Chart Beat Chat

Fred and his readers discuss Sheena Easton, Kristine W, Juanes and more!


Hi Fred,

I love your Chart Beat column. This week you stated that Sheena Easton was the second solo female U.K. act to hit No. 1 with a debut single ("Morning Train"). But I did some research and Sheena actually made her debut on The Billboard Hot 100 with a single titled "Modern Girl," which peaked at No. 18 in 1980. The song also peaked at No. 13 on the Adult Contemporary chart and No. 8 in the United Kingdom. I hope you clear this up. Thanks.

Demetrius McNamara

Dear Demetrius,

Which Sheena Easton single came first, "Morning Train (Nine to Five)" or "Modern Girl," depends on where you live.
It's not as complicated as figuring out what year it is on the island in "Lost" (1996? 2004? 2008?), but it's close. In the U.K., "Modern Girl" was the Glaswegian singer's first single. It entered the U.K. singles chart on April 5, 1980, and peaked at No. 56. The follow-up, "9 to 5," fared much better. That single debuted on July 19, 1980, and peaked at No. 3, becoming the biggest hit of Easton's career. In the early days of the chart life of "9 to 5," first single "Modern Girl" re-entered the chart and became a hit the second time around, peaking at No. 8.

The EMI America label released Easton's records in the United States, where the retitled "Morning Train (Nine to Five)," altered to avoid confusion with Dolly Parton's "9 to 5," was the first to chart. That single bowed on the Hot 100 dated Feb. 14, 1981, ultimately spending two weeks at No. 1. The American follow-up was "Modern Girl," which was a new entry on the Hot 100 for the week ending May 9, 1981. "Modern Girl" did peak at No. 18 as you mention, but in 1981, not 1980.

I can't solve "Lost," but I hope I've explained the Sheena situation and that you continue to enjoy "Chart Beat."


Hello again, Fred!

I always enjoy your column and your insights on the industry. As I looked through this week's charts, I came across something on Hot Country Songs that seemed unusual enough to write to you about.

At No. 24 this week is "Takin' Off This Pain" by Ashton Shepherd (I had the chance to see her first - though surely not last - Grand Ole Opry performance in September 2007. She absolutely blew everyone away. If country radio programmers are still using their brains, they will play something by this very talented young lady. But I digress).

"Pain" was No. 24 last week, too. Its peak position is No. 24. It's been on the chart for 24 weeks. Now I know this has happened before, in different chart positions. I can remember Bruce Springsteen's remake of Edwin Starr's "War" doing this at No. 8 and Charlie Sexton's "Beat's So Lonely" doing the same at No. 17. The easiest way [to accomplish this] is to achieve a high position quickly and stay there. But for a song to have this symmetry at No. 24? I think it has to be the lowest [position where this has occurred]. I also realize that to search the entire chart history for another, lower-ranked instance is beyond the scope of Chart Beat Chat. Just thought it was interesting. I am of course hoping that Ashton's song peaks higher than No. 24 but for a first time out, it's a great start.

Growing up I compiled my own charts and loved every minute. Always thought you have the greatest job in the world.

Darryl Roberts
Sikeston, Mo.

Dear Darryl,

Thanks, it's not a bad job at all. The good news is that I enjoy it as much today as when I started writing Chart Beat over 15 years ago.

Before I get to Ashton Shepherd, I hope you are coping with the severe weather in your part of the country. I know that many areas of Missouri have been flooded this week after heavy rains.

But that's not what you wrote about. You have uncovered a rare "Bingo!" with the No. 24 lined up straight across the board. "Takin' Off This Pain" is No. 24 this week, No. 24 last week and No. 24 two weeks ago. The song has been on the chart for 24 weeks and No. 24 is its peak position. That's a rare alignment and is one for the record books.


If the Hot 100 is a chart for current songs, how did [Chubby Checker's] "The Twist" chart twice? By the time it was re-released in late 1961, it had already been off the chart for at least a year. Same with [Queen's] "Bohemian Rhapsody" in 1992. It had already been a hit in 1976, so how could it have charted again?

Thank you,

Andy Ray
Indianapolis, Indiana

Dear Andy,

We should explain to readers who missed the original item that your e-mail was inspired by comments in this column concerning Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah." That 1994 recording debuted at No. 1 on Hot Digital Songs last week after Jason Castro performed a version of the song on "American Idol." But since "Hallelujah" is not a current song, Buckley's 14-year-old recording was not eligible for the Hot 100.

It is possible for older songs to have second runs on the chart if they become current hits again. This has happened with songs heard in films, such as Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (included in the "Wayne's World" soundtrack) and Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" (heard in the Rob Reiner-directed film of the same name). Songs that are being actively promoted to radio by record labels can be considered current hits. If Columbia had decided to work Buckley's "Hallelujah" as a new single, it would have been defined as a current release despite its age.

That's what happened four decades ago with Chubby Checker's "The Twist." It was a No. 1 hit in 1960 and became current all over again at the end of 1961 when "The Twist" gained popularity with adults, who started buying the single.


Hi Fred,

I look forward to your column each week! With Kristine W climbing to the top of the Hot Dance Club Play chart with her rendition of "The Boss," I believe this is the first song to top that chart by three different artists.

Prior to Kristine, Diana Ross took the original to No. 1 in 1979 and the Braxtons took their version of "The Boss" to No. 1 in 1997. Let's not forget this is Kristine W's 11th (non-consecutive) chart-topper on the Club Play survey.


Jim Maino
Manahawkin, N.J.

Dear Jim,

Thanks to you and readers Brian Kitts and Michael H. King for writing in about "The Boss." I did mention that this is Kristine W's 11th No. 1 hit on the Hot Dance Club Play tally in the latest Chart Beat, but thanks to you and our other readers for noticing that this is the third time at No. 1 for the Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson-penned "The Boss."


Hola Fred:

As always, I read your column every week and enjoy its very informative content. My question has to do with Latin superstar Juanes. I know that Chart Beat rarely discusses accomplishments from the Hot Latin Songs chart, but I believe this is worth mentioning. I noticed that Juanes' new single, "Gotas de Agua Dulce," replaced his previous single "Me Enamora" at No. 1. Has this every happened before? Has an artist ever replaced him or herself at the top?

And one more thing, now that the top 24 on "American Idol" has been revealed, do you have any favorites?

Luis De Jesus
Orlando, Fla.

Dear Luis,

It's true that the Hot 100 and The Billboard 200 dominate Chart Beat, but all charts are eligible for discussion, especially when there are accomplishments to be noted.

Good catch on Juanes succeeding himself at No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs, but he's not the first to do so. I checked with our Latin charts manager, Jose Promis, and he remembered that on the survey dated Dec. 27, 1997, Alejandro Fernandez and Gloria Estefan went to No. 1 with the song "En El Jardin."

The following week, Fernandez replaced himself in pole position with "Si Tu Supieras" for a sixth non-consecutive week. And then the following week his duet with Estefan went back to No. 1.

I do have favorites among the now top 11 finalists on "American Idol" but I won't reveal them yet. Since I've had some interaction with the contestants a few times already and may do so again, I don't think I want them knowing who my favorites are (and there are several).