Fred and his readers discuss Katharine McPhee, artists' nationality and back-to-back country hit-makers.



It has been a while since I've written, but I still enjoy reading your columns each week. I also enjoy following the star-making power of "American Idol" and the subsequent chart successes it brings (even in the years I'm NOT watching the show!).

This week, it's season five runner-up Katharine McPhee's turn to make waves with her debut singles. Thanks for reporting in last week's Chart Beat column on Kat's success in placing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" higher on the Hot 100 (No. 12) than any other version of this classic song. With the debut of "My Destiny" at No. 60, doesn't this also give Kat a new "American Idol" record as the first contestant to chart with her first two singles in the same week? Are there any other artists in Billboard history (beyond 'Idol') who have charted with their first two debut singles in the same week?

Although it wasn't the No. 1 debut many fans were hoping it would be, I think Katharine's double-sided success -- particularly with these two songs -- points to a bright future ahead!

As always, thanks for sharing your knowledge on this topic!

Take care,

Matthew Helmer
Fort Collins, Co.

Dear Matthew,

Katharine is the first "American Idol" contestant to kick off her chart career with two debuts in the same week.

The other part of your question is harder to answer. It's one of those questions that would require a manual search of 58 years of the Hot 100, a project beyond the time and scope of Chart Beat Chat. So we'll have to rely on readers' memories. There are plenty of artists who have had twin debuts, like Ashanti, New Kids on the Block, the Beach Boys, the Beatles and Elvis Presley, but none of them had their first two singles debut in the same week. Let's see if any readers can come up with an example.


Hi Fred!

I must admit I really enjoyed reading Larry Dhooghe's letter [about countries of origin for artists who have topped the Hot 100] (and admire his patience), but something came to my mind regarding Billboard's policy for nationality. Santana (the band) was formed in San Francisco and according to what I know, Carlos Santana has been a U.S. citizen for a long time. [Considering those facts], México is still waiting for an artist to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100.

Another thing: More than one person may have already written to you to say that Nelly Furtado is the sixth foreigner to reach the summit of the Hot 100 in a calendar year, a topic discussed a few weeks ago in Chart Beat.

José Carlos Santos
Mexicali, México

Dear José,

Billboard doesn't have any policy regarding nationality. It's not something we keep track of, like record label or how many weeks a record has spent on a chart. Nationality is one of those things that chart fans like to discuss and, sometimes, it makes good fodder for Chart Beat.

I have my own ideas about how to keep track of nationality for Chart Beat and my books, so I normally use country of birth. I mentioned there are rare exceptions -- one example would be Cliff Richard. I consider him to be British, even though he was born in India. Sometimes you have to use common sense and break a rule.


With Brad Paisley moving to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs list for the week of July 22, it is his first set of back-to-back No. 1 country hits, and he is the third consecutive artist to score back-to-back No. 1 hits this year, following Dierks Bentley and Kenny Chesney.

This is the first time that three country artists have achieved this back-to-back-to-back [feat] since early 2004, when Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw accomplished it with consecutive No. 1s. The streak could grow to four, as Carrie Underwood, who scored a No. 1 in January of this year with "Jesus, Take the Wheel," could also achieve back-to-back No. 1s as "Don't Forget to Remember Me" is perched at No. 3.

John Maverick
Omaha, Neb.

Dear John,

Thanks for the mini-Chart Beat -- I always feel like your items could slip right into the Chart Beat column and no one would know I didn't write them. Of course, I wouldn't do that...