Ask Billboard

Keith answers readers' questions on 80's movie soundtracks, British artists on Hot 100, Janet Jackson and more!

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at


Hi Keith,

Some movie soundtracks aren't just the soundtrack to a movie, but also soundtracks to our lives. One such soundtrack is "Top Gun". With immortal songs like "Take My Breath Away" and "Danger Zone" the soundtrack became just as big as the movie. I suspect the album is a strong catalog seller too. How much has it sold since SoundScan began (in 1991)? And how much compared to other big 80's soundtracks like "Flashdance" and "Footloose"?

Thanks in advance!

Thomas Christiansen,
Copenhagen, Denmark

Hello Thomas,

Immortal, eh? Hmm, I'm not sure if I'd go that far, but it's hard to deny such pop gems as Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" and Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone." Though, personally, I think I prefer the "Flashdance" album's tunes.

Anyways, "Top Gun" has sold 3,178,000 since SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. To compare, "Flashdance" has sold a rather small 626,000 in the same frame of time. "Footloose" has moved 2,245,000.

For kicks, here are some other still-big soundtracks of the 1980's and how they've sold since 1991:

"Dirty Dancing," 2,328,000
"Beaches," 1,507,000
"Somewhere in Time," 887,000 (Who knew?!)
"More Dirty Dancing," 753,000
"The Lost Boys," 822,000
"Out of Africa," 711,000
"Annie," 636,000
"The Blues Brothers," 911,000


Dear Keith,

At some point in May 1985, The Billboard Hot 100 had eight British artists in the top 10. It's a statistic you hear a lot over here, but... who were the eight artists?

Thanks in advance,

Dave Cheseldine
Aberdeen, Scotland

Hello Dave,

While this is normally a question Chart Beat's Fred Bronson would handle, I'll take a stab at it.

I'm thinking folks in the U.K. are likely referring to the May 25, 1985 Billboard Hot 100. I've listed the songs and artists below, along with where the artists are from.

1. Wham!, "Everything She Wants" (The duo was born in England.)
2. Simple Minds, "Don't You Forget About Me" (The group was formed in Scotland.)
3. Tears for Fears, "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" (Both members were born in England.)
4. Harold Faltermeyer, "Axel F" (Faltermeyer is German.)
5. Sade, "Smooth Operator" (Sade herself is Nigerian-born, but moved to England as a child. The group Sade was formed in England.)
6. Madonna, "Crazy For You" (Look, an American slipped into the list!)
7. Murray Head, "One Night In Bangkok" (Head was born in London.)
8. Billy Ocean, "Suddenly" (Ocean was born in Trinidad, but moved to England as a child.)
9. The Power Station, "Some Like It Hot" (Three of the four members of the group were British.)
10. Howard Jones, "Things Can Only Get Better" (Jones was born in England.)

While Ocean and Sade are not British-born, I imagine most consider them British recording acts.


Hi Keith,

Can you tell me if Janet Jackson is done recording with Virgin records and whether or not all of her singles will be released in a greatest hits cd including all her recordings on Virgin?


Jeff Savage
Salisbury, Md.

Hello Jeff,

On July 13, reported that Janet Jackson has indeed left Virgin Records and signed with Island Def Jam. Her new album, according to Jermaine Dupri, president of Island Urban, Jackson's new set will be shephered by Island Def Jam CEO L.A. Reid.

Her new album might surface by the end of the year. It will be her follow-up to last year's "20 Y.O.," which debuted and peaked at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 644,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan.

There is no official word on whether Virgin plans to release a greatest hits package covering her career with the label.

Though you'd have to imagine it's something that will happen sooner than later. Since she released her first single for Virgin in 1993, "That's The Way Love Goes," she has scored 15 top 40 hits on The Billboard Hot 100 for the label. And that's not counting her non-Virgin collaborations with Busta Rhymes ("What's It Gonna Be?!," a No. 3 hit in 1999 on Elektra), brother Michael Jackson ("Scream," a No. 5 hit in 1995 on Epic) or her "Nutty Professor 2" soundtrack hit "Doesn't Really Matter" (No. 1 in 2000, on Def Jam).

Then we complicate things further by having to think about Jackson's airplay-only hits (those that didn't chart on the Hot 100 because they weren't available commercially). Those include the Hot 100 Airplay irplay hits "Where Are You Now" (No. 30), "Got 'Til It's Gone" (No. 36) and "Go Deep" (No. 28).


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