Chart Beat

Fred discusses Michael Jackson, Shirley Bassey, Alicia Keys and more!

'STARTIN'' ALL OVER AGAIN: After an absence from the Hot 100 of four years, one month and one week, Michael Jackson returns with "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008," an update of a song that was originally a No. 5 hit a quarter of a century ago. It is Jackson's first title to appear on the chart since "One More Chance" peaked at No. 83 in 2003. Since "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" bows at No. 81, it is Jackson's highest entry since "Butterflies" flew to No. 14 in 2002.

Back in 1983, the Epic single "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" was a solo effort by Jackson. The remake teams Michael with Akon and is the 47th Hot 100 hit (away from the Jackson 5) for the former and the 19th entry for the latter. Of course, Akon has only been charting since June 2004 and Jackson had his first solo chart entry on the chart dated Oct. 30, 1971, a year-and-a-half to the day before Akon was born.

While "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" is the first chart entry for Akon in 2008, he had an abundant nine chart entries in 2007. Jackson's most prolific year was 1983, when the original "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" was one of six chart entries.

LIFE OF THE 'PARTY': Pink's song "Get the Party Started" is having a second life, thanks to a new version by Dame Shirley Bassey. It's her "Party" that debuts on Hot Dance Club Play at No. 40, giving the revered British chanteuse her second entry on this chart and her first in almost 10 years. In May 1998, Bassey entered the tally with "History Repeating," billed to Propellerheads featuring Miss Shirley Bassey. That song peaked at No. 10.

Best known for singing the themes to two James Bond films ("Goldfinger" and "Diamonds Are Forever"), Bassey's U.S. chart career began the week of Jan. 30, 1965 with the debut of that first Bond theme on the Hot 100. That gives Bassey a career chart span of 43 years and one week. By starting the "Party" again, Bassey has her first chart entry of the 21st century.

If Bassey can move her "Party" into the penthouse, she won't beat Yoko Ono's record as being the oldest artist to top the Club Play chart, but she will come close. Ono is 74 and Bassey turned 71 on Jan. 8.

SWEET LITTLE 16: Alicia Keys has made chart news over the last few weeks by having the top two titles on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and by stringing together back-to-back No. 1 hits. Now she writes another chapter to her chart history by breaking the record for the longest consecutive run at No. 1 on this survey.

The previous record was 15 weeks, set by Nelly in 2002 with "Hot in Herre" and "Dilemma" and tied by Mary J. Blige in 2005 with "Be Without You."

Keys is currently No. 1 for the 16th consecutive frame. Her run started with "No One," which held pole position for 10 weeks, and continues with "Like You'll Never See Me Again" (MBK/J), which is on top for the sixth week.

This latest No. 1 hit for Keys brings her total weeks on top to 38.

Before her latest two chart-toppers, Keys had four earlier No. 1 hits:

"Fallin," four weeks (2001)
"You Don't Know My Name," nine weeks (2003) "If I Ain't Got You," six weeks (2004) "My Boo," three weeks (2004) [Usher and Alicia Keys]

GETTING OUR PHIL: Add one more "American Idol" contestant to the list of competitors from the popular TV series who have made it to the Billboard charts. Season six sixth place finalist Phil Stacey enters Hot Country Songs at No. 55 with his debut single, "If You Didn't Love Me" (Lyric Street). Stacey is the third contestant from season six to chart (after Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis), and the 32nd to appear on any Billboard chart. He is the sixth Idol to show up on Hot Country Songs, following Kelly Clarkson, Josh Gracin, Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler and Bucky Covington.

If Stacey's single is the next song by an "Idol" to go to No. 1, it will be the 168th chart-topper for the franchise. Meanwhile, Stacey's breakthrough to the Billboard charts doesn't change the standing of season six among the other years of the series, but this past season is still too new to compete with the first five years in terms of how many Idols have become chart-worthy after competing on the show. Here is an updated status report on which Idols have charted, season by season:

Season one: (five)
Kelly Clarkson
Justin Guarini
Tamyra Gray
R.J. Helton
Jim Verraros

Season two: (four)
Ruben Studdard
Clay Aiken
Kimberley Locke
Josh Gracin

Season three: (seven)
Diana DeGarmo
Jasmine Trias
LaToya London
George Huff
John Stevens
Jennifer Hudson

Season four: (four)
Carrie Underwood
Bo Bice
Constantine Maroulis
Mario Vazquez

Season five: (eight)
Taylor Hicks
Katharine McPhee
Elliot Yamin
Chris Daughtry
Paris Bennett
Kellie Pickler
Bucky Covington

Season six: (three)
Jordin Sparks
Blake Lewis
Phil Stacey

That adds up to 31, but the total rises to 32 when you add in non-finalist William Hung, who went to No. 1 on Top Independent Albums with his debut CD.

NOW AND 'WHEN': While we're on the topic of Idols, let's not forget that Fantasia reaches a new plateau this week with her hit single, "When I See U" (J). That song has already topped Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for eight weeks, and was No. 2 on the recap of this chart for 2007.

Now, "When I See U" is in its 48th week on the tally, placing it among the top 20 longest-running titles of all time (albeit with ties, the top 20 is actually a top 24).

"When I See U" has a long way to go to become the longest-running single in this chart's history. The record holder is Mary J. Blige's "Be Without You," at 75 weeks. Here is a summary of the top 20 longest-running singles in the existence of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs list:

75 weeks: "Be Without You," Mary J. Blige
71 weeks: "You Make Me Wanna…," Usher
70 weeks: "Step in the Name of Love," R. Kelly
68 weeks: "Can't Let Go," Anthony Hamilton
63 weeks: "In My Bed," Dru Hill
60 weeks: "Looking for You," Kirk Franklin 60 weeks: "Too Close," Next
57 weeks: "I Wanna Know," Joe
56 weeks: "If I Ain't Got You," Alicia Keys
56 weeks: "Get Low," Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz featuring Ying Yang Twins
56 weeks: "Lost Without U," Robin Thicke
55 weeks: "Please Don't Go," Tank
54 weeks: "Find Myself in You," Brian McKnight
52 weeks: "Must Be Nice," Lyfe Jennings
52 weeks: "We Belong Together," Mariah Carey 50 weeks: "Diary," Alicia Keys featuring Tony! Toni! Tone!
49 weeks: "Anything," Jaheim featuring Next
49 weeks: "U Know What's Up," Donell Jones
49 weeks: "Your Child," Mary J. Blige
48 weeks: "You," Lloyd featuring Lil' Wayne
48 weeks: "Get Me Bodied," Beyonce
48 weeks: "Take Me as I Am," Mary J. Blige
48 weeks: "They Don't Know" / "Are U Still Down," Jon B
48 weeks: "Think About You," Luther Vandross
48 weeks: "When I See U," Fantasia

HOW 'LOW' CAN HE GO?: The Hot Digital Songs chart has only been around for three years, and in that short time no track has held on to the No. 1 position for longer than nine weeks.

This week, "Low" (Poe Boy/Atlantic) by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain hits the nine week mark, tying two earlier chart-toppers: "Hollaback Girl" by Gwen Stefani and "Gold Digger" by Kanye West.

If "Low" can remain at the summit for one additional week, it will hold the record for the longest-running No. 1 on this tally all by itself.

'JUNO' IS UNO: The "Juno" soundtrack takes the lead position on The Billboard 200, giving the Rhino label the first No. 1 album in its 30-year history. "Juno" is the first soundtrack to dominate the chart since "Dreamgirls" a year ago, and is the first Academy Award nominee for Best Picture to have a No. 1 soundtrack since "Titanic" led the list 10 years ago.