Ask Billboard

Keith answers readers' questions about Nelly Furtado, "Thriller" and yo-yo chart positions.


Hi Keith,

I heard Nelly Furtado's next single was "All Good Things (Come to an End)" and the video recently premiered on MuchMusic Video Countdown in Canada. So is there any word yet on the add dates for the U.S.?

Also there is a rumor that she confirmed at a recent concert that "In God's Hands" was a fifth single? Could you tell me any information on this?

Is it just a single for Europe, and the U.S. is getting a different single? I hate to say this but "In God's Hands" is far from being "single material."

Thanks for everything!

Jared Salcedo
San Antonio, Texas

Hi Jared,

In America, the album's fourth single will be "All Good Things (Come to an End)." I don't have any further information about what a possible fifth single will be just yet.

"All Good Things" was written with Coldplay's Chris Martin and has already been a hit in Europe. Furtado's concert tour will bring her to the U.S. this summer after she finishes up legs in Europe and Canada.


Greetings Keith,

My local TV affiliate here in Las Vegas broadcasted the World Music Awards this last weekend. Apparently it took place in 2006, but wasn't shown on television until now.

Anyway, at one point, Michael Jackson was presented an award for "Thriller" being the best seller of all time at 104,000,000 units worldwide.

Question one would be: Can this number even be calculated without more than a few assumptions? But question number two can be answered: How well has "Thriller" done in the U.S. during the Nielsen SoundScan era (1991-present)?

Charles Novak
Las Vegas

Hi Charles,

The producers of the World Music Awards likely contacted SonyBMG and queried them on how many copies "Thriller" had shipped to retailers, worldwide, since its release. We have no way of verifying that number.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, "Thriller" has only sold 2.5 million copies in the U.S. since 1991.

That number may seem small, and it kinda is. But in the early '80s, "Thriller" was a monster hit. It clearly sold the vast majority of its overall figure during the early to mid-'80s.

"Thriller," released in 1982, was an absolute smash. It spent 37 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart -- the most for any pop album (only the soundtrack to "West Side Story" spent longer at No. 1, for 54 weeks).

"Thriller" was certified in 1984 as having shipped 20 million copies in the U.S. It has since had its certification total in America upped to 27 million (April, 2005).



My question has to do with The Billboard Hot 100 chart of late. It Seems that some singles make huge jumps up and down the charts from week to week. The latest example is Fergie's "Glamorous."

Three weeks ago it was nearly in the top 10 then dropped to No. 55 and then went back up to No. 8. Why does this happen? Did radio stations plays and sales fall and rebound so quickly in a week's time? This seems to be happening a lot lately. Can you shed any light on why?


Jim Lowell

Hi Jim,

With Fergie's "Glamorous" (which is The Billboard Hot 100's new No. 1 this week), technical problems made the song unavailable to purchase a la carte at the Apple iTunes Music Store a number of times. Therefore, since consumers couldn't buy the individual song, the single took a serious tumble on the Hot 100. (The Billboard Hot 100 ranks songs based upon a blending of single sales and radio airplay.)

Fergie's technical snafus have since been remedied, as "Glamorous" rose to No. 1 this week and was also the top selling digital song.

When you see titles rise and drop quickly (like the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready To Make Nice" or more recently, Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend") it's almost always because of a huge rush on digital downloads, followed by a big drop off in sales.


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