Chart Beat

Fred discusses Mariah Carey, Flo Rida's "Low," Keyshia Cole and more!

STRAIT IN AT NO. 19: Even veteran artists can find new mountains to climb. George Strait's 108th chart entry on Hot Country Songs is the highest-debuting title of his 27-year career. "I Saw God Today" (MCA) bows at No. 19, making it the highest new entry of 2008 and the seventh song in the history of this tally to open in the top 20.

Previously, Strait's best first-week position was No. 30. That's where "You'll Be There" debuted in April 2005 and "It Just Comes Natural" entered in October 2006.

The seven songs that have started their chart lives in the top 20 on Hot Country Songs are, in order of how high they debuted:

No. 1: "More Than a Memory," Garth Brooks (2007)
No. 16: "Don't Blink," Kenny Chesney (2007)
No. 17: "Once in a Lifetime," Keith Urban (2006)
No. 18: "Good Ride Cowboy," Garth Brooks (2005)
No. 19: "The Thunder Rolls," Garth Brooks (1991)
No. 19: "I Saw God Today," George Strait (2008)
No. 20: "So Small," Carrie Underwood (2007)

"I Saw God Today" is one of two Strait songs in this week's top 20. "Shiftwork" (BNA), his duet with Kenny Chesney, earns a backward bullet as it dips 5-6.

ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID: You've got to feel for Sheryl Crow, who truly deserves to have a No. 1 album. But in the 14 years she has been charting on The Billboard 200, she hasn't scored one yet, and her latest release, "Detours" (A&M/Interscope), is her fourth set in a row to peak at No. 2.

One more and she will be the Creedence Clearwater Revival of the album chart. Long-time chart followers know that CCR had five singles peak at No. 2 on the Hot 100 without ever achieving pole position.

Crow had four albums debut on the chart in the '90s, starting with "Tuesday Night Music Club," which peaked at No. 3 in 1995. That debut CD remained her highest-charting album until 2002, when "C'mon, C'mon" went to No. 2. Then came "The Very Best of Sheryl Crow," which claimed second place in 2004. The following year, "Wildflower" made it to the runner-up slot.

I can't find any other artist who has never had a No. 1 album on The Billboard 200 with as many No. 2 albums as Crow.

LEADING HER BACK: After a 15-year absence, Taylor Dayne returns to The Billboard 200 and the Adult Contemporary chart with her latest album and single, respectively. She also enters another chart and rises on yet another one, though she hasn't been absent so long from the latter and is making her first appearance on the former.

"Satisfied" (Intention), new at No. 179, marks Dayne's first appearance on The Billboard 200 since "Soul Dancing" peaked at No. 51 in 1993. Dayne made her album chart debut the week of Jan. 30, 1988, with "Tell It to My Heart," which went on to peak at No. 21. Dayne's album chart span is now expanded to 20 years and three weeks.

"Satisfied," Dayne's first charted album not released on Arista, is also a new entry on Top Independent Albums, where it bows at No. 22.

The single "Beautiful" opens at No. 29 on the Adult Contemporary survey. It is Dayne's first AC appearance since "Send Me a Lover" peaked at No. 19 in November 1993. "Beautiful" is moving upward on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, landing at No. 18 this week. Dayne was last on this list less than a year ago, when "I'm Not Featuring You" peaked at No. 2 in October 2007.

SILVER AND BLUE: One of the most famous music festivals in the world, the Newport Jazz Festival has featured the genre's pre-eminent musicians over the years. One of the most highly-regarded editions was the Newport Jazz Festival of 1958, which included performances by Miles Davis, Ray Charles and jazz pianist Horace Silver, whose 40-minute set closed the Sunday afternoon session on July 6.

That performance, only recently discovered on tape in the archives, has been released on Blue Note Records, Silver's label home from 1952 to 1980.

Silver's "Live at Newport '58" enters Top Jazz Albums at No. 9, giving the 79-year-old jazz pioneer his first chart entry since "Jazz Has a Sense of Humor" peaked at No. 22 in September 1999 and his first top 10 album since "It's Got to Be Funky" went to No. 2 in August 1993.

IN THE KEY OF G: There is also chart news to report from the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums tally, where Kenny G collects the 13th No. 1 album of his career. "Rhythm & Romance" (Starbucks/Concord), Kenny G's first CD since leaving Arista, is his seventh album to enter the chart at No. 1.

Kenny has a total of 18 entries on this survey. Of the five albums that did not reach first place, four peaked at No. 2 and one went to No. 3.

The most successful Kenny G album on the Contemporary Jazz list is "Breathless," released in December 1992. That CD was No. 1 for 98 weeks.

PETTY'S HAT TRICK: Three of the four songs that Tom Petty performed at the Superbowl sold enough downloads following the game to debut on the Hot Digital Songs chart. This is the first week that Petty has appeared on this tally.

"Free Fallin'" leads the way at No. 10. As a commercial single, "Free Fallin'" went to No. 7 on the Hot 100 in 1990.
"I Won't Back Down," a No. 12 hit on the Hot 100 in 1989, enters the Digital list at No. 39. "American Girl" completes the hat trick by debuting at No. 51.

Petty also shines on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart, where Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Greatest Hits" advances 2-1 and "Anthology: Through the Years" debuts at No. 6.

DON'T FORGET 'REMEMBER': Keyshia Cole's 12th entry on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs is her second No. 1 hit and her first on her own. "I Remember" (Imani/Geffen) rises 2-1. Cole was No. 1 for three weeks in September 2007 with "Let It Go," credited to Cole and featured artists Missy Elliott and Lil Kim.

"I Remember" is only the fourth solo chart entry for Cole. Previously, her highest-ranked solo-billed hit was "Love," No. 3 in April 2006.

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT: "Low" is still high on the Hot 100. The song by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain is No. 1 for the eighth week, longer than any of the singles that moved into the penthouse in 2007. "Low" is the longest-running chart-topper since Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" ruled for 10 weeks, starting in December 2006.

"Low" is by far the longest-running No. 1 with the shortest title. Here's how the seven No. 1 songs with three-letter titles stack up in the longevity sweepstakes:

8 weeks (to date): "Low," Flo Rida featuring T-Pain (2008)
3 weeks: "War," Edwin Starr (1970)
3 weeks: "SOS," Rihanna (2006)
2 weeks: "ABC," the Jackson 5 (1970)
2 weeks: "Bad," Michael Jackson (1987)
1 week: "Why," Frankie Avalon (1959)
1 week: "Ben," Michael Jackson (1972)

THE MAGIC 'TOUCH': With just one day of airplay, Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" (Island) earned enough airplay to jump onto the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at No. 78.

"Body" is Carey's 41st song to appear on this survey. Her run began almost 18 years ago with "Vision of Love," which became the first of her 10 R&B No. 1 hits to date.

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