Chart Beat

Fred discusses Robert Goulet, the Eagles, "High School Musical 2" and more!

IF EVER HE WOULD LEAVE US: Robert Goulet received his first big break when he was cast as Lancelot in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's Broadway musical, "Camelot." His performance lives on, as he can be heard on the cast album, singing memorable numbers like 'C'est Moi," the title song and "If Ever I Would Leave You."

The original Broadway cast LP, released at the end of 1960, debuted on the Billboard album chart dated Jan. 23, 1961, and began a six-week stay at No. 1 on June 5. Goulet's death on Oct. 30 this year has renewed sales interest in the effort, which sold enough copies to enter Top Cast Albums at No. 11.

On that same chart, the "Wicked" cast album returns to No. 1 after a six-week run in pole position for the "Jersey Boys" cast album. "Wicked" was able to recapture the lead after being featured in an episode of ABC-TV's "Ugly Betty," where several cast members went to see the show on Broadway and Betty ended up on stage.

"Wicked" has been No. 1 for 82 weeks in this chart's 97-week history.

SOARING OVER CALIFORNIA AND ELSEWHERE: For the first time in 13 years, the Eagles have the No. 1 album on The Billboard 200. "Long Road Out of Eden" enters the tally in first place. The group was last on top of this chart in November-December 1994, when "Hell Freezes Over" enjoyed a two-week reign.

"Eden" is the sixth Eagles album to lead the list, in a run that goes back to July 26, 1975, when "One of These Nights" began a five-week visit to the penthouse. That gives the band a span of No. 1 albums that stretches out over 32 years, three months and three weeks.

"Eden" also debuts at No. 1 on Top Country Albums and Top Internet Albums. On the former, the Eagles have their second chart-topper, after a best-of collection spent one week at No. 1 in November 2003. On the latter, the Eagles have their very first No. 1 title.

RECORD 'TIME': The cast of "High School Musical 2" is just one week away from tying the all-time record for longest-running No. 1 hit on Hot Singles Sales. "What Time Is It" (Walt Disney) is in its 16th week on top, tying second-place "Whoomp! (There It Is)" by Tag Team, No. 1 for 16 weeks in July-October 1993.

If "What Time Is It" is still at the summit next week, it will tie the 17-week run of the longevity champ, Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" from 1991.

WELCOME TO THE TOP THREE (FOUR): And speaking of longevity, Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" (Arista) retreats 37-44 on The Billboard Hot 100 in its 62nd chart week. That means Underwood is tied with Lifehouse for having the longest-charting single of this century.

Carrie is also catapulted into third place among the longest-running songs in this chart's 49 1/2-year history. Only LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live" and Jewel's "You Were Meant for Me" / "Foolish Games" have had longer chart runs, and they are facing a strong challenge from Underwood to hold on to their standings.

Here is a list of the four-longest running songs in Hot 100 history:

69 weeks: "How Do I Live," LeAnn Rimes (1997)
65 weeks: "You Were Meant for Me" / "Foolish Games," Jewel (1997)
62 weeks: "You and Me," Lifehouse (2005)
62 weeks: "Before He Cheats," Carrie Underwood (2007)

WILL POWER: Jazz/R&B singer/songwriter/producer Will Downing has his first No. 1 title on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. "After Tonight," Downing's debut on the Peak imprint, is only his second top 10 album, following the No. 9 posting of "Emotions" in 2003.

"After Tonight" is Downing's 14th album to appear on the R&B survey. He made his debut the week of Dec. 16, 1989, with "Come Together As One," which peaked at No. 62. He now has an R&B album chart span of 17 years and 11 months.

On The Billboard 200, Downing also has the highest-charting title of his career, thanks to the No. 37 entrance of "After Tonight." His previous best on this list was his most recent album, "Soul Symphony," which peaked at No. 85 in October 2005.

BACKSTREET'S BACK: The Backstreet Boys begin their second decade of charting on The Billboard 200 with their fifth consecutive top 10 debut. "Unbreakable" is new at No. 7. Now a quartet, the group's previous four albums all debuted in the top five. The only album not to open in the top 10 is the group's eponymous debut, which bowed at No. 29 the week of Aug. 30, 1997.

"Unbreakable" keeps the group's record of having every album peak in the top 10 intact. Despite its low debut, the "Backstreet Boys" CD went to No. 4 in January 1998. And while that first set did not go all the way, it did sell over a long period of time and was certified 14 times platinum.

HITTING A TRIPLE: "Home for the Holidays" (Sony BMG Special Products) is the third Elvis Presley album to debut on The Billboard 200 this year, following "The Essential Elvis Presley" in January and "Elvis: Viva Las Vegas" in August.

"Home," new at No. 165, gives Presley his first set of three new entries in a calendar year since 2002.

'WEIGHT' FOR IT: The last time Levon Helm had an album under his own name debut on The Billboard 200 was 30 years ago this week. The drummer for the Band entered the album survey the week of Nov. 19, 1977, with "Levon Helm & the RCO All-Stars," which peaked at No. 142.

Exactly three decades later, Helm returns to the tally with "Dirt Farmer" (Dirt Farmer/Vanguard). Of course, Helm could not be considered a one-hit wonder, since the Band has had 14 chart albums, starting with "Music from Big Pink" in 1968. Counting his work with the Band, Helm's album chart span is 39 years, three months and one week.


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