Ask Billboard

Keith answers readers' burning questions on NKOTB, sales at the Post Office and wordy songs.

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at



With all of the attention New Kids on the Block are getting with their reunion, I have been hearing how their 1994 album "Face the Music" bombed. Just how bad of a bomb was it? How many copies did it sell?

I remember packed houses on their 1994 Detroit tour stops. How successful was that tour and how are ticket sales going for their 2008 reunion tour?

Thank you,

James Russell

Hello James,

"Face the Music," no matter how you look at it, must have been a disappointing album, at least in terms of sales in the U.S., for the act. It has only sold 138,000 in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. I'd suspect most casual fans were probably unaware that the album existed.

When the New Kids mounted a tour in 1994, it was a short one that only visited theaters and large clubs. Of the 11 shows reported to Billboard's Box Score chart, six of them sold out. (Though you remember the Detroit show as "packed," it actually did not sell out.)

Their 2008 tour, which begins in September, seems to be selling well so far. For each of the six currently on-sale shows, I attempted to purchase one ticket with the "best available" seating option. I was unable to find a single seat on the floor at any of the shows, and, at the Oct. 4 Rosemont, Ill. date, no tickets seemed to be available at all.



The U.S. Post Office is selling the new Frank Sinatra compilation "Nothing but the Best" as well as stamps with his picture on it. Do the albums they sell count towards his chart position or are they not on SoundScan's system? How many CDs did the U.S. Post Office sell?

Tim Meyers

Hello Tim,

Unfortunately, due to logistical issues, sales of "Nothing but the Best" at U.S. Post Offices are not reflected its Nielsen SoundScan total, and thus, the album's Billboard chart positions are not affected by the Post Office's sales.

Rhino Records, which released the album, has not disclosed how many copies the album sold at Post Office locations.


Dear Keith,

Can you tell me which hit song has the most words in it?

I first thought it might be a "stream of consciousness" song such as We Didn't Start The Fire," "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" or "Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)." I then thought of long records such as "Like A Rolling Stone" or Oasis' U.K. No.1 "All Around The World."

The most words I can find in a hit song are 868 in "American Pie" by Don McLean, although that presumably would cover both sides of the single (and parts one and two of the song). I found the lyrics on a Web site and did a word count. Can this be beaten?


Howard Summers
Borehamwood, England

Hello Howard,

This is one of those seemingly impossible questions to answer, I fear.

How about this, if any of Ask Billboard's readers has a suggestion for a hit single (on the Billboard chart of your choice) that would be a contender, let us know and we'll post them in a later edition of the column.