Chart Beat

Christina Aguilera finds her "Man" on the Hot 100, plus news on the Bedingfields and Lionel Richie.

SUPER 'MAN': After an absence of almost two years, Christina Aguilera returns to the Billboard Hot 100 with the highest debut of her career and the second-highest new entry of 2006. "Ain't No Other Man" (RCA) bursts onto the chart at No. 19. That's far superior to Aguilera's previous highest opening position. "I Turn to You" bowed at No. 50 in April 2000.

Aguilera has been missing from the Hot 100 since October 2004, when she was teamed with Nelly on "Tilt Ya Head Back," which stalled at No. 58. Since she made her debut with "Genie in a Bottle" in July 1999, Aguilera had never been away from the chart for a period longer than the 13 months between "Lady Marmalade" in 2001 and "Dirrty" in 2002.

The only single to debut higher than "Ain't No Other Man" in 2006 is Ashley Parker Angel's "Let U Go," which arrived t at No. 17 in April. Aguilera's track is the sixth song to open inside the top 30 this calendar year. Those high-ranking debuts are:

No. 17: "Let U Go," Ashley Parker Angel (April 29)
No. 19: "Ain't No Other Man," Christina Aguilera (June 24)
No. 24: "Stupid Girls," Pink (Feb. 25)
No. 24: "Dani California," Red Hot Chili Peppers (April 22)
No. 28: "Start of Something New," Zac Efron, Andrew Seeley & Vanessa Anne Hudgens (Feb. 11)
No. 28: "Not Ready to Make Nice," Dixie Chicks (May 6)

'CALL' TIME: Christina Aguilera's two-year absence from the Hot 100 is a short hiatus compared to the 10 years that have elapsed since Lionel Richie last appeared on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The veteran artist returns this week with "I Call It Love" (Island), a new entry at No. 66.

Richie was last on this survey with "Ordinary Girl," a No. 76 hit in August 1996. "I Call It Love" is Richie's highest-ranking song since "Don't Wanna Lose You" went to No. 17 in April 1996.

Richie's new single enters the chart just two weeks shy of the 25th anniversary of his self-titled debut. "Endless Love," a duet with Diana Ross, was a new entry the week of July 11, 1981.

Richie's total chart span is much longer when his time with the Commodores is included. With "I Call It Love," it expands to 32 years and one month, dating back to the debut of "Machine Gun" the week of May 25, 1974.

'HOME' IS WHERE THE CHART IS: "A Prairie Home Companion" (New Line) is only the second soundtrack to reach No. 1 on the Top Bluegrass Albums chart. The first was "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" which led the list for 15 weeks in 2002.

"Prairie" is only the 11th album to achieve pole position since the chart was introduced in 2002. Here is a summary of those 11 titles, including the number of weeks spent at No. 1:

"Live," Alison Kraus + Union Station (101 weeks)
"Lonely Runs Both Ways," Alison Kraus + Union Station (51 weeks)
"Why Should the Fire Die?" Nickel Creek (26 weeks)
"O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Soundtrack (15 weeks)
"This Side," Nickel Creek (three weeks)
"A Very Special Acoustic Christmas," Various Artists (three weeks)
"Brand New Strings," Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder (two weeks)
"All American Bluegrass Girl," Rhonda Vincent (two weeks)
"O.C.M.S.," Old Crow Medicine Show (one week)
"Yonder Mountain String Band," Yonder Mountain String Band (one week)
"A Prairie Home Companion," Soundtrack (one week)

THE BEDINGFIELD KIDS: Wonder what dinner is like when all the Bedingfields sit down together? If the conversation turns to how the children are doing at work, it's Natasha's turn to brag. Her third chart entry on the Hot 100, "Single" (Epic), debuts at No. 72.

That pushes her past brother Daniel, who has two chart entries to date with "Gotta Get Thru This" (No. 10 in September 2002) and "If You're Not the One" (No. 15 in May 2003).

Like Daniel, Natasha has one top 10 hit to date, "Unwritten" (No. 5 in April). She also has two non-top 10 hits, including "These Words" (No. 17 in August 2005).