Chart Beat Chat

Fred and his readers discuss Garth Brooks, songs in Italian, Mariah Carey and more!


Dear Fred,

This week, "More Than a Memory" by Garth Brooks debuts at No. 69 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart and No. 12 on the Bubbling Under chart. Yet it's nowhere on the country chart. How is that possible? There's no other place "memory" could be getting its airplay.

Cody Truman
Farmingdale, Maine

Dear Cody,

The new Garth Brooks song went to radio on Aug. 27, the first day of airplay tracking for next week's Hot Country Songs chart. So "More Than a Memory" received no airplay in the tracking week for the current chart – and no surprise, since radio didn't have a copy yet.

That same date, Monday, Aug. 27, was the last day of airplay tracking for the Hot 100 and related charts like Hot 100 Airplay. It's very unusual for a song to chart based on one day of airplay, but "More Than a Memory" garnered enough spins in one day to debut on this week's Hot 100 Airplay list (and the Bubbling Under chart). That's a phenomenal achievement, considering other songs had seven days of airplay to their credit.

It's an indication that "More Than a Memory" is going to have a spectacular debut on the Hot Country Songs chart dated Sept. 15. It's even possible that it will be the highest-debuting song of all time, beating the No. 16 entry of Kenny Chesney's "Don't Blink" on this week's tally (see Chart Beat for details).


Hey Fred,

Wow! What a great column! This is my first letter.

Joe Cushing's letter got me thinking – how and why would a song that is sung in Italian be No. 1 for six weeks?

And for that matter, how could songs like "Sukiyaki" and "Dominique" be No. 1?

What was America thinking?


Darrin Johnson

P.S. I didn't include "Tequila" because that's a universal language we all understand!

Dear Darrin,

Thanks for your first letter to Chart Beat Chat.

Given that "Volare" (also known as "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu") is one of the most popular songs from the 20th century (just based on being played in Italian restaurants if nothing else), it shouldn't be a surprise that Domenico Modugno's original was such a big hit in America, though your point is well taken. It's very unusual for a song recorded in a language other than English to be a huge hit, let alone reach No. 1.

As for "Sukiyaki," I guess you had to be there. I was a teenager listening to top 40 radio back then, and it seemed very logical for Kyu Sakamoto's "Sukiyaki" to be sharing chart space with Lesley Gore's "It's My Party."

I do have a theory about "Dominique" by the Singing Nun. Recorded in French by an artist from Belgium, the song was religious in nature, and it became a hit shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy. I think the country was ready for something sacred (and then along came the Beatles).

Back to "Volare" for a moment – did you know that the song was Italy's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1958? You could probably find a clip of Modugno performing the song at Eurovision on YouTube. (And by the way, "Volare" didn't win, it came in third).


Hi Fred,

Up until Angie Stone's latest single, the most recent R&B hit on the Stax label was "Smile" by the Rance Allen Group (Stax label number 3221). It spent its last of nine weeks on the R&B chart dated Oct. 20, 1979.

Also, reader Joe Cushing mentioned a Hot 100 chart that actually had 101 songs listed. That was the Hot 100 for the issue dated March 7, 1960. There was a tie at No. 100 between "I Was Such a Fool" by The Flamingos and "Down by the Riverside" by "Les Compagnons De La Chanson."

Thanks and keep up the great work!

Paul Haney
Menomonee Falls, Wisc.

Dear Paul,

Good catch. "Smile" debuted on the Hot 100 nine months later than the single I found, "Holy Ghost" by the Bar-Kays. Unfortunately, our internal database doesn't go back to 1979 -- how in the world did you ever find a database that does?


Dear Fred,
I love your columns and look forward to reading them each week. I do have a quick comment on last week's Chart Beast Chat, though.

You corrected a writer's comment concerning Mariah Carey. The writer stated that Mariah scored four consecutive No. 1s from her debut album and you corrected him in your comments by stating that she had five No. 1s from that album. However, that is incorrect. Mariah did indeed have her first five singles all hit No. 1 but only the first four ("Vision of Love," "Love Takes Time," "Someday" and "I Don't Want to Cry") were from her self-titled debut. The fifth number one was the title track to her second album, "Emotions."

Scott Foltz
Columbus, Ohio

Dear Scott,

You'd be surprised how many people wrote in correcting this item – I know I was. You were the first person to call this to my attention, almost immediately after the column was posted, so you get to represent the couple of dozen people who wrote in about this and receive my mea culpa.