Latin Music Week

Chart Beat Chat

Fred and his readers discuss the "Hottest Hot 100" books, Kylie Minogue, Paul McCartney and more!


Hi Fred,

I wrote to you about a month or two ago asking about the most recent editions of your books. Thanks to your reply, I purchased the latest [edition of] "Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits." I absolutely love it and just had to let you know. It is so intriguing and so well put together.

I've been a fan of yours for years and love Chart Beat and Chart Beat Chat. I've been fortunate enough to be included in Chart Beat Chat three or four times and was thrilled! I have multiple editions of both of your books. Can't wait for the next edition of "The Billboard Book of Number One Hits." But I cannot imagine the time it must take to put those write-ups together on each and every No. 1 song.

I, too, kept up with the charts starting about age 11 and even wrote out my own top 20 until after I graduated college.

You had a column about a year ago asking your readers if there are any Web sites where people had their own personal top song charts. Wish I had kept that. Would love to find some like that.

Love your books, your columns and just like everybody else, wish I had your job!
Thank you.

Jim Sewell
Atlanta, Ga.

Dear Jim,

The books are a lot of work - to be honest, sometimes they seem like endless tasks - but when I hear a reaction like yours, it really does make all of the time and energy worthwhile. Seriously.

The fourth edition of "Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits" took a year and a half to revise and update, mainly because I added almost 100 pages of new material. Added to the time spent on the three previous editions, I have put five years of work into this book. It takes about a year to update each edition of "The Billboard Book of Number One Hits" and we're on the fifth edition, so this book also has five years of work in it, so far.

As for your request about chart websites, I have a request. Please send me another e-mail with your e-mail address as part of your signature, and I'll post that here so readers can write to you personally with links to websites where personal charts are posted.


Fred –

I read with interest the Phil Fogel letter regarding Kylie on the U.S. charts. You made a great point that "X" isn't doing better because her fans would have bought it already as in import. I am one of those fans!

What really piqued my interest in writing re: Phil's letter was that Kylie was signed to Mushroom Records in Australia before she even met [Mike] Stock, [Matt] Aitken and [Pete] Waterman to re-record "The Loco-Motion." She has been on several other international labels besides Parlophone during her career. Once again I have to ask myself, why do I know this?

David Zink
New York, N.Y.

Dear David,

I've never met Pete Waterman, but I did become friendly with Mike Stock and Matt Aitken and visited their studio in South London several times. I even took a good friend of mine once who was a very big Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan fan, and when he saw all of their gold and platinum records on the office walls, he became very emotional.

Before Stock, Aitken and Waterman produced the hit version of Kylie Minogue's "The Loco-Motion" that we're so familiar with, she had recorded a non-Stock, Aitken and Waterman version for Mushroom Records in Australia. That rendition was a No. 1 single and led to Minogue signing with the Stock-Aitken-Waterman team.

The only question I can't answer is your last one.


Hi Fred:

I enjoy reading both Chart Beat and Chart Beat Chat each week.

I was curious if "Pipes of Peace," the title track of Paul McCartney's 1983 album, was ever sold as a single in the United States. I ask this because I recently learned that the song went to No. 1 in the United Kingdom, and I remember the video made for the song was in heavy rotation on MTV.

It's hard to imagine a Paul McCartney song, particularly one as radio-friendly as that, not cracking the Hot 100 at the time.


Adam Runyon
Dayton, Ohio

Dear Adam,

Two of my favorite Paul McCartney albums are "Tug of War" and the follow-up, "Pipes of Peace." You're right about the title song of the latter being a No. 1 hit in the United Kingdom. It was McCartney's third No. 1 single away from the Beatles, following "Mull of Kintyre" / "Girls' School" and "Ebony and Ivory."

To clear up any mystery about the fate of "Pipes of Peace" in the United States, the song was released on an American single - but as the B-side of "So Bad," which peaked at No. 23 in 1984. I think "Pipes of Peace" would have been a better choice and would have done better on the chart, but we'll never know for sure.



I'm delighted to see that Leona Lewis has returned to the top of Hot 100 with "Bleeding Love." Because I enjoy the song? Well, yes but that's not why. Because I want to point out that for the first time in over 20 years a Brit tops the American charts with a song written by a McCartney? Also technically true, but no. Because it keeps Mariah and Elvis tied for artists with most weeks at No. 1? Nope, that's not it either.

Because Leona is the only Hot 100 No. 1 solo artist whose first name is a rearrangement of the letters in a different Hot 100 No. 1 complete song title ("Alone")? Yup, that's why.

Patrick Kelly
Brampton, Ont., Canada

Dear Patrick,

I'm speechless!


Dear Fred,

Regarding the news item about Leona Lewis being the first British soloist to reach pole position since Sade did so in 1986 with "Promise," can we please clarify once and for all whether or not Sade is considered a female soloist or a group? As far as I can recall, Sade have always been Grammy-nominated for their singles in the category of "duo or group." Can you please shed some light on this long-confusing situation?

Ivan Diller
Bronx, N.Y.

Dear Ivan,

I didn't write the item you refer to, and you might have noticed when I wrote about Leona Lewis in Chart Beat, I did not refer to Sade. That's because while she was raised in London, she was born in Nigeria, so she is not British-born.

As to whether Sade is a group or an individual, the answer is both. At first, the group that featured the vocalist known as Sade was collectively known as Sade, and in 1993 their song “No Ordinary Love” won the Grammy for Best R&B by a Duo or Group (with vocal). But by 2002, the individual known as Sade was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.