Fred discusses the Beatles, "Don't Stop Believin'," Fantasia and more!COME TOGETHER: Paul McCartney, George Harrison and the songs of John Lennon can all be found in the top 15 of The Billboard 200 this week, the biggest confluence of ex-Beatles in years. McCartney celebrates his 65th birthday (June 18) by holding at No. 3 with "Memory Almost Full" (MPL/Hear).
The late George Harrison joined Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison in the Traveling Wilburys. The supergroup's two albums have been repackaged with a DVD and that collection on Wilbury/Rhino enters the chart at No. 9. The charity album "Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur" (Warner Bros.), featuring cover versions of John Lennon songs by artists like U2, Green Day and Big & Rich, opens at No. 15.
It's been just over 16 years since a Traveling Wilburys album appeared on The Billboard 200. The quintet's first set debuted at No. 57 on Nov. 12, 1988, and peaked at No. 3 on Jan. 28, 1989. The self-titled album spent 53 weeks on the chart. The follow-up, "The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3," recorded after Orbison's death, debuted at No. 40 on Nov. 17, 1990, and peaked at No. 11 on Dec. 1, ultimately spending 22 weeks on the chart. That means the new collection is the second-highest charting of the three releases by the Traveling Wilburys.
In the United Kingdom, the coming together of the former Beatles is in even sharper relief. "The Traveling Wilburys Collection" debuts at No. 1, McCartney's "Memory Almost Full" slides 5-10 and an album by John Lennon, "Lennon Legend - The Very Best Of" (Parlophone) is new at No. 30. The "Instant Karma" album won't be released until June 25, and will only be eligible for the separate compilation album chart.
SING LIKE A SOPRANO: People are still discussing the series finale of "The Sopranos" and are combing the lyrics of the song that was playing on a jukebox in the final scene for clues. People have also been downloading that song, so much so that Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" (Columbia) re-enters Hot Digital Songs at No. 21.
"Don't Stop Believin," which peaked at No. 9 on The Billboard Hot 100 in 1981, made a previous appearance on Hot Digital Songs after being included in the soundtracks of two other television series. The song went to No. 13 in August 2005 after being heard in MTV's "Laguna Beach" and the Fox-TV series, "Family Guy."
In the short history of the Hot Digital Songs chart, only one song older than "Don't Stop Believin'" has achieved top 20 status. In December 2005, the Johnny Cash chestnut "Ring of Fire" reached No. 18 in the wake of the box office success of the biopic "Walk the Line."
DOING JUST FINE, THANKS: People ask me a lot of questions about "American Idol," and one of the most-asked questions is, "How is Fantasia doing?" That's probably because most people know about Kelly Clarkson's incredible string of hits on the pop charts and Carrie Underwood's domination of the country charts, and they wonder how third season winner Fantasia Barrino is doing in comparison.
I tell them that Fantasia is doing very well on the Hip-Hop/R&B charts as well as the Adult R&B tally. She proves that this week, as her latest single matches her highest rank to date on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. "When I See U" (J) advances 3-2.
It's been almost three years since Fantasia made her chart debut with "I Believe," which peaked at No. 12 on the R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart (and debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100). Her next single, "Truth Is," captured the runner-up spot on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in 2004. The following year, "Free Yourself," the title track from her first album, reached No. 3.
Should "When I See You" advance one space, it will become Fantasia's first No. 1 song on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart and her biggest hit to date. It would be the 127th No. 1 for the "American Idol" franchise.
Oh, and when I tell them how she is doing, I remind folks who ask about Fantasia that she is also starring on Broadway in "The Color Purple."
'TICKS' UP: Last week, when Brad Paisley's "Ticks" (Arista) fell 2-3, it looked like it would be the first song to peak at No. 2 in the last 43 weeks. But this week the song reverses course and leaps 3-1, leaving 2007 without a single solitary single peaking at No. 2.
The last song to peak in second place was Toby Keith's "A Little Too Late" in the summer of 2006.