Chart Beat

Fred discusses Carrie Underwood, the Beatles, Sean Kingston and more!

'SMALL' IS BIG: You already knew that country radio couldn't wait to play the first Carrie Underwood single from her second album. So you shouldn't be surprised that "So Small" (Arista) blasts onto Hot Country Songs at No. 20. It's not only the highest new entry of 2007, it's the highest new entry ever for a solo female artist since January 1964, when the chart expanded from 30 to 50 positions.

It goes without saying then that "So Small" is Underwood's highest-debuting title, besting the No. 39 bow of "Jesus, Take the Wheel" in November 2005.

"So Small" is Underwood's eighth chart entry in just over two years. Her chart career began with "Bless the Broken Road," a collaboration with Rascal Flatts that debuted and peaked at No. 50 the week of June 11, 2005.

Underwood is one of four "American Idol" alumnae in the top 20 of this week's country chart. The other three all reach their highest positions on this chart, all in the same week. Kelly Clarkson reaches the top five, as her duet with Reba McEntire on "Because of You" (MCA) edges up 6-5. Bucky Covington rises 7-6 with "A Different World" (Lyric Street) and Kellie Pickler strolls 15-14 with "I Wonder" (BNA), topping the No. 15 peak of her first single, "Red High Heels."

CHANGE THE WORLD: Further down the Hot Country Songs list, Carrie Underwood's collaborators on her first chart entry have a debut of their own. Rascal Flatts are new at No. 60 with "Revolution" (Lyric Street), a remake of the song that was the flip side of the Beatles' "Hey Jude" in 1968.

That means John Lennon and Paul McCartney are back on the country survey for the first time in 12 years. As songwriters, the Liverpudlians were most recently on the tally in June 1995, when Steve Wariner took "Get Back" to No. 72.

"Revolution" is the highest-charting Lennon-McCartney song since Rosanne Cash turned "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" into a No. 1 hit in June 1989. While that is the most successful Lennon-McCartney cover on the country chart, the songwriters earned another top 10 hit when Sweethearts of the Rodeo peaked at No. 9 in March 1989 with "I Feel Fine."

Years earlier, Johnny Rodriguez covered "Something" and turned it into a No. 6 hit in 1974.

LED BY KINGSTON: Sean Kingston continues his domination of The Billboard Hot 100, as "Beautiful Girls" tops the list for the second week. That chart-topper has put songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in first place for the first time in 48 years. Now, Kingston's second single debuts at No. 28, and it might do something similar for a quartet of songwriters who were last on the chart nine years ago.

"Me Love" (Beluga Heights/Epic) samples a Led Zeppelin favorite, "D'yer Mak'er," a No. 20 hit on the Hot 100 in 1973. Songwriters (and Led Zeppelin members) Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham are credited on "D'yer Mak'er" and thus, "Me Love." Plant, Page and Bonham received songwriting credit on "Come With Me," a song from the "Godzilla" soundtrack credited to Puff Daddy featuring Jimmy Page. It was a No. 4 hit in July 1998.

WELCOME RETURN: A No. 97 debut for "Love Letters from Ella" (Concord Jazz/Starbucks) brings the legendary Ella Fitzgerald back to The Billboard 200 for the first time in just under 38 years.

Fitzgerald passed away in 1996, but until this week, she hasn't been on the Billboard album chart since "Ella" peaked at No. 196 in October 1969. The new CD is her highest-ranked title since "Ella and Basie!" went to No. 69 in the last quarter of 1963. If you only count her solo LPs, this is Ella's finest hour since "Ella in Hollywood" starred at No. 35 in 1962.

While her career dates back to 1934, Ella's chart span on The Billboard 200 is now stretched to 51 years and three weeks, counting back to the debut of "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook" the week of July 28, 1956.

"Love Letters from Ella" enters Top Jazz Albums at No. 2. That ties the peak position of the "Best of Song Book Collections" CD in July 1996 as the highest-charting Ella titles since "Ella in Rome - The Birthday Concert" ruled for five weeks in July-August 1988.

ANOTHER 'IDOL' FIRST: "True Beauty" (Sparrow), the first album by fifth season "American Idol" finalist Mandisa, enters the Top Christian Albums chart at No. 1. It's the first debut album by a solo female artist to open at No. 1 in the 27-year history of this chart (the survey was first published the week of March 29, 1980).

"True Beauty" gives the "Idol" franchise its 132nd No. 1, counting all national, domestic charts compiled by the Billboard Information Group.
On The Billboard 200, "True Beauty" is new at No. 43.

'HOME' AGAIN: Last week, I reported that Daughtry's "Home" had equaled the nine weeks that "It's Not Over" had spent at No. 1 on the Adult Top 40 chart. This week, "Home" has not moved from pole position, so its 10-week reign surpasses the reign of "Over."

Meanwhile, "Home" rises to the top of the Adult Contemporary chart. It's the first time the same song has ruled both the Adult Contemporary and Adult Top 40 charts since Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" in May-June 2006.

'VIVA' ELVIS: Elvis Presley has his second debuting album of 2007 on The Billboard 200. "Elvis: Viva Las Vegas" (RCA) is new at No. 94. In January, "The Essential Elvis Presley" entered and peaked at No. 72. Elvis had one album debut in 2006, two in 2005, two in 2003 and three in 2002.