Chart Beat Chat

Fred and his readers discuss Carrie Underwood, DeFranco Family hits, Fergie and more!


Mr. Fred Bronson,

In your Chart Beat column of July 5, 2007, Carrie Underwood was featured for having the longest-running title ("Before He Cheats") among all of the songs that have peaked in 2007. It was also mentioned that Underwood will have to remain on the Hot 100 for another 19 weeks to own the record for the longest-running song of the 21st century.

Right now, "Before He Cheats" is in its 51st week on the chart and is still in the top 30. This means Carrie is only 11 weeks shy of breaking this record or at least achieving a tie.

Based on the fact that this song is still in the top 30, do you think it will spend 11 or more weeks on this chart?

How fast do songs that have done pretty well descend on this chart? Or to put it another way, do these kinds of songs descend all the way close to position 100 or do they actually disappear off the chart? Is there some sort of "regular" rate of descent?

I hope your answer is that Carrie will indeed break another record.


Eduardo Trejos
Heredia, Costa Rica

Dear Eduardo,

There is no regular rate of descent, as every song has a different sales and/or airplay history. Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" has had such a long run on the Hot 100 because after it was a country hit, it crossed over to pop radio. The single has continued to sell as a digital download as well, so in this case it's a combination of sales and airplay that has kept the song in the upper third of the Hot 100.

I don't know if "Cheats" will last longer than this century's record-holder, "You and Me" by Lifehouse (which was on the Hot 100 for 62 weeks), but given that Carrie's single is still No. 28 this week, it certainly has a chance. Songs are removed from the Hot 100 to the recurrent chart if they have been on the chart longer than 20 weeks and fall below No. 50.

For more details on the longevity of "Before He Cheats," and information on how it compares not just to songs in the 21st century but the entire rock era, see this week's Chart Beat.


Dear Fred,

Your headline of "Will 'Heartbeat' Earn a U.S. Lovebeat?" for a recent letter about the Swedish performer Robyn reminded me of the biggest hit for the DeFranco Family, "Heartbeat - It's a Lovebeat." How about a singles and albums chart rundown on this '70s family?

Many thanks,

Steven Fallon

Dear Steven,

Glad to do it, as long as you don't ask for a similar rundown by Sly & the Family Stone or Mary J. Blige.

It's a very short rundown for the Canadian siblings, I'm afraid. The familial quintet had three chart entries on the Hot 100:

"Heartbeat - It's a Lovebeat," No. 3 (1973)
"Abra-Ca-Dabra," No. 32 (1974)
"Save the Last Dance for Me," No. 18 (1974)

The DeFranco Family's remake of the Drifters' "Save the Last Dance for Me" is the second-biggest hit version of this song. The Drifters' single spent three weeks at No. 1 in 1960.

The DeFranco Family had two charted albums on The Billboard 200:

"Heartbeat, It's a Lovebeat," No. 109 (1973)
"Save the Last Dance for Me," No. 163 (1974)



Beyonce and Rihanna have drawn a lot of attention in 2007 for their monster No. 1 hits "Irreplaceable" and "Umbrella," respectively. However, neither of them might end up as Billboard's top female artist of 2007. Fergie has slowly and stealthily accumulated four top two Hot 100 hits from her album "The Dutchess," including "Big Girls Don't Cry," which sits tight at No. 2 this week.

No other woman has pulled four top two Hot 100 singles from one album in this century, including Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce, Ashanti and Jennifer Lopez. Ciara has come close, scoring three top two hits from her debut album in 2004-5. Christina Aguilera came even closer, with three No. 1s and one No. 3 hit from her debut album in 1999-2000.

The last solo female artist to do the trick was Mariah Carey, who scored four straight No. 1 hits from her eponymous debut album way back in 1990-1991. Janet Jackson, Madonna, Paula Abdul and Whitney Houston also accomplished the impressive feat [of four top two hits from one album] in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Do you think it will take another 16 years for another woman to achieve this?

Look forward to your column every Friday,

Kenton Beerman
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dear Kenton,

Pulling four top two hits from an album is quite a rare feat, as you point out, so Fergie certainly deserves to be acknowledged for the rate of success of her Hot 100 hits from "The Dutchess."

I should clarify, before we hear from Mariah Carey fans, that she had five consecutive No. 1 hits from her first album, not four. And you included Madonna on your list, but she never had four top two hits from one album. She did have three top two hits from two different albums, "True Blue" and "Like a Prayer."

Hopefully it won't take another 16 years for another female artist to duplicate Fergie's feat, although that's one thing about the charts - you never know what's going to happen next.


Hi Fred,

You may have addressed this question already, but what happened to the song "This Is My Now" by Jordin Sparks? I know that it peaked at No. 15 back in June as a digital track, but I thought it would have made a strong debut at No. 1 like the other singles from the "American Idol" winners. Will it be released for sale as a single or has it already peaked? I notice there is talk about her new single "Tattoo" being released soon, but I wonder about "This Is My Now." If it doesn't go to No. 1, it will be the first time since the 2001 calendar year that a single hasn't debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100, joining Ruben Studdard as the only "Idol" winner not to have a No. 1 song on the Hot 100. Can you comment on that please?


Dave Zettas
Toronto, Canada

Dear Dave,

With last week's announcement that Jordin Sparks has signed with the Jive label and that her single "Tatoo" is going to radio soon, it appears that all parties concerned have moved on and "This Is My Now" will not be released as a commercial single.

The "American Idol" finalists who had No. 1 songs on the Hot 100 - Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Hicks - did so by amassing huge sales of physical CD singles. They wouldn't have reached No. 1 on digital sales alone.
I don't know why "This Is My Now" was only available as a digital download, because if there had been a commercial single available, it's likely the song would have reached the summit. Since the songs the top two finalists sing in the series' finale each season are rarely representative of the music they will go on to record, perhaps the decision was made to release "This Is My Now" as a souvenir track from the show and quickly move on to what Jordin will really be about, but that's speculation on my part.



I was wondering what are the facts about the resurgence of Stax Records with the new single "Baby" by Angie Stone with Betty Wright on the R&B chart. How long has it been since the Stax label had a single on this chart?


Reggie Jones

Dear Reggie,

Stax was a very active label from 1962 to 1974, although the label was formed in 1958 by Jim Stewart - a Memphis bank teller who played the fiddle - and his sister, Estelle Axton. The original name for the label was Satellite and the first national hit was "Last Night" by the Mar-Keys, in 1961. That was also the last hit on Satellite, because another company had rights to the name. Stewart and Axton came up with a new name for their label by combining the first two letters of their last names.

Stax, along with subsidiary labels Volt, Enterprise and KoKo, built an impressive roster that included Booker T & the MG's, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, the Staple Singers, the Emotions, Johnnie Taylor, the Dramatics, the Bar-Kays, Jean Knight and Luther Ingram.

Financial woes finally did the label in, and the name and the masters were sold to Fantasy Records. Fantasy was in turn purchased by the Concord label, which now owns the Stax name and back catalog. Concord recently reactivated Stax as a contemporary label for current artists like Angie Stone.

It's difficult to answer your question without searching through every R&B singles chart. That's beyond the time and scope of Chart Beat Chat, so instead, I relied on my knowledge of the Stax artists' roster and looked up all of the Stax artists I could think of to find the most recent charted single.

What I found was "Holy Ghost," a No. 9 hit for the Bar-Kays in 1979. The Bar-Kays had originally been signed to the Volt imprint, and switched affiliations to Mercury in 1986. They had a couple of top 10 hits in 1976-77, so in the last quarter of 1978, Stax issued "Holy Ghost" as a single to take advantage of their success on Mercury.
If anyone finds a more recent Stax single on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, let me know and I'll post your e-mail here.


Dear Readers,

Two weeks ago, Chart Beat Chat led off with an e-mail from Chris Feldman, who asked what records set by artists on the Hot 100 might be unbreakable. He opened up the floor to other readers, and as I promised last week, here is a selection of follow-up comments:

Hi Fred,

One record that has always fascinated me is Kitty Wells' 15-week stay at No. 2 on one of Billboard's country charts with "Makin' Believe," in 1955. I doubt that record will ever be matched!

Another one is the run of Triple Crown No. 1 singles between 1956-58, six records that hit the top of the pop, country and R&B charts - "Don't Be Cruel" / "Hound Dog," "All Shook Up," "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" and "Jailhouse Rock," all by Elvis Presley, and "Wake Up Little Susie" and "All I Have to Do Is Dream," both by the Everly Brothers. It is all but impossible to imagine a time in the future when an artist might have such across-the-board appeal that they would even approach the No. 1 spot on all three charts, let alone reach it.

Last but not least, it's not such a rarity any more to see an artist replace himself or herself at No. 1 on a chart. But it's highly doubtful that anyone will match what Eddy Arnold did on the country charts in 1947-48, when he sent five songs in a row to the pinnacle. "I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)" reigned for a record 21 weeks, until it was knocked out by "Anytime," which was followed by "Bouquet of Roses," which was succeeded by "Texarkana Baby," which was followed by "Just a Little Lovin' (Will Go a Long, Long Way)." Unbelievable!

Jonathon Jackson
Owen Sound, Ontario

Hi Fred,

I think the most unbreakable record(s), besides Pink Floyd's, will be the number of songs an artist has on the Hot 100 chart. I do believe Elvis Presley has had over 100 songs on the chart, whereas James Brown has had 94 - unbelievable!

My other unbreakable record(s) will be how many top 10 singles an artist has on the Hot 100. I think Elvis and Madonna are tied with 36 entries apiece, but considering Madonna has a new album coming out, she just might hold this record by herself, which I think will be very difficult for any artist (lead or featured) to break.

Speaking of Madonna and records, her record for having 37 No. 1s on the Hot Dance Club Play chart will be unbreakable, especially since the artist (Janet Jackson) with the second most No. 1s on this chart has half that number (17), if memory serves. With Madonna releasing a new album, her Hot Dance Club Play record may only be increased.

Thanks for your column and allowing music fans, such as myself, a forum to discuss our love of music.

Jeremy Chancellor

Hi Fred!
With seemingly "Unbreakable" chart records being a popular topic in your column of late, I'll make some submissions:

Oldest songwriter alive at the time one of his compositions reached the Billboard top 10 on the pop singles chart: Irving Berlin was 95 years old when Taco's version of his song "Putting On The Ritz" went top 10 in 1982. Berlin passed away in 1989 at the age of 101.

Not a chart feat, and this is pre-rock era, but it is a music related feat I don't see being repeated any time in the foreseable future: Circa 1942-43, Berlin was tapped to present the Best Original Song [at the Academy Awards]. The Winner? "White Christmas" by Irving Berlin! To this day Berlin remains the only Oscar presenter to present the award to him/her self, in any Category! Also, for over half a century, "White Christmas" was the best selling single of all time which brings me to my last "unbeatable in the foreseeable future" record, for now.

The song that broke (smashed!) the sales record of "White Christmas" a decade ago was Elton John's updated version of "Candle in the Wind," his tribute to Princess Diana. Due to the massive outpouring of grief for Lady Di in late 1997, and the fact that I don't see the singles sales market ever being what it was in the '60s, '70s and '80s, I feel this is an almost impossible record to break anytime soon.

Take Care,
Hillel M. Zelman
Cleveland, Ohio


If you're going to devote a column to chart records that may remain unbroken, you can add the following two:
Most top 40 hits without reaching the top 10: Ronnie Dove, who had 11 top 40 hits without rising higher than No. 14.

Most top 40 hits without reaching the top 20: Etta James had nine top 40 hits, but peaked at No. 23 with "Tell Mama."
Vince Ripol
San Diego, CA

Dear Fred,

A recent letter to Chart Beat requested information regarding Hot 100 chart records (feats of accomplishment, not musical transmitting devices) Well here are a few that cane to mind.

1) Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool" was the first single to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100, a separate and distinct chart from Best Sellers in Stores. You can have a thousand songs debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart, but "Poor Little Fool" will still hold the record as the first.

2) This record could be broken, and maybe it has, but the song I'm thinking of is "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)" by Domenico Modugno. It debuted on the first Hot 100, dated Aug. 4, 1958, and went 54-2-1, making it the fastest moving single to pole position by a debut artist singing the song entirely in a foreign language who was also of foreign birth.

3) I can't find the date but I believe there was a Hot 100 that had 101 singles. I believe that the artists or single had something like the word Champignons or something like that in it. I believe it was before the Beatles debuted.

4) This is probably not a chart "record" but an occurrence. On the March 28, 1964 chart the Beatles debuted at No. 27 and next week went to 1. However, debuting at No. 100 was the first chart single for a woman who was to have, I believe, the most No. 1 albums by a solo female artist, Barbra Streisand. That means that a recording artist would have to debut at position 27 or below and move to No. 1 in its second week while a female artist would have to debut at No. 100 with their first single and have more number one albums by a single female than Barbra Streisand. But like I said this may be only considered an occurrence.

5) Okay let's get into the country singles chart, that is the combined charts, that debuted Oct. 20, 1958 and I will combine both records into one. "Don't Worry Baby" by Marty Robbins debuted at No. 8 and "Daddy Sang Bass" by Johnny Cash and June Carter jumped from 19 to 1.

Joe Cushing

Dear Jonathon, Jeremy, Hillel, Vince and Joe:

Thank you all for your contributions. Joe, I think a lot of the items you listed are occurrences, not chart records. For example, Ricky Nelson having the first No. 1 on the Hot 100 is really not a record, just something that occurred. And your Beatles/Barbra Streisand connection has my head spinning, so I won't even try to sort that one out!