Chart Beat Thursday: Bret Michaels Rocks On

Bret Michaels American Idol

ROSY: Veteran rocker/"Celebrity Apprentice 3" champion Bret Michaels inks his highest rank on the Billboard 200 in almost 20 years, as "Custom Built" arrives at No. 14. His prior charted solo effort, "Rock My World," debuted and peaked at No. 40 in June 2008.

As lead singer of Poison, Michaels collected higher peaks with three of the band's 15 chart entries: "Look What the Cat Dragged In" (No. 3, 1987), "Open Up and Say...Ahh!" (No. 2, 1988) and "Flesh and Blood" (No. 2, 1990).

"Custom Built" concurrently bows atop the Hard Rock Albums and Independent Albums charts, marking Michaels' second and third commands of Billboard surveys. With Poison, he topped the Hot 100 for three weeks in 1988-89 with "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." Not only is that song reinvented with a country bent on "Custom Built," but it also appears on the album three notches above Michaels' on the Billboard 200; Miley Cyrus updates the ballad on her "Can't Be Tamed" at No. 11.

Michaels and Cyrus also team up on "Nothing to Lose" on the former artist's new set. The duet enters Rock Digital Songs at No. 32.

LEADING MEN: Michaels isn't the only singer born of an established act enjoying solo success this week.

Big Boi claims the Billboard 200's Hot Shot Debut at No. 3 with his first solo album, "Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty." With OutKast, the rapper has notched one No. 1 - "Speakerboxx/The Love Below" - and four No. 2-peaking sets.

(With Eminem, Drake and Big Boi at Nos. 1-2-3, rap albums occupy the Billboard 200's top three spots for the first time since Nov. 29, 2003. That week, Jay-Z's "The Black Album," the "Tupac: Resurrection" soundtrack and G Unit's "Beg for Mercy" claimed the three highest positions, respectively).

Brandon Boyd enters the Billboard 200 at No. 33 with his solo debut, "The Wild Trapeze." As frontman of Incubus, Boyd has reached the top five four times. The group's "Light Grenades" led the list in 2006.

15 years ago this week, Ed Kowalczyk placed in the Billboard 200's top 10 (No. 6) with his former band Live's "Throwing Copper." The set, one of the act's three top 10s and two No. 1s, spent a week in charge in May 1995. This week, Kowalczyk debuts on the Billboard 200 at No. 166 with "Alive." His first solo collection also begins on Christian Albums at No. 6.

On Dance/Electronic Albums, another cornerstone rock artist appears in a solo venture. How to Destroy Angels, featuring Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor - and his wife, Maureen Mandig, on vocals - enters at No. 8 with its self-titled EP. (Longtime Nine Inch Nails collaborator Atticus Ross rounds out the trio). Nine Inch Nails have hammered out five top 10s, including two No. 1s, on the Billboard 200 between 1992 and 2007.

A LOT TO 'LIKE': Enrique Iglesias ascends to his fourth top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, as "I Like It," featuring Pitbull, storms 18-8 as the chart's Digital Gainer. The song's parent album, "Euphoria," debuts as his second Billboard 200 top 10 (No. 10), following 2001's "Escape" (No. 2), and seventh leader on Latin Albums.

Iglesias previously reached the top 10 with the No. 1s "Bailamos" (two weeks, 1999) and "Be With You" (three weeks, 2000) and No. 3-peaking "Hero" (2001).

"I Like It" marks Pitbull's third top 10 visit, following "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" (No. 2) and "Hotel Room Service" (No. 9) last year.

With "I Like It" incorporating Lionel Richie's "All Night Long (All Night)," a four-week Hot 100 No. 1 in 1983, the iconic artist earns his second appearance as a songwriter in the Hot 100's top 10 this year. Artists for Haiti's update of "We Are the World," which Richie co-wrote with Michael Jackson, peaked at No. 2 in February.

Richie had not reached the top 10 as a writer at least twice in the same year since 1985. 25 years ago, USA for Africa's original version of "We Are the World" spent four weeks at No. 1, Diana Ross' "Missing You" rose to No. 10 and his own "Say You, Say Me" began a four-week reign.

Richie has made one additional visit to the Hot 100's top 40 this year as a writer. The "Glee" cast peaked at No. 35 with its cover of "Hello," featuring Jonathan Groff, in May. Richie's recording of "Hello" topped the Hot 100 for two weeks in 1984.

STILL 'CRAZY' AFTER ALMOST A YEAR: Although Lee Brice's "Love Like Crazy" dips 10-11, with a bullet, on Country Songs, the track spends a 47th week on the survey. The song passes five other charted titles that totaled 46 weeks each on the list and trails just four songs that have logged longer chart lives.

Here is an updated look at the songs to remain on Country Songs the longest in the chart's 66-year history:

Weeks on Chart, Title, Artist, Peak Year
54, "Bouquet of Roses," Eddy Arnold, 1948
52, "Fraulein," Bobby Helms, 1957
48, "Right Where I Need to Be," Gary Allan, 2001
47, "Love Like Crazy," Lee Brice, 2010
46, "I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)," Eddy Arnold, 1947
46, "Cold, Cold Heart," Hank Williams, 1951
46, "My Next Thirty Years," Tim McGraw, 2000
46, "Baby Girl," Sugarland, 2005
46, "Before He Cheats," Carrie Underwood, 2006

(View yesterday's posting of Chart Beat for details on Luke Bryan's Country Songs coronation with "Rain Is a Good Thing." Coincidentally, the track dislodges Brad Paisley's "Water" from the chart's summit after two weeks afloat at No. 1).

RAPPERS' DELIGHT: "MC Hammer" appears on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with a debut at No. 100. Not the artist; the entry is a song title by Rick Ross.

The rapper MC Hammer placed 18 entries on the chart between 1988 and 1996, including his signature hit and sole No. 1, "U Can't Touch This," in 1990. The new song marks Ross' 33rd visit to R&B/Hip-Hop Songs dating to his first in 2002.

How does the real-life title character of the chart's anchor song feel about the tribute, in which Ross raps, "I'm MC Hammer ... I got 30 cars, a whole lot of dancers / I take 'em everywhere, I'm MC Hammer"?

"Arguably, right now, (Ross is) the hottest dude in the game. He's spitting fire," says MC Hammer. "For a cat on that level, with his skill set, to have a record called 'MC Hammer,' because it pays a lot of respect and homage to what I laid down, you can't help but be honored by that.

"I done got every award that a man can get in the music business, every one. I got 'em all. Diamond awards, Grammys, American Music Awards, People's Choice Awards, you name it. Everything that you can do and every accolade you can receive. But that record that Ross did is on the level of all that. That's how it feels to me."