Ask Billboard: How 'Good' Is Michael Jackson?!
The King of Pop - ahead of what's sure to be a highlight of the Billboard Music Awards - is back and adding to his legacy on Billboard charts
As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20
HOW 'GOOD' IS MICHAEL JACKSON?!
Having fun with your takes on what might be this year's song of the summer – and we'll run those in the next "Ask Billboard." In the meantime, a couple quick Q&As about this week's chart action, including that of Michael Jackson, who should make for one of the major highlights (among so many) of tonight's Billboard Music Awards.
So, Michael Jackson could soon add to his top 10 tally on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Love Never Felt So Good," with Justin Timberlake. (It ranks at No. 22 this week.) If he does, he'll pass Stevie Wonder in the category, as they're currently tied with 28 each (as they have been since Jackson's "You Rock My World" hit No. 10 in 2001).
What would be even more amazing is if Michael can reach No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, thus giving Justin his first No. 1 on the tally. Of course, Michael had a "Bad" time at No. 1 way back when (or, in 1987, when Justin was just about six years and nine months young, and most likely dancing to that hit).
And, Timberlake now has a "Good" song on the Hot 100 to accompany his "Bad" song – "Not a Bad Thing" – already in the top 10.
One more note about Jackson: he's in the Hot 100's top 40 thanks to two songs right now: "Good" and MKTO's "Classic," the latter of which rises 28-26. "Classic" brings Jackson, Prince, Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway to the masses via its cute lyrics that name-check those four soul/pop icons.
Beyond the Hot 100, Jackson will vie for No. 1 on this coming week's Billboard 200 with "Xscape." If it reigns, it will become his seventh No. 1 album.
As for Timberlake, "Good" holds at No. 6 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, marking his eighth top 10 (and Jackson's 33rd). So far, he's climbed as high as No. 2 with four songs: "My Love," featuring T.I. (2006); "Dead and Gone," (T.I. featuring Timberlake) (2009); "Suit & Tie," featuring Jay Z, and "Holy Grail" (Jay Z featuring Timberlake) (both 2013).
Jackson, meanwhile, is scoring his first Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs top 10 duet since "Scream," with sister Janet, rose to No. 2 in 1995. Jackson's last top 10 duet before that? 1988's No. 4-peaking "Get It," with the act that he could soon pass for total Hot 100 top 10s: Wonder.
With Thomas Rhett hitting the top of the Country Airplay chart with "Get Me Some of That," he makes a bit of history. He scores his second chart-topper, which bests the chart performance of his father, Rhett Akins, who had one No. 1, "Don't Get Me Started" (Aug. 3, 1996).
Thomas and his dad each have two top 10 country hits to their credit, however, as Akins' first hit the top 10 with "That Ain't My Truck" (No. 3, 1995). Rhett's prior single, "It Goes Like This," spent three weeks at No. 1 last year.
My question is: what other country artists have been able to score more No. 1s than their parents on either the Hot Country Songs or Country Airplay charts?
Burt County, Nebraska
Great observation. As country music runs through certain iconic families' generations, let's look at some in which offspring and their parents have each scaled Billboard's country charts.
By passing his father in total toppers, Rhett is among those who've, in what appears to be a rarity, notched more No. 1s than their parents. Also in the club of sons and daughters who've learned their parents' lessons (perhaps a little too well?): With Lady Antebellum, Hillary Scott has topped Hot Country Songs with eight titles. Her mother, Linda Davis, led once, with Reba McEntire on "Does He Love You" in 1993.
Wynonna Judd is in her own category. She and her mother, Naomi, scored 14 Hot Country Songs No. 1s as the Judds (1984-89). As a soloist, Wynonna added four more (1992-96). So, in all, Wynonna has made 18 trips to No. 1 vs. her mom's 14. (The pair reunited for the No. 33 hit "Flies on the Butter (You Can't Go Home Again)" in 2004.)
(Honorable mention to Tim McGraw, who's earned 73 hits (including 24 No. 1s) on Hot Country Songs. That's almost twice as many hits as his father, Tug McGraw. Tug swatted 39 … in a 19-year Major League Baseball career. If that number seems low, he was, after all, a pitcher.)
More commonly with some of country music's most famous lineages, despite impressive chart histories of their own, some country superstars in their own right haven't matched the No. 1 totals of their parents. Hank Williams Jr. has notched 10 Hot Country Songs No. 1s, in 1970-87. If he could come back with one more, he'd match the sum of his father, the legendary Hank Williams, who collected 11 in 1949-53.
Rosanne Cash has tallied 11 Hot Country Songs No. 1s (1981-89). Her father/the Man in Black, Johnny Cash, totaled 14 (1956-85).
Loretta Lynn amassed 16 Hot Country Songs leaders in 1967-78. Her twin daughters, Patsy and Peggy, charted two songs just outside the chart's top 40 in 1997-98 as the Lynns.
And, more recently, Miley Cyrus managed her biggest Hot Country Songs hit with "Ready, Set, Don't Go" (No. 4, 2008), a duet with her father, Billy Ray; he ruled once, with his debut smash "Achy Breaky Heart" in 1992 (nearly six months before Miley was born).
Meanwhile, Waylon Jennings racked 16 Hot Country Songs No. 1s (1974-87); his son Shooter has charted with one song: 2005's No. 26 hit "4th of July." No jealousy there: in 2008, Shooter brought Waylon's final recordings to life on the album "Waylon Forever," a set of remakes of Waylon classics (and a Shooter original), backed by Shooter and his band, the 357's. "It's all about bringing my musical side of everything I do around (my father)," Shooter told Billboard.
One of Waylon Jennings' signature songs could return to Billboard's country charts next week: "Good Ol' Boys," could chart after Jake Worthington performed it on NBC's "The Voice" (May 12). The song originally crowned Hot Country Songs in 1980, doubling as theme to "The Dukes of Hazzard" (ed. note: aka, the greatest show of all time).
WHAT'S 2014'S SONG OF THE SUMMER?
Ok, one choice for this summer's top hit until the next mailbag:
@gthot20 I think a top 40 song for the summer will be "We Are One (Ole Ola)" by Pitbull. Remember it's the World Cup in June-July!
Edgar Gutierrez @edgarjalos
Thanks Edgar! All I can say about that is 1) A good choice and 2) Don't miss the Billboard Music Awards tonight, where Pitbull is set to be among the night's bevy of star performers.
The prolific Pitbull – and Billboard!, meanwhile, scored a mention in the Onion this week. The breaking news headline: Report: Growing Number of Americans Forced to Make Ends Meet by Collaborating on Song With Pitbull
"In a further sign that the sluggish economic recovery continues to pose a challenge to the nation's workforce, a report published by the U.S. Department of Labor revealed that a growing number of Americans have had to resort to collaborating on songs with rapper Pitbull in order to make ends meet," the investigative piece notes. (Of Pitbull's 36 Hot 100 entries, 29 are collaborations. One, "Wild Wild Love," featuring G.R.L., bullets at its No. 30 peak this week, helping its candidacy in the race for this year's top summer song.)
"Many Americans have little choice but to pick up additional work with the chart-topping recording artist, often by contributing backing vocals, writing lyrics or repeatedly shouting the name 'Pitbull' in studio sound booths as a means of providing for their families."
One source even specifically details the extra hours he's putting in: "Clocking out of my regular job at 5 and then flying off to Las Vegas to serve as Pitbull's hype man at the Billboard Music Awards isn't easy ... but it's just a sacrifice I have to make if I have any chance of paying off my mortgage.
"It's hard. I come home late every night soaked in champagne and I'm just too exhausted to spend time with my kids. But, the fact is that I’m doing this so that someday they won't have to."