Chart Beat Chat

Fred and his readers discuss Collective Soul, Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Something," Leona Lewis and more!


Hello, Fred,

I have been listening to popular music nearly all my 63 years. My parents had 78 rpm records in the house when I was very young and so I learned to appreciate the big bands and the crooners and girl singers of the 1930s and '40s. My folks didn't mind at all when I got into 45s with the advent of rock 'n' roll in the '50s and the British Invasion of the '60s, so, soon enough I had a huge collection of 33s, too. Most of those I changed into CDs in the 1980s and '90s when my children were buying their music in that form.

But there have been a few times lately when I almost decided that the pop music which I used to love so passionately and considered the soundtrack to my life had pretty much passed me by. However, I still log on to the Billboard site daily for the latest music news and especially for the week's end columns by you. And, as usual, you and your correspondents came through for me.

Your Chart Beat column last week made me realize again just how much I have enjoyed music through the years because in it were mentioned so many of my favorite musical memories: the McGuire Sisters and Patti Page, Elvis, the Beatles (my all-time favorites) and the Rolling Stones, the incredible voice of Karen Carpenter, the Beach Boys' "All Summer Long," Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," Santana's "Supernatural," Kenny Chesney and George Strait and Michael Jackson, too. And there is now someone new for me to look forward to: Yael Naim. So, happily, I realized that pop music in all its various forms IS still with me, as it is with so many of your other readers.

Fred, thank you for helping to keep the spirit of today's music alive. I love reading your take on the music scene and what the younger people are thinking about today's music - and it lifts me that they care so much, just as I always have.

David Collins

Dear David,

Your letter reminds me why I enjoy writing Chart Beat and compiling the letters for Chart Beat Chat every week. It's hard to remember, sitting in the Billboard office or in the solitude of my workspace at home, that what is written here has an impact in the world. So thanks for letting me remember.


Dear Fred:

In response to a reader's comment about '90s singles, I do agree that Green Day would be ONE of most successful acts of that decade. But, if there was a title for THE most successful act of the '90s, I'd put my money on Collective Soul. They scored 15 charted singles between 1994 and 1999, seven of which went to the top position on Mainstream Rock Tracks. Many of these songs also did very well on other Billboard charts. Also noteworthy is that they have continued into the 2000s with eight songs charting so far (two are currently getting airplay - "All That I Know" and "New Vibration").

Although their latest CD, "Afterwords," was not eligible for The Billboard 200 (it was a Target and iTunes exclusive), it did attain top five status on the digital downloads chart. Now that exclusive CDs are eligible for The Billboard 200, who knows where it would have appeared, but rest assured, Collective Soul is still a dominant force and deserves much more recognition/respect than it gets.

Donovan Robinson
Kissimmee, Fla.

Dear Donovan,

You make an excellent case for Collective Soul, but why do I have a feeling I will be hearing from other Chart Beat Chat readers with their own ideas about the most successful acts of the '90s?


Hi Fred,

Big fan of the column. It seems everyone is celebrating Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" as a part of the Rihanna success but nobody seems to mention Manu Dibango's "Soul Makossa" where the riff was taken from. Comments?

Vincent Degiorgio
Vancouver, B.C.

Dear Vincent,

Although Manu Dibango's "Soul Makossa" only managed to reach No. 35 on the Hot 100 in 1973, it is certainly a memorable and influential song. And while it was a big part of the final bridge of Michael Jackson's original recording of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" I think when it comes to Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music," people have been focusing on "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" because an updated version of that song has been sharing space with "Don't Stop the Music" on the Hot 100.


Dear Fred,

I am based in London and I enjoy reading your column every week since discovering it a couple of years ago.

You are probably receiving quite a few e-mails from people in the United Kingdom asking about the progress of Leona Lewis. Leona's debut single "Bleeding Love" was released as a digital download on Dec. 18, 2007 [in the United States], however it has not appeared on any Billboard chart yet.

Is this correct and has Leona's single failed to be a success in the United States despite having been No. 1 in over 15 countries around the world?

I certainly hope Leona succeeds in the United States as she has an amazing voice and seems to be a lovely young woman. It will be a shame if the United States doesn't make her the superstar she seems destined be.

Kind regards,

Ashley McDowell

Dear Ashley,

I have good news for you. Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" has been getting some early airplay on our shores, and this week the song almost made our CHR/Top 40 chart, which appears in our sister publication, Radio & Records.

In fact, between sales and airplay, the single has done well enough to appear on the Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart, where this week it rises 11-8. I would look for the song to debut on the Hot 100 soon and indications are that it is going to be a hit.


Dear Mr. Bronson,

This is my second letter to you, (you published my first).

I can't believe that you didn't mention the feat that k.d. lang has achieved with her latest album "Watershed." As one of the greatest vocalists of our time, it seems a shame that she should be ignored. Her No. 8 debut on The Billboard 200 is her highest chart appearance ever. As she is my favorite singer of all time, (along with her muse Patsy Cline), I think she deserves a mention.

A long time reader,

Guy Allen
Onalaska, Wisc.

Dear Guy,

I agree with you 100% that kd lang's "Watershed" moment should have been mentioned in Chart Beat this week. It was a long column, and so kd was overlooked even though she deserved to be acknowledged.

"Watershed" is her first top 10 album on The Billboard 200. It is also her 10th chart entry in a career that began almost 20 years ago. She made her album chart debut the week of May 28, 1988, with "Shadowland," which peaked at No. 73.

Until now, her highest-charting album was "Ingenue," which went to No. 18 in March 1993, and her highest-debuting set was "Drag," which bowed at No. 29 in June 1997.


Hi Fred!

I just read about the brand new single by Mariah Carey ("Touch My Body"). Personally, I love the song as much I love her. Nevertheless, she's turning 38 in March, so if this single does become her 18th No. 1 on the Hot 100, would she be the oldest singer to reach pole position? Also, will she be the solo artist with the most No. 1 singles?

Fued Gibran Nechar Martin
Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Dear Fued,

I hope you're not suggesting Mariah Carey is "old" at 38. If you are, you're going to have a lot of angry 39-year-old Chart Beat readers sending me e-mails about you.

But in all seriousness, Mariah won't even be close to being the oldest artist to reach No. 1. Cher was 52 when "Believe" topped the Hot 100, Tina Turner was 44 when "What's Love Got to Do With It" led the list and my friend Lorne Greene, who I worked with for several years during my NBC days, was 50 when "Ringo" galloped to No. 1 in 1964. Earlier that year, 62-year-old Louis Armstrong topped the Hot 100 with "Hello, Dolly!"

Right now, Mariah Carey and Elvis Presley both have 17 No. 1 hits to their credit during the rock era. Only the Beatles, with 20, have more. So if Mariah's "Touch My Body" does check into the penthouse, she will be the solo artist with the most No. 1 singles.


Hi, Fred!

There's one more title to add to the list of songs that have debuted in the top 20 of the Hot Country Songs chart. Eddie Rabbitt's "Every Which Way but Loose" debuted at a then record No. 18 in December 1978 for a three week run at No. 1 in February 1979. Rabbitt's song debuted when the country songs chart boasted 100 titles, not 60 or 75 positions.

Thomas Bart
New York, N.Y.

Dear Thomas,

You are correct. A check of the Billboard charts for the week of Dec. 23, 1978 shows Eddie Rabbitt's "Every Which Way but Loose" debuting at No. 18. The single stayed at No. 18 the following week, then climbed to No. 12 and No. 8, finally reaching No. 1 in its eighth chart week.

That's all the time we have for e-mails this week, so I guess "Loose" ends the latest edition of Chart Beat Chat.