Fred discusses Capitol Records' Coldplay and Katy Perry, Al Green, Bobby Womack and more!CAPITOL IDEA: Soaring singles from Coldplay and Katy Perry give the Capitol label two titles in the top five of the Hot 100 for the first time since the week of Sept. 15, 1990. On the current chart, Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" leaps 10-3 while Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" rockets 21-5. Eighteen years ago, the two Capitol singles in the top five were M.C. Hammer's remake of the Chi-Lites' "Have You Seen Her" at No. 4 and Poison's "Unskinny Bop" at No. 5.
The No. 3 ranking of "Viva La Vida" gives Coldplay its highest-charting song to date on the Hot 100, surpassing the No. 8 peak of "Speed of Sound" in May 2005. Chart Beat reader Kenton Beerman of Brooklyn, N.Y., points out that Coldplay is the first British male group to score a second top 10 hit on the Hot 100 since Jesus Jones and the Escape Club back in 1991. Jesus Jones' two top 10 hits were "Right Here Right Now" and "Real Real Real." The Escape Club's pair of top 10 hits were "Wild Wild West" and "I'll Be There." Beerman notes that several British male groups have notched a first top 10 hit on the Hot 100 since 1991, including Oasis, Take That, and Chumbawamba, but none had managed a second until Coldplay.
The rapid rises of the Coldplay and Perry songs make both singles candidates for pole position. Whichever one gets to No. 1 first would be the first chart-topper on Capitol since Mims' "This Is Why I'm Hot" occupied the penthouse in March 2007. Before Mims captured the top spot, a Capitol single had not spent time at No. 1 since November 1992, when the Heights reigned with "How Do You Talk to an Angel." Mims gave Capitol its 51st No. 1 of the rock era, so Nos. 52 and 53 may occur in the next few weeks.
Whichever song is the next to go all the way, it will be the 999th No. 1 of the rock era, so it's possible that Capitol could claim the 999th and the 1000th No. 1s if Coldplay and Perry are the next two artists to rule the chart.
If "Viva La Vida" does reach No. 1, Coldplay will become the fourth British group on Capitol to top the Hot 100, after the Beatles, Wings and Duran Duran. If "I Kissed a Girl" turns out to be a chart-topper, Katy Perry would be the fifth solo female artist to have a No. 1 hit on Capitol, following Bobbie Gentry, Helen Reddy, Linda Ronstadt and Anne Murray.
GREEN INITIATIVE: It's not easy being Green, unless you're Al Green. The veteran R&B star returns to The Billboard 200 in spectacular fashion, debuting at No. 9 with "Lay It Down" (Blue Note). Arriving almost 37 years after his first appearance on this chart, "Lay It Down" is the third highest-charting album of Green's career. Only "Let's Stay Together" (No. 8) and "I'm Still in Love With You" (No. 4), both from 1972, have peaked in loftier positions.
On Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, "Lay It Down" bows at No. 3. That is Green's highest position since "Al Green Is Love" went to No. 1 in 1975.
WOMACK'S BACK: Al Green isn't the only legendary artist making a return to Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums this week. After an almost 14-year hiatus, Bobby Womack is back with "The Best of Bobby Womack: The Soul Years" (Capitol), a new entry at No. 99.
Cleveland-born Womack was last on the chart in 1994 with "Resurrection," which peaked at No. 91. Womack has now charted in five different decades, starting with the 1969 release "Fly Me to the Moon," which reached No. 34. His most successful chart album was "The Poet," No. 1 for five weeks in 1982.
'MONEY' PAYS OFF: Lil Wayne and T-Pain have the fourth highest debut of 2008 on the Hot 100 with "Got Money" (Cash Money) at No. 13. Only David Cook, Yael Naim and Chris Brown have had higher new entries this calendar year. Cook debuted last week at No. 3 with "The Time of My Life." Naim and Brown had No. 9 debuts with "New Soul" and "Forever," respectively.
QUARTER-CENTURY OF CYNDI: This Christmas will mark the 25th anniversary of Cyndi Lauper's first appearance on The Billboard 200. Her ninth album to chart on this tally arrives this week at No. 41. "Bring Ya to the Brink" (Epic) is the fifth highest-charting set of Lauper's career. The top four are:
"She's So Unusual," No. 4 (1984)
"True Colors," No. 4 (1986)
"A Night to Remember," No. 37 (1989)
"At Last," No. 38 (2003)
AN 'AFFAIR' TO REMEMBER: Alicia Keys scores the 11th top 10 hit of her seven-year chart career with "Teenage Love Affair" (MBK/J). The single climbs 15-8 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
"Affair" is Keys' 15th charted title since she made her debut with "Fallin'" the week of May 5, 2001. "Affair" follows two No. 1 hits, "No One" and "Like You'll Never See Me Again." If "Affair" checks into the penthouse, it will be the first time Keys has had three chart-toppers in a row.