Ask Billboard: Records About Records
Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.
Get ready for an extremely geeky chart-related e-mail. It addresses a big, unanswered question I've had for years, and I would really love to hear your thoughts.
In yesterday'sposting. Mary Chapin Carpenter notches her eighth top 10, "The Age of Miracles," on Country Albums dating to her first, "Come On Come On." Since the latter set debuted at No. 6 on the chart dated July 18, 1992, the only solo female artists with more top 10s are Reba McEntire (14), LeAnn Rimes, Wynonna and Trisha Yearwood (10 each). Also with eight among women in that span are Faith Hill and Martina McBride).
Could you please tell me how Melissa Etheridge's "Fearless Love" sold in its first week? I am a huge fan of hers, and this CD seems like it could be as good as her "Yes I Am" album. Also, what are Etheridge's career album sales?
Thank you very much for any information you may be able to provide.
Georgetown, South Carolina
Etheridge's "Fearless Love" bows on this week's Billboard 200 at No. 7 with 46,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. She has ranked higher on the chart only with "Your Little Secret" (No. 6) in 1995.
Since SoundScan began tracking sales data in 1991, Etheridge has sold 10,721,000 million albums. Here is a recap of her five best-sellers, a list led by "Yes I Am," which featured her breakout hits "Come to My Window" and "I'm the Only One":
4,348,000, "Yes I Am" (1993)
1,348,000, "Your Little Secret" (1995)
1,145,000, "Melissa Etheridge" (1988)
997,000, "Never Enough" (1992)
632,000, "Brave and Crazy" (1989)
NAMES FROM TUNES, CONTINUED
I thoroughly enjoyed Pablo Nelson's Ask Billboard letter last week about No. 1 artists taking their names from other No. 1 artists' names or song titles. It got me to thinking about stories of other No. 1 artists' name origins, although most of them are unverified.
Rock-and-roll pioneer Buddy Holly and his band the Crickets, who reached No. 1 on the Best Sellers chart in 1957 with "That'll Be the Day," are allegedly connected to two of these.
First, the Beatles supposedly took their name in part as a tribute to the Crickets (another insect-named band).
Another British band, the Hollies, took their name in honour of Buddy Holly, according to former Hollies member Graham Nash in an interview last year. In earlier interviews, however, former band member Eric Haycock suggested that the band was named after the green plant used in Christmas decorations.
(The Hollies never reached No. 1 on a U.S. Billboard chart, but they enjoyed No. 1 hits in several other countries, including my homeland of Canada, where "Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)" reached the top for two weeks in September 1972).
The Hollies boast one more showbiz connection. Canadian actress Carrie-Anne Moss ("The Matrix") was named after the Hollies' hit "Carrie-Anne," which was on the charts at the time of her birth in August 1967.
The Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry, who reached No. 1 on Best Sellers in 1949 with "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," supposedly is connected to the name of another No. 1 artist, the Champs, who earned a Billboard chart-topper in 1958 with "Tequila." The studio-created instrumental band was a product of Autry's label, Challenge Records. When trying to come up with a name for the studio group, "the Champions" was suggested, named for Autry's famous horse. It was then shortened to the Champs.
Interestingly, many famous names were members of the Champs at various times, including Glen Campbell, Jerry Cole, Jim Seals and Dash Crofts.
I always enjoy reading "Ask Billboard," thanks to you and all who write in.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Thanks, and I agree, Pablo's e-mail hit on a fun topic encompassing more than half a century of rock history. While his entry was specifically geared toward acts whose names were derived from song titles, you add a wealth of information about acts' names shaped by other artists themselves.
A few other such acts of note:
Joe Elliott chose the name Def Leppard as a semi-sound-alike ode to Led Zeppelin. The band has topped the Billboard 200 and Hot 100.
Modern rock act the Lightning Seeds are largely a one-man band, helmed by Liverpudlian Ian Broudie, that reached No. 31 on the Hot 100 in 1990 with "Pure." The collective's name stemmed from a misinterpreted lyric in perennial chart-topper Prince's "Raspberry Beret": "Thunder drowns out what the lightning sees."
And, two more acts that happen to be Swedish pop duos.
In terms of groups named after song titles, Roxette, which racked four Hot 100 No. 1s in 1989-91, is named after a 1974 song of the same name by British rock band Dr. Feelgood. (Roxette is working on its first album of all-new material in nine years, by the way).
West End Girls is a female duo named after Pet Shop Boys' 1986 Hot 100 No. 1 debut hit. The pair's 2006 debut album is entitled "Goes Petshopping" and consists entirely of Pet Shop Boys covers, including "West End Girls."