Chart Beat Chat


Hi Fred,

I’ve noticed a couple things on the recent country chart that you could clear up for me. Has the recurrent policy changed? I know [the rules called for removal of songs after] 20 weeks [that were] below the top 10, however Kenny Chesney was No. 16 with “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” in its 16th week on the chart, and the song was moved to recurrent status the next week. Justin Moore’s “Back That Thing Up” was hovering in the 43-41 range for the longest time, finally moved to No. 38 (no bullet), in its 16th week, and then vanished. I know there were a lot of holiday songs on the chart, but I find it hard to believe that Moore dropped to No. 61 that quickly.

Shouldn’t these songs still have charted for at least four more weeks? And maybe even longer in the case of Justin Moore? Ashton Shepard bounced up and down between 22-24 for weeks, sometimes with no bullet, but was given extra weeks. I’m a little confused.
Thanks for your help.


John Jayne
Des Moines, Iowa

Hi Fred,

I have just seen this week’s country songs chart and was surprised to see that Taylor Swift's “Love Story” has bowed out of the top 60 chart after just 12 weeks. Two weeks ago Kenny Chesney and the Wailers bowed out with “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” after 16 weeks. These are the only songs I can find that have not spent the mandatory 20 weeks on the chart since I have been following them for the last 10 years or so.

Have the rules changed for the recurrent chart? I believed that if a record dipped below No. 10 and had spent 20 weeks or more on the main chart then it would be moved to the recurrent chart, not after 12 weeks as with Taylor's song.

Radio and Records this week shows Taylor's song to have 19.929 impressions (on the recurrent chart) which would have put her at No. 12 behind Craig Morgan (20.248) and just above Lady Antebellum (19.702) on the main chart.


Simon Large


Dear John and Simon,

I posted both of your letters this week because you represent the many readers who have written to me over the past two weeks about the changes in the Hot Country Songs chart that both of you observed.

To get accurate and updated information about specific charts, I usually turn to the staff members in the Billboard chart department who manage those specific tallies, so in this case I presented your questions to Nashville-based Wade Jessen, who manages several charts, including Hot Country Songs. Here’s what Wade had to say:

“Descending titles are now removed in their third week of decline below the top 10, regardless of chart weeks. Our previous policy which removes songs after 20 weeks below the top 10 is still in place, but the amendment to the existing policy improves the flow of the chart for songs that rise and peak quickly, but tend to descend slowly before accumulating the 20 weeks which would prompt removal of those titles under the existing rule.

“In short, it's a chart-flow issue intended to better address descending titles that have already peaked in the current business environment. It's an adjustment supported by most of our country label clients and many of our radio readers.”



In basketball, a triple-double is a rare achievement by an individual. But there's even a rarer feat in the top 10 of this week's Hot 100. Beyonce ("Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" and "If I Were a Boy"), Britney Spears ("Circus" and "Womanizer") and T.I. ("Live Your Life" and "Whatever You Like") each have lead or solo credit on two different top 10 songs.

As an added complication, T.I.'s current No. 1 single, "Live Your Life," has knocked tracks by both Beyonce and Britney out of No. 1.

Even further, T.I. has become the first artist to have two different singles reach No. 1 in three non-consecutive runs, having previously reached No. 1 three times with "Whatever You Like." In effect, T.I. has his own double-triple!

And if you include Leona Lewis' earlier chart performance with "Bleeding Love," then 2008 is the year of the triple-triple: three songs each getting to No. 1 on three different occasions.

This is all too much. I have to get a coffee. Make it a double-double.

Best wishes for the holiday season, and I'm looking forward to see what will be the No. 1 song of 2008. My money's on Leona.

Patrick Kelly

Brampton, Ont.

Dear Patrick,

And we started this week’s Chat Beat with two letters on the same topic, our own version of a double-double. Happy Holidays to you, as well. Maybe you’ve already looked, but to find out what the No. 1 song on the year-end recap of the Hot 100 is, check out The Year in Music 2008 section of, which you’ll find by clicking here. You’ll find recaps of more than 250 charts plus many other features, including the Billboard staff’s top 10 favorite album lists for the year.


Dear Fred,


I don't know if you are the right person to ask about this, but I'll ask anyway.

Recently, the nominees for this year's Grammy Awards were announced and, as expected, Coldplay received a bunch of nominations.

I'm always confused what the difference is between Record of the Year and Song of the Year. A friend told me that Record of the Year is about whether a song was a hit (according to sales and airplay) while the Song of the Year is about the song itself, meaning its technical aspects. Is this true?

If that is the case, why on Earth wasn’t “Low” by Flo Rida nominated for Record of the Year? I'm betting that it will be the No. 1 song of 2008. Also absent was “Apologize” by OneRepublic and “Lollipop” by Lil Wayne while lesser "hit" songs such as “Chasing Pavements” by Adele and “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. was nominated.

Hopefully you can shed some light here.

By the way, I hope Duffy will win the Best New Artist category!


Jonathan Gregas

Dear Jonathan,

If you want to know how I feel about Duffy, check out the critics’ picks in The Year in Music 2008 section, posted at

Regarding the Grammys, the award for Song of the Year is presented to the songwriter(s), so this category is for the song itself, as opposed to the artist’s rendition of the song or the producer’s work in recording the song. The award for Record of the Year is presented to the artist, the producer, the recording engineer and if appropriate, the mixer. So this award is for the recording itself, not the composition.

Both awards, along with all of the Grammys, are based on quality, not quantity. In other words, the Grammys are based on artistic merit as judged by the members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (I’m one). Sales and airplay are not supposed to be factors, although NARAS members are more likely to be aware of popular albums than more obscure recordings.

If the Grammys were based on sales and airplay, you wouldn’t need a voting process, you would just add up the numbers and the recordings with the most sales and airplay would be the nominees.