Ask Billboard: Kelly Clarkson, UB40, LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

Always a pleasure to read your column, one of the things I look forward to every Friday on

In regards to your question last week about Cuban-born acts cracking the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, besides Perez Prado, the wonderful Gloria Estefan and now Pitbull, the other Cuban-born singer that I recall having not one, but two, top 10 singles is Jon Secada, with "Just Another Day" and "If You Go."

Two more acts not born in Cuba, but whose parents came from that beautiful island are Christina Milian, whose "Dip It Low" reached No. 4 in 2004, and one of my favourite singers from the '80s, Martika. She hit No. 1 twenty years ago this summer with "Toy Soldiers" and in 1991 made it to No. 10 with "Love...Thy Will Be Done."

All the best,

Jaime Puentes
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Hi Gary,

I have been a longtime fan of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, thanks to Casey Kasem's "American Top 40." Reading your columns has become part of my weekly routine since I arrived in the United States.

Following the Ask Billboard question posted last week, I have an artist to add to the list of Cuban-born artists rising to the Hot 100's top 10. As the lead singer of Miami-based Foxy, Angel Ledesma reached No. 9 in 1978 with "Get Off" (though that group did not entirely comprise Cuban members).

Thanks for the useful information posted weekly in Chart Beat and Ask Billboard.


Joel Mesa
Miami, Florida

Thanks Jaime, Joel and everyone who sent in e-mails on the topic of Cuban-born artists ascending to the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, after Pitbull soared 11-4 on last week's chart. His "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" remains in the top five this week, at No. 5.

Thanks also to Luis Manuel Acosta of Lloret de Mar, Spain, Bill G. Anderson of Longview, Texas and Dirk Heinrich of Eckernförde, Germany, the lattermost of whom inquired about the Havana-born Secada's sales history. Let's take a look, then, at the singer/songwriter's five best-selling albums in the U.S. to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan:

2,699,000, Jon Secada, 1992
892,000, Heart, Soul & a Voice, 1994
271,000, Secada, 1997
137,000, Otro Dia Mas Sin Verte, 1992
111,000, Greatest Hits, 1999

Overall, Secada has sold 4,379,000 albums in the U.S. On the Hot 100, in addition to his two top 10s as an artist, Secada has scored two other top five hits as a writer. He co-wrote Gloria Estefan's 1991 No. 1 "Coming Out of the Dark" (with Estefan, who originally hired him as a background singer, and her husband Emilio) and Ricky Martin's 1999 No. 2 ballad "She's All I Ever Had." Secada released his own version of both songs on his most recent studio album, 2005's "Same Dream."

Secada, a celebrity judge on the third season of "Latin American Idol" last year, owns five No. 1s on Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart and is close to returning to the Adult Contemporary tally. He's currently bubbling under as a guest on Bernie Williams' remake of "Just Another Day." Williams plays guitar and Secada provides vocals on a jazz-inflected update of the latter artist's signature song.


Dear Gary,

The conclusion of another season of "American Idol" sparked a question. Who is the most successful "Idol" graduate to date, in terms of album sales and Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s.


Noah Richard
Columbia, Kentucky

Hi Noah,

What a finale it was for "American Idol," wasn't it? I thought Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" and Allison Iraheta and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" were perhaps the highlights of a night filled with amazing performances. The contestants also seemed to be having the most fun they'd had all season, removed from the pressure of competition.

As history shows, several "Idol" alumni have ascended to great success. In the spirit of the show, here are your top four "Idol" best-sellers, according to album sales to date, as tracked my Nielsen SoundScan:

10,189,000, Kelly Clarkson
9,648,000, Carrie Underwood
4,903,000, Clay Aiken
4,463,000, Daughtry (led by Chris Daughtry)

On the Hot 100, Kelly Clarkson again leads the way among "Idol" contestants, having enjoyed two No. 1s ("A Moment Like This" and "My Life Would Suck Without You"). Clay Aiken, Fantasia, Taylor Hicks and Carrie Underwood have notched one No. 1 apiece.


Hola, Gary!

With "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas atop the Billboard Hot 100 for an eighth week, I'm wondering, how many songs have topped the chart with two or more words back-to-back in their titles?


Julio Pabon
Bogota, Colombia

Hi Julio,

Let's let's run run down down the the list list:

1964, "Do Wah Diddy Diddy," Manfred Mann
1965, "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)," the Byrds
1966, "Monday, Monday," the Mamas & the Papas
1969, "Sugar, Sugar," the Archies
1969, "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," Steam
1973, "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown," Jim Croce
1976, "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty," KC and the Sunshine Band
1977, "Da Doo Ron Ron," Shaun Cassidy
1978, "Boogie Oogie Oogie," A Taste of Honey
1983, "Say Say Say," Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
1987, "Mony Mony," Billy Idol
1988, "Red Red Wine," UB40
1988, "Wild, Wild West," the Escape Club
1990, "Ice Ice Baby," Vanilla Ice
1991, "Baby Baby," Amy Grant
1991, "Rush Rush," Paula Abdul
1995, "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)," Whitney Houston
1999, "Bills, Bills, Bills," Destiny's Child
1999, "Wild Wild West," Will Smith featuring Dru Hill & Kool Mo Dee
2000, "Maria Maria," Santana featuring the Product G&B
2003, "Bump, Bump, Bump," B2K & P. Diddy
2007, "Kiss Kiss," Chris Brown
2009, "Boom Boom Pow," the Black Eyed Peas

That makes 23 such doubled-up No. 1 titles in the Hot 100's history. I did not include Wham!'s 1984 leader "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," as "go-go" seems best counted as one hyphenated word. Honorable mentions go to Bobby Vinton's lyrically-appropriate 1964 No. 1 "There I've Said It Again" and Bachman-Turner Overdrive's stutter-happy 1974 topper, "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet."


Hey Gary,

I am in charge of music at 106.9 The X in London, Ontario. My job is to watch the charts and schedule music. I have a question. Eminem's song "Beautiful" debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 last week, but this week it is not even charted at all. I am confused as to how a song can go from No. 17 to not charting. An explanation would really help clear things up for me.


Spencer Yewchyn
106.9 The X CIXX-FM

Hi Spencer,

Eminem's record label, Interscope, has followed a pattern seen in the last year by the likes of Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts, where a new preview track is made available each week ahead of an album's release. With anticipation high for such superstar sets, staggered digital releases serve as weekly reminders that an album's release date is imminent.

It makes sense that every time a new song is released, demand for the previously-offered cut lessens. Three weeks ago, like "Beautiful," Eminem's "3AM" also spent just one week on the Hot 100, at No. 32. The following week, "Old Time's Sake" effectively took its place, debuting at No. 25. That song fell to No. 93 as "Beautiful" bowed at No. 17.

In the case of "Beautiful" this week, the release of Eminem's new album "Relapse" is the main reason the song drops off the Hot 100. Of the 609,000 copies shifted for "Relapse," 119,000 were digital (as opposed to physical copies), according to Nielsen SoundScan. With fans able to buy the entire album, they were less likely to purchase individual tracks. Current radio focus song "We Made You," for instance, dips from No. 18 to No. 42 on Hot Digital Songs with a 41% decline in sales.

After launching at No. 6 on Hot Digital Songs last week, "Beautiful" plummets to below the anchor spot (No. 75) on this week's chart. Its 88% decline in download sales is enough to send it from No. 17 on the Hot 100 to not ranking this week.


Hello Gary,

As noted in this Wednesday's edition of Chart Beat, it is not that often that a No. 1 hit on Hot Country Songs crosses to the top of the Adult Contemporary chart, as Taylor Swift's "Love Story" does this week. I'll add that, at 19 years of age, Swift is the youngest female artist to top Adult Contemporary since LeAnn Rimes reigned in 1997 at age 15 with "How Do I Live."


Jason Martin
Oakland, Nebraska

Hi Jason,

The coronation of "Love Story" this week is yet another impressive accomplishment on our charts for Swift. And to think that just three years ago she visited Billboard's New York office for a promotional performance in our kitchen. She was thrilled that, at the time, her debut single "Tim McGraw" was close to reaching the top 40 on Hot Country Songs ...

Swift's distinction as youngest female artist atop Adult Contemporary since Rimes could soon belong to another teen star with both pop and country appeal. Miley Cyrus pushes 8-7 this week with "The Climb." The song has claimed the chart's Greatest Gainer award the last three weeks and looks to be a solid contender for future No. 1 status.


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