Chart Beat

Fred discusses John Lennon, Joan Armatrading, Kimberley Locke and more!

JOHN: For the third year in a row, a song written by John Lennon makes its debut on The Billboard Hot 100. The latest Lennon composition to see chart ink is Green Day's remake of "Working Class Hero," a song that originally appeared on Lennon's 1971 LP, "John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band."

The Green Day version, from the multi-artist "Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur" album (due in stores June 12), enters the Hot 100 at No. 53. It follows last year's cover of Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by the Fray, which debuted and peaked at No. 50 the week of Dec. 30, 2006.

Two Lennon songs appeared on the Hot 100 in 2005. Both were remakes of Beatles songs written with Paul McCartney. "Across the Universe," by a collection of artists, debuted and peaked at No. 22 the week of March 5, 2005 and McCarntey joined U2 on an update of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," which debuted and peaked at No. 48 the week of July 23, 2005.

The appearance of "Working Class Hero" extends Lennon's chart span as a songwriter to 43 years, 10 months and three weeks, counting back to the debut of Del Shannon's cover of the Beatles' "From Me to You" the week of June 29, 1963.

JOAN: "Into the Blues" (429) is the title of the album that debuts at No. 1 on Top Blues Albums. The name of the artist should be familiar - Joan Armatrading, who has a chart career that stretches back 30 years, seven months and one week, to the bow of her eponymously-titled debut album on The Billboard 200 the week of Oct. 9, 1976.

Armatrading was most recently on a Billboard chart with "Lover's Speak," an album that peaked at No. 42 on Top Independent Labels the week of April 12, 2003. "Into the Blues" marks her first appearance on the Billboard blues chart.

JOVIAL: If there are any artists still wondering if appearing on "American Idol" is a good idea, they just have to check out this week's Hot Digital Songs chart, where Bon Jovi has six debuts and one re-entry.

Leading the pack is the song the group performed on last week's results show, "(You Want To) Make a Memory" (Island/Mercury), a new entry at No. 15.

The other six titles read like a list of Bon Jovi's greatest hits and include songs performed by the "Idol" contestants:

"Wanted Dead or Alive," No. 25
"You Give Love a Bad Name," No. 29
"Livin' on a Prayer," No. 30
"Blaze of Glory," No. 45 [Jon Bon Jovi]
"Have a Nice Day," re-entry at No. 46
"It's My Life," No. 58
"This Ain't a Love Song," No. 59

RUSHED: Canadian rock band Rush is still going strong, 33 years after making its debut on the Billboard album chart. "Snakes & Arrows" (Anthem) slithers onto The Billboard 200 at No. 3, the second-highest rank the group has ever reached.

The highest point Rush has achieved is the No. 2 ranking of "Counterparts" in 1993. "Snakes & Arrows" is tied with "Moving Pictures" in 1981 and "Roll the Bones" in 1991 as the group's second-highest charting albums.

"Snakes & Arrows" marks the first appearance of Rush on this chart since the "Feedback" EP peaked at No. 19 in 2004.

Canadian Chart Beat reader Patrick Kelly of Brampton, Ontario, points out that Rush's new album is sandwiched between two other acts from north of the border. Michael Bublé is new at No. 2 with "Call Me Irresponsible" (143/Reprise) and Avril Lavigne falls 1-4 with “The Best Damn Thing” (RCA). Kelly brings this to our attention because neither Bublé nor Lavigne were born when Rush made its first appearance on the album survey in 1974 with a self-titled album that peaked at No. 105.

REO: After a gap of almost 19 years, REO Speedwagon returns to the Adult Contemporary chart. “I Needed to Fall” (Speedwagon/Mailboat) debuts in the anchor spot at No. 30. It’s the first REO Speedwagon song to chart at AC since “Here With Me” peaked at No. 9 in 1988.

Prior to the current single, REO Speedwagon had five AC entries, four of which made the top 10. Those songs are:

“In Your Letter,” No. 26 (1981)
“Can’t Fight This Feeling,” No. 3 (1985)
“One Lonely Night,” No. 10 (1985)
“In My Dreams,” No. 6 (1987)
“Here With Me,” No. 9 (1988)

“I Needed to Fall” is from the new REO Speedwagon album, “Find Your Own Way Home.”

SEPTEMBER: For the second time this year, and the second time in the short history of the Hot Dance Radio Airplay chart, a Swedish artist is No. 1.

In February, Eric Prydz began a two-week reign with “Proper Education,” credited to Eric Prydz vs. Floyd. This week, the Stockholm-born thrush known as September moves 2-1 with “Cry for You” (Robbins).

LOCKED: While a new crop of “American Idol” contestants reaches the Billboard charts every year, contestants from way back in season two are still prospering.

Kimberley Locke, who placed third behind Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, earns her fifth consecutive top 10 hit on the Adult Contemporary chart this week.
“Change” (Curb) advances 12-10, which means all of Locke’s solo entries on this tally have made the top 10.

Here is a summary of Locke’s AC history:

“Silver Bells,” No. 16 (2004) [Clay Aiken and Kimberley Locke]
“8th World Wonder,” No. 6 (2004)
“I Could,” No. 8 (2005)
“Up on the Housetop,” No. 1 (2005)
“Jingle Bells,” No. 1 (2006)
“Change,” No. 10 (2007)

“Change” is also in the top 10 of the Hot Dance Club Play tally, where it marches 7-4.