Chart Beat Chat

Fred and his readers discuss "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," top 10 songs of 2007, Sally Shapiro and more!


Thank you for sharing that question [about the artist credit for a ringtone] and please thank Anthony Colombo and everyone at Billboard for crediting "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" to the original singer. It might seem like a trivial thing to some people, but I have always loved the book, the television special and that song in particular. And until now, I had no idea who sang it. It's nice to know that, as always, it isn't trivial to Billboard or to you and the others who love and respect music so much.

No wonder Billboard has been the most reliable resource for the music industry for six decades and more. What a class act!

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season, and again, thank you so much for sharing that question and the response. It really touched me.

Tommy Marx

Dear Tommy,

In the spirit of the season, never let it be said I was the columnist who stole Christmas. I'm grateful to Patrick Kelly for calling the credit on the "Grinch" ringtone to our attention. And thanks to you, Tommy, for letting me know how much this meant to you. These columns may be about trivia, but that doesn't mean they are trivial.



I have always enjoyed reading your top 10 songs for the year -- it is how I found out about the amazing Swedish duo, Standfast (what ever happened to them?) and "Eighth World Wonder" by Kimberley Locke, which I recall being your favorite song of 2005 even though it had only been released for two weeks when you wrote the list.

While I enjoy seeing the top albums of the year, I REALLY like to see what your favorite songs were. Hopefully you will be printing them online at some point soon. And while we are talking about it, is there any way to view the picks you made over the past few years? As always, thanks for all the information you provide every week of the year!

Have a great 2008!

Eric Schulz
Racine, Wisc.

Dear Eric,

By now you may have already found my top 10 songs of 2007, which are included at the end of this week's very long Chart Beat column. For those who haven't seen the list yet, click here.

As I write in the latest Chart Beat, I started compiling my year-end favorites when I was 14, but I was the only person reading the lists. I had no idea then that one day my top 10s would be available to the entire world.

My first Chart Beat column ran 15 years ago this week, and at the end of 1993 I compiled my first year-end top 10 album list for Billboard. I received phone calls from two people I had never met before who said they shared my musical tastes, and those two callers are still friends today.

Since I've gone through a couple of computer crashes, I no longer have my old top 10 lists, or I would have dug some up for this column. They are available to paid subscribers of Billboard, who can access them at

As for the Swedish duo known as Standfast, I did meet Patrick Tucker and Suzanne Mosson in Stockholm shortly after naming their CD my No. 1 album of the year. Unfortunately I lost touch with them, and wasn't even aware they released a second album this year until I did an internet search for them today while preparing this column.



I love your column and I read it every week. Just wanted to let you know that if not for you, I would've never re-discovered Robyn (whom I now know, thanks to import purchases, has never really been gone). But I was sad to see that you either haven't discovered Sally Shapiro's "Disco Romance" LP or didn't think it was good enough for your year-end top 10.

I know there are only 10 spaces on your list, but boy does this album deserve all the recognition it can get! I thought it would be right up your alley. Anyway, enjoy the rest of 2007, and thanks for the great column!

Charlie Shipley

Dear Charlie,

I don't know if Sally Shapiro would have made it onto my top 10 albums of 2007, because I haven't heard the CD. But now you have me curious, so I'll track it down and give it a listen.

I try to listen to as many CDs as I can during the year, but it isn't possible to hear them all.

While I haven't heard Sally Shapiro, I did get a big kick this year out of Sally Sparrow, the main character in my favorite "Dr. Who" episode, "Blink." It's a stand-alone episode of the British TV series, so even if you've never seen "Dr. Who" and aren't familiar with the show's continuity, it's worth seeking out.


Hi Fred,
I enjoy reading your columns every week. I have been a fan since the late '80s. What is the difference between the way Billboard combines points for the Hot 100 and the R&B songs in the '90s and now? As far as I can remember, in the '90s the top 10s of the Hot 100 and the R&B singles chart were almost identical and No. 1s on the R&B chart almost always hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 as well (like the majority of Mariah Carey's songs). Lately it is rare when this happens; Alicia Keys is the first one to do it (with "No One") in a long time. Fantasia's "When I See U" did not even reach the top 10 of the Hot 100.


Chaivut Voracha
Alexandria, Virginia

Dear Chaivut,

Glad to know you enjoy Chart Beat and Chart Beat Chat. The former has been around since 1981, when my predecessor Paul Grein introduced the column to the print edition of Billboard. I started writing Chart Beat 15 years ago this week.
The answer to your question really isn't about the '90s. Chart rules changed several times during those 10 years, including a couple of major policy revisions, so there was no one way the charts were compiled in that decade.
It's more relevant to explain the current differences between the Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. To do that, I turned to senior R&B/Hip-Hop charts manager Raphael George, who explains:

"While both the Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs factor radio audience and physical retail sales into their respective formulas, the Hot 100 also includes weekly digital downloads and online streams from AOL and Yahoo in the calculation.

"In the present Hot 100 formula, radio audience accounts for about 55 per cent of chart points, 40 per cent is from digital downloads and five per cent comes from online streams. Physical retail sales account for less than one per cent.

"Because so few singles are sold in stores now, points on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs lean heavily toward radio audience, as was the case on the Hot 100 in the last couple of years before we added digital sales to that chart in 2005.

"We anticipate that Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan will launch digital genre charts in 2008, at which time we will add that data to the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs formula. Even when we do that, there will still be contrasts between this chart and the Hot 100, because Hot R&B/Hip-Hop's radio panel will be specific to monitored stations that are dedicated to urban genres."


Hello Fred:

After seeing that Taylor Swift was No. 1 for a third straight week on the Hot Country Songs list, I wondered if that could possibly be the longest running No. 1 hit on the country chart for someone under 20 years old?
Previously, songs by LeAnn Rimes ("One Way Ticket (Because I Can)") and Marie Osmond ("Paper Roses") who were 14 and 13, respectively, at the time had two-week runs with the aforementioned songs, but it looks like you would have to go clear back to February 1953 to find the youngest female (or male) artist to have spent at least three weeks atop the country chart, that being then 20-year-old Goldie Hill. I just hope I kicked off 2008 with the right guess.

John Maverick
Burt County, Nebraska

Dear John,

Billboard doesn't keep track of artist's ages in regard to chart position, so I have no way of looking this up, other than checking the age of every artist who has spent time at No. 1. I think instead of performing that time-consuming task, we'll see if any readers can come up with the name of a young artist who spent more than three weeks on top of this chart.


Happy anniversary, Fred!

There's an indirect geography lesson from this week's new No. 1 - "Low" - with this nation's fourth most populous state represented well by its two credited artists.

The obvious connection is that lead artist Flo Rida is from the Sunshine State (born in Opa-Locka). If I'm not mistaken, featured artist T-Pain gets his "T" from Florida's capital: Tallahassee.

Other notable music artists from Tallahassee have included the rock group Creed and funkmaster George Clinton (though it's not his birthplace). Also, Cannonball Adderly was buried in the state capital (though he was born elsewhere).

Happy New Year!

Pablo Nelson
Berkeley, Calif.

P.S.: One last "Low" note: At its lowest latitudinal point, Florida is lower than Texas. Thus, Florida is the second lowest state, next to Hawaii. And of course, several states are just as low in elevation.

Dear Pablo,

Thanks for bringing this week's column to a conclusion on a "Low" yet high note.