Chart Beat

Fred discusses the Gin Blossoms, the Killers, George Strait and ladies whose names end with an "a."

A VERY SPECIAL BLOSSOMS: For those who have been counting, it's been 10 years, one month and two weeks since the Gin Blossoms appeared on The Billboard 200. The band from Tempe, Ariz., was last on the chart the week of July 13, 1996 with "Congratulations I'm Sorry," an album that peaked at No. 10. The group's only previous chart entry was "New Miserable Experience," which debuted in May 1993 and peaked at No. 30 the week of Feb. 5, 1994.

Gin Blossoms fans patiently waiting for a new release have been rewarded. "Major Lodge Victory" (Hybrid) is new this week at No. 159.

KILLERS WITH A BULLET: Exactly one year after their last single debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, the Killers return to the chart with their highest-debuting song yet.

"When You Were Young" (Island) opens at No. 29. That beats the No. 40 debut of the group's second chart single, "Mr. Brightside," the week of Feb. 12, 2005.

The latest Killers single adds to a spree of debuts inside the top 30 during 2006. "When You Were Young" is the 12th single to bow at No. 30 or above this calendar year.

STRAIT UP: A 12-8 move for "Give It Away" (MCA) on the Hot Country Songs chart gives George Strait his 73rd top 10 hit. He has amassed those 73 hits in 25 years, three months and two weeks. Strait's run of top 10 songs started with his very first chart entry, "Unwound," which wound up at No. 6 in 1981.

Before "Give It Away" moved up to No. 8, Strait was already in fourth place among artists with the most top 10 hits on the country chart. He'll need three more to pass Conway Twitty's 75 top 10 hits and land in third place. Six more will move him into second place, allowing him to push past George Jones, who has 78. It will then take a few years if he wants to challenge for first place. Eddy Arnold is the leader of the pack with 92 top 10 hits.

A, THEY'RE ADORABLE: There is a rare symmetry at the top of the U.K. singles chart. With Shakira continuing at No. 1 with "Hips Don't Lie," Cascada advancing 4-2 with "Every Time We Touch," Christina Aguilera holding at No. 3 with "Ain't No Other Man" and Rihanna slipping 2-4 with "Unfaithful," the top four lead artists are all females with names ending in "A." Too bad Madonna isn't No. 5.