Chart Beat Wednesday: Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Norah Jones
'THIS' LOVE: " This Is It," by Michael Jackson featuring the Jacksons, soars onto the Adult Contemporary airplay chart at No. 19. The song blasts in following its initial week at radio.
"This Is It" returns the Jackson brothers to the chart for the first time since 1970, when, billed as the Jackson 5, the group notched its sole previous entry, the No. 24-peaking "I'll Be There."
The late King of Pop ends a 13-year, seven-month and two-week absence from the chart. His last prior entry, the No. 7-peaking "You Are Not Alone," wrapped a 26-week run on the list dated March 16, 1996.
Jackson first appeared on the chart dated Nov. 20, 1971 (at age 13). "This Is It" is his 26th charted Adult Contemporary title, 12 of which have reached the top 10. Two rose to No. 1: 1982's "The Girl Is Mine," with Paul McCartney, and 1987's "I Just Can't Stop Loving You."
Jackson becomes the seventh male artist to score a top 20 Adult Contemporary hit in each decade since the '70s, joining McCartney, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Kenny Loggins, Rod Stewart and James Taylor.
Among all artists, the seven male singers are joined in achieving the feat by four women (Cher, Natalie Cole, Bette Midler and Carly Simon), three groups (Chicago, the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac) and one duo (Daryl Hall & John Oates).
Just as they're linked through their 1978 smash duet "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand each have a chance at uncharted chart territory. Having each reached the top 20 in every decade from the '60s through the '90s - but not, as yet, in the '00s - Diamond and Streisand could become the only artists to earn top 20 Adult Contemporary entries in each decade dating to the list's 1961 launch. They have eight chart weeks to do so before the end of the year.
Though they've each just released new albums separately, perhaps Columbia Records could pair the legends once again. Considering that a majority of adult contemporary stations will soon flip to all-holiday music, the right seasonal duet could simultaneously give the superstars the gift of chart history.
SHE'S COUNTRY: Michael Jackson's entrance on Adult Contemporary isn't the chart's only highlight. Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" rises 2-1 to unseat Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" after 15 weeks at the summit.
With the coronation, Swift becomes the first artist to propel two former No. 1s on Country Songs to the top of Adult Contemporary since the latter chart converted to Nielsen BDS monitored data in 1993.
Here are the six songs to lead both lists in that span:
Shania Twain, "You're Still the One" (1998)
Faith Hill, "Breathe" (2000)
Lee Ann Womack, "I Hope You Dance" (2001)
Rascal Flatts, "What Hurts the Most" (2006-07)
Taylor Swift, "Love Story" (2008-09)
Taylor Swift, "You Belong With Me" (2009)
JONESING: Having not appeared on a Billboard airplay chart since 2007, Norah Jones returns to two tallies this week, as "Chasing Pirates" climbs aboard Jazz Songs at No. 25 and Triple A (viewable at billboard.biz) at No. 13.
On the latter chart, the song's entrance is the highest by a female artist since Alanis Morissette also began at No. 13 with "Everything" in April 2004. The last title by a woman to start at a higher spot? Jones' own "Sunrise," which opened at No. 7 in January 2004.
Jones releases her fourth album, "The Fall," reported to be more guitar-centric than her previous offerings, Nov. 17.
COMPLETE BEAT: From "Twilight" to "True Blood" to "The Vampire Diaries" to "New Moon," the undead have been not-living large.
This week, the soundtrack to "New Moon" establishes a Billboard 200 record. As the set bows at No. 2, the album and its predecessor mark the first soundtracks from a theatrical release and its sequel to each reach the chart's top two positions. The "Twilight" soundtrack reigned in November 2008.
Check back for more achievements from among all Billboard charts in tomorrow's edition of Chart Beat.