Fred and his readers discuss chart-topping collaborations, Beyonce, clean song versions and more!


Hello Fred,

With the ascent of "I Wanna Love You" by Akon featuring Snoop Dogg to the top of The Billboard Hot 100 last week, I believe we may have a new record on that chart for the number of collaborations to hit No. 1 in a calendar year. By my estimation, there have eight No. 1 songs by collaborating artists so far this year. This number surpasses the previous record of seven, which was set in 2003 and attained again the following year.

The eight singles contributing to the new record are as follows:

1- "Grillz" by Nelly featuring Paul Wall, Ali and Gipp
2- "Check on It" by BeyoncŽ featuring Slim Thug
3- "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone
4- "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean
5- "Promiscuous" by Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland
6- "Money Maker" by Ludacris featuring Pharrell
7- "My Love" by Justin Timberlake featuring T.I.
8- "I Wanna Love You" by Akon featuring Snoop Dogg

From what I can tell, the first No. 1 collaboration of the rock era occurred in 1967 when Nancy and Frank Sinatra hit No. 1 with "Somethin' Stupid." The second collaboration to achieve No. 1 status occurred two years later, in 1969, when "Get Back" by the Beatles with Billy Preston went to the top.

Three songs by collaborating artists went to No. 1 in 1974: "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" by MFSB and the Three Degrees; "(You're) Having My Baby" by Paul Anka with Odia Coates; and "Then Came You" by Dionne Warwick and the Spinners. Trios of No. 1 collaborations were attained again in 1978, 1983, 1987, 1997 and 1999.

A new record was set in 2001 when five collaborations peaked at No. 1: "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy featuring Ricardo "RikRok" Ducent; "Stutter" by Joe featuring Mystikal; "Angel" by Shaggy featuring Rayvon; "Lady Marmalade" by Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya, and Pink and "I'm Real" by Jennifer Lopez featuring Ja Rule.

The record of seven collaborations in 2003 was established by the following: "Bump, Bump, Bump" by B2K and P. Diddy; "All I Have" by Jennifer Lopez featuring LL Cool J; "21 Questions" by 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg; "Crazy in Love" by BeyoncŽ featuring Jay-Z; "Shake Ya Tailfeather" by Nelly, P. Diddy, and Murphy Lee; "Baby Boy" by BeyoncŽ featuring Sean Paul and "Stand Up" by Ludacris featuring Shawnna.

The seven collaborations to tie in 2004 were: "The Way You Move" by OutKast featuring Sleepy Brown; "Slow Jamz" by Twista featuring Kanye West and Jamie Foxx; "Yeah!" by Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris; "Slow Motion" by Juvenile featuring Soulja Slim; "Goodies" by Ciara featuring Petey Pablo; "My Boo" by Usher and Alicia Keys and "Drop It Like It's Hot" by Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell.

(In researching this, I only looked at credited collaborations, of course. Also, I realize that any duo or group is essentially a collaboration, but for this purpose I'm referring only to songs by artists who don't normally record together).

Given the trend toward collaborations (note that several currently active artists--including Nelly, P. Diddy, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Usher and Pharrell--contributed to more than one of the aforementioned titles) and the recent rapid turnover of No. 1 singles, I wouldn't be surprised if we see the 2006 record expanded to nine by year's end or a new record of 10 or more established in 2007.

Best regards,

Dan Pelletier
Los Angeles

Dear Dan,

Thanks for taking the time to do all of this research. You didn't ask a question, which explains why I don't have an answer for you. But your e-mail was interesting enough to lead off this week's Chart Beat Chat.


Dear Fred,

I'm a self-proclaimed Beyoncologist when it comes to her chart career, and have noticed something rather interesting. If "Irreplaceable" makes it to No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100, it will become her first truly solo No. 1 single ever. Her first four No. 1s were all with the group Destiny's Child ("Bills, Bills, Bills;" "Say My Name;" "Independent Women, Pt. 1;" and "Bootylicious"). Her next three were all collaborations with rap artists. First, "Crazy in Love" featured rapper Jay-Z, then Sean Paul got joint credit on "Baby Boy" (both in 2003) and finally "Check On It" from earlier this year featured Slim Thug. Thus, "Irreplaceable" would be the first truly solo No. 1 single of Beyonce's well-established career.

Darrell Roberts
Bethesda, Md.

Dear Darrell,

"Irreplaceable" is hovering so close to No. 1 but hasn't made it there yet. This week it is runner-up to "I Wanna Love You" by Akon featuring Snoop Dogg. We'll have to wait and see if she earns his first truly solo No. 1. She's certainly not alone in "Dreamgirls," either, where she shares above-the-title screen credit with Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx and on-screen time with "and introducing...Jennifer Hudson" (Cue outburst of audience applause).


Hi Fred,

How do the charts handle clean versus explicit versions of the same song? On iTunes, they are listed as separate entities -- as a result, Akon currently holds four of the top 10 positions (two for "I Wanna Love You" and two for "Smack That").

Maybe I'm a bit jaded because Nelly Furtado is sitting at No. 11 with "Say It Right"... :-)

Best regards,

Brian Brostek
Boston, Mass.

Dear Brian,

Billboard compiles two digital song charts. The one appearing in our print edition is Hot Digital Songs, where all versions of a song are combined (that would include clean and explicit versions, as well as remixes). Online you will also find a chart called Hot Digital Tracks, where different versions of the same song are charted separately.


Dear Fred,

You wrote that Snoop Dogg debuted 13 years ago last week with his first single. However, wouldn't you count his debut as being a featured artist on Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang," which debuted in either very late 1992 or very early 1993? I know it reached No. 2 in either late winter or early spring 1993, and I am almost sure Snoop Dogg was given credit as a featured artist on that groundbreaking rap/hip-hop single.


Brian C. Cole
Gulf Shores, Alabama

Dear Brian,

"Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" debuted on the Hot 100 the week of Jan. 30, 1993. Although Snoop Dogg appeared on the song, he was an uncredited guest. The song was billed solely by Dr. Dre, as was the follow-up, "Dre Day," which also featured an uncredited Snoop.


"Mad World" by Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules was No. 22 on the Hot Digital Songs chart, but did not chart on any of the [other] charts. By my calculations, digital sales alone should have pushed it into at least the top 60 of the Hot 100 and the top 50 of the Pop 100, if not higher. Yet it's not on either of those, nor the recurrent chart. What's the deal with this situation?

Mike Lyons
Milwaukee, Wisc.

Dear Mike,

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.

The Hot Digital Songs chart has so such rule, so sales of paid downloads in the past week were enough to trigger a debut. The sales resulted from the song being heard in the trailer for the video game "Gears of War," and also being used in homemade videos copying the "Gears of War" trailer and then being posted at YouTube.

If the record label decides to repromote "Mad World," of if radio stations add the track to their rotations of current songs, that could fuel a Hot 100 debut.


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