Chart Beat Chat

Fred and his readers discuss father and daughter/son groups, R&B pairings, the Hot 100 and more!


Dear Fred,

In last week's column, you responded to John Maverick's letter regarding Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus' chart accomplishment as a father/daughter act. I wanted to mention that the Wilkinsons - a father, daugher and son group - had a top 10 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart in 1998 with "26 Cents." They had several hits in the late '90s and the early part of the century on this chart as well as the Hot 100, although they never matched the success of "26 Cents." I thought it was worth mentioning because of the rare occurrence of family acts on the charts in recent years.

Dean Smedley
Birmingham, Alabama

Dear Dean,

The Wilkinsons' first chart single, "26 Cents," peaked at No. 3 on Hot Country Songs in 1998. Unfortunately, my favorite song by this trio did not do as well. "Jimmy's Got a Girlfriend," which still plays in heavy rotation on my iPod, stalled at No. 34 in 2000.

And speaking of John Maverick, I do believe another e-mail from him has just arrived.


Hello Fred!

I would like to say congratulations, once again, to George Strait. With his "How 'Bout Them Cowgirls" making a move of 11-9 on the Hot Country Songs tally, not only does it become his 76th top 10 hit on the country chart, but it also puts him in third place by himself among country artists with the most top 10 hits. He pulls ahead of the late, great Conway Twitty, whom Strait dethroned as the artist with the most No. 1 country hits last fall. Congratulations again, King George!

Also, my hat tips off to Clay Walker, who scores his first top 10 hit in nearly three-and-a-half years as "Fall" moves 12-10. He last hit the top 10 in the summer of 2004 with the No. 9 hit "I Can't Sleep." If "Fall" can reach at least No. 8, it will become his most successful hit since he took "The Chain of Love" to No. 3 in August 2000.

John Maverick
Burt County, Nebraska

Dear John,

George Strait's latest chart achievement probably should have appeared in Chart Beat this week, but deadline pressure kept it out. At the time, I figured someone would write to Chart Beat Chat about his 76th top 10 hit, and I even figured it might be you. So thanks for providing a way to acknowledge this feat.


Dear Fred!

Through the decades we've heard people say Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul and that she is the best.

Recently, you wrote:

"Elvis Presley is the clear leader with 138 chart entries on the Hot 100 and its predecessor chart, Best Sellers in Stores. Presley is the only artist to have more than 100 chart entries. James Brown is in second place with 94 and Ray Charles is third with 76. Aretha Franklin is close behind Charles, with 73."

And some while ago you wrote:

"The solo female artist with the most Hot 100 hits is Aretha Franklin, who has scored 76 chart entries between 1961 and 1998. By some strange coincidence, her 76th song to chart, "Here We Go Again," peaked at No. 76."

Please, can you straighten this out? Hopefully, with her new duet album she could jump to third place, don't you think?

Best regards,
Bjorn Allan de Verdi

Dear Bjorn,

There is an explanation, and it's something all of us at Billboard have done at one time or another, no matter how much we know better.

For the record, the correct number is 73. If you use Joel Whitburn's "Top Pop Singles" book as your source, you might think the number is 76, but he counts three of Aretha's two-sided hits in 1970-71 as six chart entries. During those years, two-sided hits counted as one entry.

Joel is not wrong in the way he counts, just different from the official Billboard tally. The week I wrote that Aretha has had 73 chart entries I took the time to notice the three discrepancies. Apparently, the week I wrote she had 76, I did not. I'll be more diligent in the future.


Hello Fred - How are you?

I think it is wonderful that there are two major charts each featuring major R&B pairings. As you reported, Chaka Khan and Mary J. Blige are teamed up on "Disrespectful," the current No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play tally. Meanwhile over on the Adult R&B list, "Baby" by Angie Stone featuring Betty Wright just ascended to the penthouse.

One could say there are representatives from the old school and new school in each case - not that I'm saying Chaka and Betty are old! And there at No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart is Alicia Keys, someone who is known to incorporate old school stylings into her repertoire.

In other matters of the new and old, I bet many of us chart-watchers noticed that "The Way I Are" by Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100, just as Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are" did three decades back.

To the future,

Pablo Nelson
Berkeley, Calif.

Dear Pablo,

I do believe we should value talent and not discard artists who were successful in decades past. So I'm as happy as you to see the long chart tenures of singers like Chaka Khan and Betty Wright.

On Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, "Baby" has peaked at No. 22 (so far), making this Wright's best showing since "No Pain, No Gain" worked its way to No. 14 in 1988. She made her first appearance on the R&B singles chart the week of Aug. 3, 1968, with "Girls Can't Do What the Guys Do," a single that peaked at No. 15. Wright's chart span is thus 39 years and three months, and growing.