Chart Beat Chat

Fred and his readers discuss his books, Fergie, Beyonce and more!


Hi Fred,

I'm a fan of your book, "The Billboard Book of Number One Hits." You started all five editions with "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets.

What are the chances you will revise the book and include all the No. 1 hits, especially the very first one from Tommy Dorsey featuring Frank Sinatra (1940)? Any chance the sixth edition of the book will be published anytime soon?

Also, thank you so much for the book. It has been an interesting read, even more so when considering the very first edition back in 1985 through its current revision in 2003.


Dean Demesa

Dear Dean,

Thanks very much for your kind words about "The Billboard Book of Number One Hits." It's hard to believe I started writing the first edition 23 years ago, and I'm still working on the book today.

I spent all of 2006 writing the fourth edition of "Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits" and that book is scheduled for publication this fall.

There have been discussions about the sixth edition of "Number One Hits" coming out in the fall of 2008, which would mean spending the rest of this year writing in, but no formal decision has been made and no schedule has been set yet. That means the publication date isn't firm, either. This should all be decided in the next couple of months.

Your suggestion is interesting but I don't see it ever happening, for several reasons. One, the book is already getting too big for its binding, and we are approaching and may even reach 1,000 songs by the sixth edition. Adding in all of the No. 1 songs from 1940-1955 as well as the new No. 1 songs from 2003-2008 would go beyond the outermost limits of what the binding could hold.

Two, the demographic interested in songs from 1940-1955 would unfortunately be too small to justify the addition.

Three, every revision made to the book costs money, and the budget set for an updated edition would not allow for the addition of that many pages to the front of the book.

Four, each entry in the book is based on interviews with the artists, songwriters and/or producers. It would be difficult to interview a lot of the people responsible for the No. 1 hits from 1940-1955 because they are no longer with us.

And five, taking the time to write about the No. 1 songs from 1940-1955 would require up to an additional year and delay in publication until 2009, which would be unacceptable.

Given all that, it's still a great idea. Thank you anyway and I hope you enjoy the sixth edition when it does reach bookstores.


Dear Fred,

A reader, Robert Alonzo, recently questioned how Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" could have prevented "Fergalicious" by Fergie from reaching No. 1 when the latter song had record-breaking download sales for the week in question. Robert compared the performance of Fergie's single to that of Taylor Hicks, whose No. 1 single "Do I Make You Proud" topped the Hot 100 with virtually no airplay support, only based No. 1 sales.

The real reason Beyonce was able to remain at No. 1 that week was simple. Even though Fergie had record-breaking downloads that week, Beyonce's total downloads also grew, to a figure that was the second-highest of all time -- second only to Fergie's total. It, too, exceeded the total of the previous record-holder ("Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean, and during the week in question it approached airplay figures that, the following week, became the second-highest (behind Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together").

So even though Fergie had record-breaking downloads, Beyonce's sales were in that same stratosphere. Those figures, coupled with her still-massive airplay, are what kept her at the top of the chart.


Darrell Roberts

Dear Darrell,

It's true that Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" has had tremendous airplay, but I felt it was important to distinguish between sales of digital downloads and sales of commercial singles in my reply.

Still, your point is well taken.



There was a small error in the post by Paul Haney concerning football-related titles that have appeared on the Billboard charts. The 1979 record for "The Football Card" was by Glenn Sutton (not Don, who was a baseball pitcher).

Randy Price

Dear Randy,

But it was by a guy who played a sport that involved a ball, right?