Chart Beat

Fred tackles news on "Hannah Montana," Justin Timberlake, "American Idol" and more!

MAKING THE 'MOST' OF IT: Rascal Flatts writes its own chapter in chart history as it becomes the first group to have a song reach pole position on both the Adult Contemporary and Hot Country Songs charts. "What Hurts the Most" (Lyric Street) advances 2-1 in its 28th week on the AC list. The track went to No. 1 on the country tally the week of April 8, the same week the song made its debut at No. 40 on the AC survey.

It's been over two years since a country song headed the AC chart. The last one to do so was Martina McBride's "This One's for the Girls," which had a nine-week non-consecutive reign between July 3 and Sept. 25, 2004.

Two other groups have come close to having the same song top the AC and country charts. Lonestar has had two entries on the AC list; "Amazed" and "I'm Already There." Both peaked at No. 2 AC and No. 1 country. Conversely, the Dixie Chicks' remake of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" went to No. 1 AC and No. 2 country.

"What Hurts the Most" is Rascal Flatts' second song to appear on the AC chart. "Bless the Broken Road" peaked at No. 20 in September 2005. "Hurts" is the fifth song to move into the penthouse of the country tally in 2006. The first four songs to become No. 1 during this calendar year at AC are:

"You and Me," Lifehouse (nine weeks)
"You're Beautiful," James Blunt (seven weeks)
"Bad Day," Daniel Powter (19 weeks)
"Unwritten," Natasha Bedingfeld (eight weeks)

Billboard's country charts have been based on airplay information supplied by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems since January 1990 and the AC chart has been using BDS information since July 1993. Since that time, only three other songs have reached No. 1 on the AC and country charts, and all are by female artists. Those three songs are: "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack, "Breathe" by Faith Hill and "You're Still the One" by Shania Twain.

'TOWN' AND COUNTRY: While Carrie Underwood carries on at No. 1 for a second week on Hot Country Songs with "Before He Cheats" (Arista), another "American Idol" contestant debuts at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart.

Fifth season finalist Kellie Pickler finds herself in first place with her debut effort, "Small Town Girl" (BNA). That gives Pickler the 104th No. 1 for the "American Idol" franchise, counting all national, domestic charts compiled by the Billboard Information Group.

Pickler is the second "Idol" singer to lead the country albums list, following Underwood with "Some Hearts." Second season finalist Josh Gracin debuted and peaked at No. 2 in July 2004 with a self-titled CD.

Pickler also makes her first appearance on The Billboard Hot 100, where "Red High Heels" struts on at No. 99.

Second season winner Ruben Studdard also has a new entry on the Hot 100; "Change Me" (J) bows at No. 94 to become his first song on the Hot 100 in over two years. "Flying Without Wings" soared to No. 2 in June 2003 and "Sorry 2004" registered at No. 9 in February 2004.

TAYLOR AND KATHARINE: Speaking of "American Idol," the fifth season's top two have spent 19 weeks together on Hot Singles Sales, with Taylor Hicks' "Do I Make You Proud"/"Takin' It to the Streets" (Arista) beating Katharine McPhee's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"/"My Destiny" (RCA) for the first 18 match-ups.

McPhee, who was the runner-up to Hicks, has finally overtaken him on this chart, as her "Rainbow" rebounds 6-3 while his "Proud" maintains 5-5.

Hicks' single debuted first and spent three weeks on the chart before McPhee's single made its entrance. "Proud" spent nine weeks at No. 1, while "Rainbow" remained in its peak position of No. 2 for seven weeks.

RE: 'WIND': Gwen Stefani lands her seventh hit as a lead artist on the Hot 100 with "Wind It Up" (Interscope) at No. 40, the highest-debuting song of her career. Her seven singles away from No Doubt equals the seven singles the group charted between 1995 and 2004. Counting songs where Stefani has been billed as a featured artist, as well as her work with No Doubt, "Wind It Up" is her 17th song to appear on the Hot 100.

Her highest debut until this week was the No. 50 bow of No Doubt's "Simple Kind of Life" in July 2000. Excluding No Doubt's body of work, Stefani's highest debut until this week was the No. 74 opening of "Rich Girl" in December 2004.

Overall, "Wind It Up" is the 13th single of Stefani's career to reach the top 40 portion of the Hot 100.

'HILL' CLIMBING: The British/Swedish/American trio Placebo has had three top 10 singles in the United Kingdom, but hasn't had a large chart presence in the United States, where the 2006 album "Meds" is the only CD that has appeared on The Billboard 200, peaking at No. 180.

Now, Placebo may have a hit at last. A cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" (Astralwerks) enters the Pop 100 at No. 95. It is the first time Placebo has appeared on this chart, and as yet the group has not dented the Hot 100, though "Running Up That Hill" is bubbling under this week.

WHO'S STILL HERE: Two veteran rock acts have new albums debuting in the top 10 of The Billboard 200 this week. "Endlesswire" (Universal Republic) opens at No. 7 and arrives 39-and-a-half years after the debut of the first chart album by the Who. "Happy Jack" entered the survey the week of May 20, 1967. This new CD is the group's 10th top 10 set and the first since "It's Hard" peaked at No. 8 in 1982. "Endlesswire" is the Who's highest-ranking album since "Face Dances" sailed to No. 4 in 1981.

The other returning rocker is Meat Loaf, whose "Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose" (Virgin) enters at No. 8. This is the second top 10 album for Meat Loaf, who spent one week at No. 1 in 1993 with "Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell." The first "Bat Out of Hell" album peaked at No. 14 in 1978. That album marked Meat Loaf's debut when it was released in October 1977. Meat Loaf's album chart span is now expanded to 29 years and three weeks.

BUMP FOR 'JUMP': "Jump" is a popular song title that has adorned hits by Van Halen, Kris Kross and the Pointer Sisters (with the added parenthetical title “For My Love” for that last act). Now, "Jump" is the title of Madonna's latest single -- which moves up one rung from its last week position of No. 2 to become the material girl's 37th No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Madonna set the record for the most No. 1s on this chart a long time ago and has been widening her lead for years. The artist with the second highest total of chart-topping Club Play hits is Janet Jackson, with 16.

"Jump" is the fourth No. 1 hit on this survey from Madonna's "Confessions on a Dance Floor" (Warner Bros.) album. The four No. 1s have hit consecutively and follow two runs of three No. 1 hits in a row. This current run of four started with "Hung Up" exactly one year ago this week and continued with "Sorry" in March and "Get Together" in June. It's the longest streak of No. 1 Club Play hits for Madonna since she had seven in a row, from March 1999 to November 2001. Those seven chart-topping songs were: "Nothing Really Matters," "Beautiful Stranger," "American Pie," "Music," "Don’t Tell Me," "What It Feels Like for a Girl" and "Impressive Instant." That last song advanced to No. 1 exactly five years ago this week.


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