Chart Beat

Fred discusses Mariah Carey, Josh Kelly, Lil Wayne and more!

EQUALS OPPORTUNITY: Mariah Carey collects the sixth No. 1 album of her career on The Billboard 200, a total that ties her with Madonna and Janet Jackson for second place among solo female artists with the most chart-topping titles in the history of The Billboard 200. Only Barbra Streisand, with eight, has more.

"E=MC2" (Island) debuts in pole position on the album survey. It follows "Mariah Carey" (1991), "Music Box" (1993), "Daydream" (1995), "Butterfly" (1997) and "The Emancipation of Mimi (2005), giving Carey a span of No. 1 albums that covers 17 years and two months.

This is the second time in Carey's career that she has back-to-back No. 1 albums. "E=MC2" follows the reign of "Mimi," just as "Butterfly" followed "Daydream."

Carey is also enjoying explosive chart activity on The Billboard Hot 100, which says hello to "Bye Bye," a new entry at No. 23. The second single from "E=MC2," "Bye Bye" is the seventh-highest debut of Carey's 37 chart entries. Here is a summary of the top seven, in order of entry position:

No. 1: "Fantasy," Sept. 30, 1995
No. 1: "One Sweet Day," Dec. 2, 1995 [Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men]
No. 1: "Honey," Sept. 13, 1997
No. 2: "Always Be My Baby," April 6, 1996
No. 2: "My All," May 9, 1998
No. 13: "I'll Be There," May 30, 1992
No. 23: "Bye Bye," May 3, 2008

Five songs have entered the Hot 100 in the top 30 slots in 2008. "Bye Bye" is the fourth highest debut of the year. The top five are:

No. 9: "New Soul," Yael Naim (Feb. 16)
No. 18: "What About Now," Daughtry (April 26)
No. 22: "Beat It," Fall Out Boy featuring John Mayer (April 12)
No. 23: "Bye Bye," Mariah Carey (May 3)
No. 27: "Praying for Time," Carrie Underwood (April 26)

BLUE'S CLUES: When he was 14, Josh Kelley formed a band, Inside Blue, with his younger brother Charles. They released a five-song CD. Inside Blue eventually broke up, but both Kelley brothers have gone on to greater fame. Josh scored his first No. 1 album on a Billboard chart in September 2005 and Charles moves to the apex of Top Country Albums this week.

Josh's second CD, "Almost Honest," spent a week at No. 1 on the Top Heatseekers tally. Charles makes his debut on Top Country Albums and The Billboard 200 this week as a member of the trio Lady Antebellum. Its eponymous first CD enters the penthouse on the country album chart and bows at No. 4 on The Billboard 200.

LIL WAYNE'S WORLD: "Lollipop" (Cash Money) by Lil Wayne featuring Static Major advances 2-1 on the Hot 100, making Lil Wayne's 20th chart entry his first No. 1 hit on this chart.

Of those 20 songs to appear on the list, 11 have included Wayne in a featured role. "Lollipop" is the first of the nine songs featuring Lil Wayne in a lead spot to reach the top 10, let alone No. 1. After "Lollipop," Lil Wayne's biggest hits are:

No. 3: "Soldier," Feb. 12, 2005 [Destiny's Child featuring T.I. & Lil Wayne]
No. 9: "You," Feb. 17, 2007 [Lloyd featuring Lil Wayne]
No. 12: "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)," Jan. 5, 2008 [Wyclef Jean featuring Akon, Lil Wayne and Niia]
No. 13: "Make It Rain," Feb. 17, 2007 [Fat Joe featuring Lil Wayne]

Lil Wayne first appeared on the Hot 100 in July 1999 with "Back That Thang Up," a No. 19 hit for Juvenile featuring Mannie Fresh & Lil Wayne. In addition to the 20 chart appearances under his own name, he had one additional chart entry with "I Need a Hot Girl," a No. 65 hit in March 2000 for the group he founded, Hot Boys.

RETURN OF GEORGE AND AL: One made his R&B chart debut in 1967, the other in 1977. Both were born in 1946, just three months apart. And both return to Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs this week, extending their chart spans after being away for a while.

George Duke makes the most dramatic return, with his first chart entry in 13 years. "Whenever You're Around" (Hidden Beach) by Jill Scott featuring George Duke bows at No. 89. It's the first time Duke has been on the chart since "Love Can Be So Cold" peaked at No. 78 in April 1995. Duke now has a chart span of 30 years, five months and three weeks, dating back to the November 1977 debut of "Reach for It."

Al Green has only been away four years, since "I Can't Stop" went to No. 97 in January 2004. Now he sails onto the chart at No. 91 with "Stay With Me (By the Sea)" (Blue Note), credited to Al Green featuring John Legend. Before he hit it big on the Hi label with songs like "Tired of Being Alone" and "Let's Stay Together," Green made his chart debut with "Back Up Train" in December 1967, giving him a chart span of 40 years and five months.

GEORGE II: George Duke isn't the only George making chart news this week. George Strait captures his 43rd No. 1 hit on Hot Country Songs, as "I Saw God Today" (MCA) takes the lead. It's Strait's first No. 1 in just over a year, since "It Just Comes Natural" ruled for two weeks in February-March 2007.

Strait was already in first place for having the most No. 1s on this chart, having surpassed Conway Twitty's 40 chart-topping songs. Strait broke Twitty's record in September 2006 when "Give It Away" became his 41st No. 1.

Strait has racked up his 43 chart-toppers in 25 years and nine months. He first ruled the country survey in August 1982 with "Fool Hearted Memory."