Women in Music 2019


Fred and his readers discuss long single-word titles, Beyonce, Take That and more!



Call out the "Ghostbusters!" Beyonce doesn't seem to have any "Superstition" about the number 13 because the 13-letter "Irreplaceable" breaks a six-way tie for the longest single word title to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100. That must be an "Unbelievable" "Heartbreaker" for the six acts that used to share that record with 12-letter one-word titles. But Beyonce can take some "Satisfaction" that she was part one of those acts on Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious."

Patrick Kelly Brampton, Ont.

Dear Patrick,

Now we just need a two-letter one-word title to break the six-way tie for the shortest song title. At least that's what my friend "Ben" said when I asked him "Why" he never writes to Chart Beat Chat. He agreed he was "Bad" but didn't want to go to "War" over something that was as simple as "ABC" and didn't think I should send out an "SOS" to Chart Beat readers to encourage him to compose an e-mail.


Dear Fred,

Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" made it to No. 1 on the Hot 100 this week and that rewrites chart history. In terms of female songwriters, Beyonce moves ahead of Janet Jackson and Carole King and is tied for third place with Diane Warren for nine No. 1s. Madonna is credited with 10 and Mariah Carey has 16.

As I wrote earlier this year, Beyonce is only the second woman to replace herself at No. 1 as a songwriter, having co-written "Grillz" (by Nelly featuring_Paul Wall, Ali and Gipp) and "Check On It" with Slim Thug. Now that "Irreplaceable" has ascended to the top, Beyonce has received songwriting credit for three songs in the same calendar year. The only other women to do that are Mariah Carey (in 1991) and Carole King (in 1971). Quite an accomplishment in a business dominated by men!

Thanks again,

Pablo Nelson Berkeley, Calif.

Dear Pablo,

Thanks for the chart trivia - between you and Patrick Kelly, I don't have to come up with too many answers this week.


Hey Fred-

This calendar year, at least one song ascended to No. 1 each month. If I am not mistaken, this is the first time this has happened since 1990. No questions here, just thought I'd point out that interesting bit of trivia.

James Zimmerman
Big Lake, MN

Dear James,
Yes, 1990 was the last calendar year to have at least one song move into pole position every month of the year. The following year just missed out, with no song advancing to the lead spot in August.


Hello Mr. Bronson,

I am sure that by now you know about the incredible response Take That's reunion has had in the United Kingdom. In the early '90s Take That was the U.K.'s answer to New Kids on the Block, but in the span of six years they became a musical force to reckon with. They hit the top spot of the U.K. singles charts eight times (and the album charts twice) before disbanding in 1996.

They sold 15 million albums worldwide during their tenure in the '90s and became wildly adored in Europe. They also spawned the boy band revival that included the likes of Boyzone and Westlife (not to mention McFly, Blue, A1, and on the female side, Girls Aloud, Spice Girls, Atomic Kitten and Sugababes).

Take That's reunion has been one of the most successful comeback stories in U.K. history: their television special in November of 2005 was watched by seven million in the United Kingdom and was nominated for a Rose d'Or; their 30-date arena tour was sold out in record time and their comeback single (their ninth No. 1 in the United Kingdom), "Patience," is poised to spend a third week on top. Their comeback album, Beautiful World, debuted at No. 1 and is certain to remain there for a second week.

With the entire world talking about Take That, I was wondering if their record company would be willing to give America another try. I know they had an Adult Contemporary hit with their European smash "Back for Good" in 1996, and they may have hit the Hot 100 in 1993 with a cover of Barry Manilow's "Could It Be Magic," with the incomparable Robbie Williams on lead. But with such a shaky track record, I can see why the American public is not waiting with anticipation for their reunion here in the United States.

Do you know if "Beautiful World" is to be released here in the States? And what do you think their chances are of duplicating their European success in America this time around? Thank you for a wonderful column,

Cesar Morataya Washington, D.C.

Dear Cesar,

I haven't heard of any plans to release the new Take That album in the United States. While I enjoyed the band's earlier releases, I have to admit it makes sense not to have a domestic issue of "Beautiful World." In the U.K., there is great fondness for the group and a lot of nostalgia involved in the return to the charts. There is so such emotional connection in the United States, where "Back for Good" peaked at No. 7 in 1995. There was no further chart action and Take That remains a one-hit wonder, though Gary Barlow did manage a mid-chart position with a solo single.

Hi Fred!

I was reading your column tonight and was struck by some comments that you made. Regarding the appearance of "Mad World" on the Hot Digital Songs chart, you wrote: "The Hot 100 (as well as the Pop 100) is reserved for current songs, and 'Mad World' doesn't qualify. If the record label were to actively promote the song, that would also make it eligible, but the very fine recording of 'Mad World,' included in the soundtrack to the 2001 film 'Donnie Darko,' is not being currently promoted... If the record label decides to repromote 'Mad World,' or if radio stations add the track to their rotations of current songs, that could fuel a Hot 100 debut."

First, I had to go look this up to ensure this, but "Mad World" never charted on the Hot 100 in a previous life. And while I suppose I understand the notion that only current tracks and albums are reflected on the Billboard charts, I guess I am more confused about the process by which a song becomes "current."

Purely hypothetical of course, but what would happen if a million fans decided to download one of the songs on (for example) Robyn's self-titled album, which is available on iTunes, even though it's not currently being pushed to radio. Why could that song not chart?

Well, perhaps a million sales would be an anomaly, so is it more of a case-by-case decision? Of course there are recurrent charts and all of these things, but I wonder if you might enlighten us some more.

Thanks! Love the column as always.

Greg Baker Philadelphia, Penn.

Dear Greg,

Every decision about chart eligibility is absolutely made on a case-by-case basis. If it made sense to add a song to the Hot 100, it would happen. You know that if a song suddenly sold a million copies in a week (and we're talking something on the order of Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997" here), the label that issued it would immediately begin promoting it like a current hit.

You're correct that "Mad World" has never appeared on the Hot 100, but that in itself is not reason enough to consider it a current song.


Hi Fred.

I haven't written for a long time but I enjoy reading your column every week on Billboard.com.

I'm familiar with the fact that Christmas albums and singles which are old [are not eligible for] the current charts, but I don't see why they aren't. If the charts should be a representation of what is popular and true in the music biz, why shouldn't seasonal albums count when in fact they are popular, even if it may be for three or four weeks?

For example, why shouldn't Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" be eligible to chart even for a few weeks?

Last year it was No. 1 on the digital chart and surely would have had a great chart position on the Hot 100. The song is popular and in my opinion everything that the public buys or likes should be noted.

Furthermore can you inform us if there has been a case where a Christmas album has debuted at No. 1?

Kire Veljanovski
Skopje, Macedonia

Dear Kire,

I realize that from the point of view of a chart fan, or a fan of a specific artist like Mariah Carey, it seems unfair that a song like "All I Want for Christmas Is You" isn't eligible to chart on the Hot 100.

And that prompts me to repeat something I've said many times in this column: the main purpose of the charts is to serve the music business. They are a tool for the industry so record companies, radio stations and retailers (among others) can measure how product is performing in the marketplace. Charts like the Hot 100 are designed to measure the success of current product, as opposed to catalog product.

Kenny G's "Miracles - The Holiday Album" went to No. 1 in its fourth week on The Billboard 200. Berfore that CD, the last Christmas album to top the chart was "Holiday Sing Along With Mitch" by Mitch Miller in January 1962, long before any album had debuted at No. 1.


Dear Fred,

Carrie Underwood's album, "Some Hearts," is the album of the year on the recap of The Billboard 200 for 2006. If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time in the SoundScan era that the No. 1 album of the year never made it to No. 1 on the weekly Billboard album chart.

Carrie's album debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the weekly chart because Madonna's album, "Confessions On a Dance Floor," debuted at No. 1 the very same week. I thought I might pass this along to you and to all of your Chart Beat Chat readers.
Lisa Curry Beachwood, New Jersey

Dear Lisa,
You are correct. In most years, the No. 1 album of the year was also the album that was No. 1 the longest, though that's not the criterion for determining the No. 1 album of the year. It's strictly done by sales during the chart year.


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