Chart Beat Chat

Fred and his readers discuss Akon, "I'm A Flirt" by R. Kelly or Bow Wow and more!


Dear Fred,

I've noticed something interesting about the artists that have been topping The Billboard Hot 100 this year: all but one of them are repeat No. 1 artists from the 2006 hit list. Even if you exclude Beyonce (whose inclusion would be dubious because "Irreplaceable" was a holdover from last year), all but one of this year's No. 1 singles are by artists who also had No. 1 hits in 2006.

First there was Nelly Furtado ("Say It Right") who topped the chart last year with "Promiscuous." Then Justin Timberlake ("What Goes Around...Comes Around") added "SexyBack" and "My Love" to his 2006 No. 1s. Fergie ("Glamorous") repeated the No. 1 success of her first hit, the 2006 single "London Bridge." The featured guest on "Glamorous," Ludacris, also reached the top in 2006 with "Money Maker." And most recently, Akon ("Don't Matter") duplicated the two-week No. 1 success of his first chart-topper from late last year, "I Wanna Love You."

We narrowly missed adding two more 2006 hit-makers to the list last week when Beyonce and Shakira's "Beautiful Liar" did an about-face from No. 3 to No. 6 after making the biggest single-week climb in Hot 100 history. They both topped the chart in 2006 (Beyonce with "Check On It" and "Irreplaceable"; Shakira with "Hips Don't Lie"). That would have brought the total for 2007 to seven repeat No. 1 artists. However, the count can still increase this month. If Timbaland's "Give It to Me," featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake, can bounce to No. 1 this week (after its digital release to iTunes), Timbaland will become the sixth No. 1 artist from 2006 to repeat that feat this year. He was featured on Furtado's "Promiscuous" last year.

In chart history, the two-year tandem with the most repeat No. 1 artists was 1973-74. There were nine who did the trick then. This year's current total of five represents the second-highest number since that record was established. In 1990-91, there were eight artists who had No. 1 singles in both years. Given that we have eight months to go in 2007, I'd say we're on a good pace to eclipse both totals.

By the way, the only artist to reach No. 1 so far this year that didn't also do it in 2006 was Mims.

Darrell Roberts
Bethesda, Md.

Dear Darrell,

You sent your e-mail before this week's Hot 100 was compiled, but now you know that Timbaland, Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake have done what you predicted and repeated their 2006 success in 2007. Furtado and Timberlake now have their second No. 1s of 2007. See Chart Beat for more details.


Dear Fred,

In your most recent Chart Beat column you mentioned that Akon captured the top two spots on the Hot 100, becoming the first act to do so since he did it himself last December. That alone, of course, is impressive enough. However, Akon has now become the first act since the Beatles at the height of Beatlemania more than 43 years ago to capture the top two spots more than once with two different pairs of hits. Even such high-profile acts as Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, Usher, OutKast, Nelly, Ashanti, Ja Rule and the Bee Gees have not achieved something like that (yet).

Have a good week,
Niko Mitsarakis

Dear Niko,

Good catch! Thanks for pointing out yet another impressive chart achievement by Akon.


Hey Fred,

Why is the song "I'm a Flirt" listed as as a single track whose lead artist is either R. Kelly or Bow Wow? I would have expected "I'm a Flirt" to appear in two versions on the Hot 100, with one version credited to Bow Wow and the other to R. Kelly.

As I understand it, on previous singles that used an "or" credit--such as Kid Rock's "Picture"--the lead artist was a constant while the featured artist changed. That makes sense to me, since it seems the chart credits "Picture" primarily as a Kid Rock song, no matter if he's backed by Sheryl Crow or Alison Moorer.

Plus, there are plenty of examples of multiple versions of the same song appearing simultaneously on the Hot 100. In the early nineties, the Righteous Brothers even charted two recordings of "Unchained Melody" at the same time, after "Ghost" revived interest in the song.

What makes "I'm a Flirt" different?


Mark Blankenship
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dear Mark,

"I'm a Flirt" is certainly a first on the Hot 100, after a handful of songs where there were alternate featured artists who were both listed with an "or" connecting them, as you point out.

There is something that makes "I'm a Flirt" by R. Kelly or Bow Wow different than any other song that was on the chart at the same time in two or more versions by different artists, or even different from the two versions of the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" that you cite.

R. Kelly and Bow Wow are singing on the same track. One's voice has simply been substituted for another and both feature T.I. and T-Pain. It's an admittedly unusual situation, but our chart department, in consultation with the parties involved, deemed that it qualified as one song with a choice of lead vocals.