my favorite hobby, collecting all the No. 1 songs from 1955 up to now. I now have all the songs in various formats. Because of the decline of the U.S. domestic commercial CD singles market, I've been forced to purchase the No. 1 hits on import CD singles.
Assuming Bo Bice takes his version of "Inside Your Heaven" to No. 1 on the Hot 100, this will be the first time in four years two domestic CD singles have been at the top back to back. This last occurred in the summer of 2001. Those singles were "U Remind Me" by Usher and "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child.
Over the past few years, it seems like "American Idol" artists are the only ones who have had domestic CD singles released that have gone to No. 1. I'm interested to see if the next U.S domestic CD single to peak at No. 1 will be a non-"American Idol" artist.
Sioux City, Iowa
As you know now, Bo Bice missed his chance to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100. Instead, his version of "Inside Your Heaven" entered the chart in the runner-up spot (see "Chart Beat ").
The CD singles market continues to decline. On the average, about 6.5 million paid downloads are sold each week, compared to 90,000 CD singles. To put it in terms of a No. 1 song, we're getting a little less "physical" week-by-week.
Being a Swedish music fan, specifically of Roxette (as I know you are), I write regarding D.H.T.'s rise into the top 40. While I'm happy to see such a great song reach a whole new generation I find it frustrating that Roxette isn't getting any of the credit. The slower version of the song is very true to the original, [but is] lacking Marie Fredriksson's amazing vocals (then again, I'm biased).
I suppose the same thing happened to Talk Talk when No Doubt had a hit with "It's My Life." What are your thoughts on this? Being abreast of the European music scene I assume you have heard the new remix of "Fading Like a Flower" that is doing well in the United Kingdom. Any opinions on these two Roxette covers that seem to be storming the charts on both sides of the Atlantic? Also any info on whether the "Fading" remix will be released in the United States?
A long-time reader,
As reported in "Chart Beat," D.H.T.'s version of "Listen to Your Heart" is the first remake of a Roxette hit to chart on the Hot 100. The song continues to move up (rising 36-30), and this week it also tops our Hot Dance Radio Airplay tally.
You are probably not the first fan of a band with a hit that's been covered to prefer the original. My personal take on cover versions is that I enjoy them when the remake gives us something new. Unless there's a point to remaking a song, what's the point?
Since Per Gessle of Roxette co-wrote "Listen to Your Heart," I'm guessing he's happy about the D.H.T. version. Songwriters love for other artists to record their songs. It keeps their work alive, and sometimes inspires people to seek out the originals. We wouldn't be talking about Roxette right now if D.H.T. hadn't covered "Listen to Your Heart." And from a financial point of view, it can be very lucrative to have artists record your songs.
I checked the current list of top 40 dance songs in the U.K. and couldn't find a version of "Fading Like a Flower." Are you referring to the Mysterio version from Austria, released in that country in 2004? I don't know of any plans for a U.S. release, but with the success of the D.H.T. single, it wouldn't surprise me if labels started to look for other Roxette cover versions to release.
RALLY OF THE DOLLS
Great column as always!
I was amazed by the Pussycat Dolls' quick rise to the top of the Hot Dance Club Play chart with "Don't Cha." They reached No. 1 in four short weeks. That prompted me to search for the last track to hit the top so quickly.
One has to go back to the week of Nov. 17, 2001, when Madonna also reached the summit in four weeks with her "Impressive Instant." Pretty impressive move for a new act such as the Pussycat Dolls.
No, thank you, for writing a letter that allowed me to come up with "Rally of the Dolls." Opportunities like that don't come along every week (and besides, I already used "What's New, Pussycats?" a few columns back).
A quick rise to the top of Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart is just part of the bright picture for the Pussycat Dolls this week. The group scores its first top 10 hit on the Hot 100, as "Don't Cha" marches 11-8. On the Hot Digital Songs list, the Pussycats leap 13-4.
As you say, pretty impressive for a new act.
SEALS THE DEAL
On the Hot Country Songs chart dated July 2, the band Hot Apple Pie was listed at No. 31 with their song "Hillbillies". Here's a little twist for country music fans. The band may be a newcomer to the Billboard country chart, but the voice on the song is not.
The lead singer is Brady Seals, who rose to fame in the band Little Texas between 1991-1994 and sang lead on their 1994 No. 1 hit "My Love." He last hit the top 40 [portion of the chart] as a solo act in December 1996 and hit No. 32 with "Another You, Another Me" one month later. This would make him one of the very few country artists to sing lead or co-lead with two or more bands.
Thanks. What could be more all-American than Hot Apple Pie for the Fourth of
July? Or at least some chart trivia about Hot Apple Pie.
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