Chart Beat

Fred discusses Avril Lavigne, Chris Daughtry, Top Blues Albums and more!

IF YOU WISHED 'GIRLFRIEND' WAS HOT: Like me, you might have expected a high debut on The Billboard Hot 100 this week for Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" (RCA), based on a high volume of digital download sales. If you did anticipate such a high new entry for Lavigne, you won't be disappointed. "Girlfriend" blasts onto the chart at No. 5, the second highest debut of 2007 behind the No. 2 entry of Fall Out Boy's "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" the week of Feb. 3.

It's the highest new entry of Lavigne's career, besting the No. 22 debut of her previous single, "Keep Holding On," the week of Dec. 16, 2006. "Keep Holding On," from the soundtrack to "Eragon," remains popular even though the movie has disappeared from theater screens. The song rebounds 39-26 on the current chart, giving Lavigne two songs in the top 30.

In its first week on the Hot 100, "Girlfriend" is already the third highest-ranked single of Lavigne's career. Her biggest hit to date is her first chart entry, "Complicated," which peaked at No. 2 the week of Aug. 3, 2002. Her second biggest hit is "I'm With You," which went to No. 4 the week of Feb. 1, 2003.

So far in 2007, three songs have debuted in the top 15. Aside from the tracks by Fall Out Boy and Lavigne, Corbin Bleu's "Push It to the Limit" started its chart life at No. 14. By this time last year, no song had even entered in the top 20. The first single to do so in 2006 was Taylor Hicks' "Do I Make You Proud," which opened at No. 1 the week of July 1.

TERM LIMITS: The memory of Beyonce ruling the Hot 100 for 10 weeks with "Irreplaceable" (Columbia) is recent enough to make one think that the era of long-running No. 1s on the Hot 100 has returned. As Mims goes into a second week atop the tally with "This Is Why I'm Hot" (Capitol), an examination of who has occupied the penthouse over the last few months proves otherwise.

Looking at the last 23 songs to achieve pole position, only three have stayed on top for six weeks or more and only "Irreplaceable" has gone into double digits. A full 17 of the 23 were No. 1 for three weeks or less. Only time will tell if Mims will be deposed quickly or have a long rule. He has a number of challengers, including Akon, Gwen

Stefani (featuring Akon), and a resurging Fergie, whose collaboration with Ludacris on "Glamorous" ( rockets 55-8 following its re-availability as a digital download.

CHRIS ROCKS: With the "Daughtry" album reclaiming the No. 1 spot on The Billboard 200 and the single "It's Not Over" topping the Adult Top 40 tally for the third week, "American Idol" finalist Chris Daughtry continues to fly the flag for the fifth season "American Idol" contestants.

While "It's Not Over" is a rock song, it has performed better on the Adult Top 40 survey and the Hot 100 (where it falls 7-11 after peaking at No. 4) than on Billboard's rock charts. The song reaches a new peak position of No. 20 on Modern Rock Tracks, as well as a new peak position of No. 6 on Mainstream Rock Tracks.

Most surprising, "It's Not Over" has crossed over to the Adult Contemporary chart, where it is holding at No. 29. Meanwhile, Daughtry's second single, "Home," bows on the Hot 100 at No. 83. It is one of seven songs by "Idol" finalists on this week's survey. Among those seven: the first Hot 100 entry by Elliott Yamin. "Movin' On" (Hickory) enters at No. 61. Yamin is one of 26 "Idol" competitors to appear on the Billboard charts; last June he spent a couple of weeks on the Pop 100 with "Moody's Mood for Love," from the fifth season "American Idols" CD compilation.

'SNAKE' ON A REIGN: In its fourth week on Top Blues Albums, the soundtrack to "Black Snake Moan" (New West) moves to the top of the list. The only other soundtrack to spend time at No. 1 on this chart during this millennium was "Martin Scorsese Presents the Best of the Blues," which had a 23-week non-consecutive reign between September 2003 and February 2004.

The "Moan" soundtrack features veteran blues artists like Son House and R.L. Burnside, as well as several tracks sung by the film's lead actor, Samuel L. Jackson.

HIS 'LIFE': Billy Joel is back on the Hot Singles Sales chart after a 10-year break. "All My Life" (Columbia), a return to pop for the piano man, debuts at No. 1. Joel was last on this chart in 1997 with "To Make You Feel My Love," which stopped at No. 53.

If "All My Life" debuts on the Hot 100, it will also be Joel's first appearance on that tally since 1997.


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