Chart Beat Chat

Fred discusses Diana Ross, the Taylor siblings, charting "American Idols," the Latin charts and Anna Nalick.


Dear Fred,

Many [people] are taking issue with Diana Ross being shut out of The Billboard 200 album chart and being relegated to the Billboard Comprehensive Albums chart. "Blue" was never previously released and is not a catalog album.

Why wasn't "Blue" allowed to chart on the regular album chart in addition to the Comprehensive Albums chart since this is a first-time issue and not a reissue? Also, shouldn't it have been eligible to chart on the regular jazz chart(s) with sales of 7,200, which would definitely have placed it much higher than its debut at No. 132 on the Comprehensive Albums chart?

Since the album sold 7,200 [exclusively at] Starbucks, then it should have been a much bigger hit out of the box than [her last album] "Every Day Is a New Day," which debuted at No. 170 on The Billboard 200.

That was not to be because Diana was prohibited from entering that chart. Whether she was prohibited because she was not in "wide release" or because the title is considered a "catalog" item is unknown, Billboard's chief editorial writers will likely be queried on the matter.

The Billboard Comprehensive Albums chart counts all current titles scanned with catalog titles -- so if a catalog album in a current week were to outsell all current products, the catalog album could be No. 1 on the Comprehensive Albums chart but not The Billboard 200.

In any event, if the Starbucks exclusive had coincided with the general nationwide launch, "Blue" would have undoubtedly enjoyed a much more significant debut than "Every Day Is a New Day" did.

Timmy Lopez-Fitzgerald

Dear Timmy,

I'm a long-time Diana Ross fan, which also describes the wait for "Blue," recorded in 1972. It's a contender for my year-end top 10 favorites list.

I do disagree with your suggestion that the reason this album hasn't appeared on The Billboard 200 yet is "unknown." The chart rules are very clear: albums available exclusively at one retailer are not eligible for Billboard charts. It doesn't matter if the exclusive retailer is Wal-Mart, Target or Starbucks, the rule is clear and all record companies and retailers are aware of this policy.

I can assure you that it did not come as a surprise to the Starbucks folks that "Blue" wouldn't be eligible to chart until it saw wide release. If chart position was the most important item to the record label, those executives would have pursued a different marketing strategy. Instead, I'm sure that maximizing sales was uppermost in their thoughts.

I can't confirm or deny sales figures, and there's no way to know where "Blue" would have debuted had it been in wide release in comparison to "Every Day Is a New Day." "Blue" will be available everywhere on June 20, so keep an eye on The Billboard 200 to see if the album can debut after going into wide release.


Dear Fred:

Livingston Taylor has a new duet with Carly Simon? Isn't that impossible? I believe he died years ago -- maybe around the time Andy Gibb died, circa 1987.

Thank you,

Andy Ray

Dear Andy,

There are a lot of Taylor siblings, so it's understandable that you might be confused about which one died. Livingston is very much alive; it was Alex who passed away, in 1993.

For the record, the Taylor family consisted of four brothers (James, Livingston, Alex and Hugh) and one sister (Kate).

For details of Livingston Taylor's duet with Carly Simon on "Best of Friends" entering our Adult Contemporary chart, see Chart Beat.


Hi Fred,

I just read your Chart Beat column, which is a weekly must for me. You added two to the list of "American Idols" who have charted, as Chris Daughtry and Taylor Hicks debuted on the Hot 100 this week. If you look over on the Pop 100, Elliott Yamin and Katharine McPhee also debuted this week with their tracks from the season five CD.

Also, looking back at season two's finalists, I have another contestant who charted in Billboard, though you may want to put an asterisk next to this one. Twelfth place finalist Vanessa Olivarez was listed in Billboard on Canada's singles chart, though the name of her hit escapes me at the moment.

I really enjoy your "Idol" coverage.


Mike Marquardt
Gettysburg, Pa.

Dear Mike,

Billboard does publish a number of charts from around the world, but only domestic charts are counted as official Billboard charts. That means I can't include Vanessa Olivarez in our "Idol" count, though I have mentioned her achievement many times. Her double-sided hit was "The One"/"I'm in Love With My Best Friend's Ex," and I thought she did a great job on both sides.

Elliot Yamin and Katharine McPhee are another matter. Their debuts on the Pop 100 bring the count of charting Idols to 22. Chart Beat has such an early deadline, that sometimes the column is turned in before I can see all of the new charts. Thanks to your observation, the column has been updated to give Elliott and Katharine their due. Who knows how quickly the count will go up again...


Hello Fred,

Another Chart Beat addict here. Your columns are the highlight of my week.

Your total for the "American Idol" season four contestants charting in Billboard should be three since Mario Vazquez' single "Gallery" appeared on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart. I know the single didn't chart this week, but with the video out the single is bound to pick up some steam soon and hopefully appear on other Billboard charts. I think the song is beautiful and Mario's vocals are great.

Also, I'm very happy with Chris Daughtry's chart success. If I'm not mistaken, it is the first time since Clay Aiken that a contestant is charting higher than the season's winner. Am I right?


Gabriel Duque
Miami Beach, Fla.

P.S. I think it should have been Chris' picture in your column.

Dear Gabriel,

Just an hour ago I was having dinner with a friend and he asked me how Mario's single was doing. Since I was out of the country for three weeks, I missed the debut of "Gallery" on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart.

Although Mario withdrew from the show, he was a top 12 finalist and so we have a brand new total of charting Idols, at 23.

I don't make the photo selections, but thanks for your suggestion.


As a fan of Latin music, I enjoy reading the Hot Latin Songs chart. I'm moving to Mexico very soon, and although I already have a high proficiency level in Spanish, Spanish-language songs teach me additional vocabulary and sentence structures I don't hear as often in real life when I'm in Mexico, especially since a lot of the songs are from other places like Puerto Rico. However, I feel the Hot Latin Songs chart has several discrepancies as far as what songs can and cannot be on the chart.

While I have never seen the chart policy in print, a requirement to appear on the chart is that the song must be in Spanish, according to Wikipedia. If this is the case, I am confused as to how both "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean and "Temperature" by Sean Paul have made it on to the chart. Yes, "Hips Don't Lie" has some Spanish in it, but the majority of the song is in English. Also, as far as "Temperature," how did that song ever get on the chart? As far as I can tell, there's no Spanish at all in the song.

I also have issue with the chart name. If only Spanish-language songs can chart, the name is misleading. Theoretically, songs from Brazil should be able to chart but can't, due to artists from Brazil speaking Portuguese and not Spanish. By Latin, do you mean "Latin American" or do you mean "Latin speaking"? If you mean Latin American, songs from Brazil should be able to chart, but not songs from Spain (as I've seen many on the charts, such as in this week's chart I see "Muneca de Trapo" by La Oreja de Van Gogh). If you mean Latin-speaking, then any song in a Latin language should be able to chart, including Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian and all other Romance languages.

Therefore, I propose one of three possibilities:

1. If you want to have a Spanish-language only chart, then the chart should be renamed "Hot Spanish Language Songs" and only songs that are primarily in Spanish should be allowed. That means no "Hips Don't Lie" and definitely no "Temperature."

2. If you want a Latin American chart, then the chart should be renamed "Hot Latin American Songs." Songs from Spain should be excluded, whereas songs from Brazil should be included. In this case, "Hips Don't Lie" would be allowed because Shakira is from Colombia, however "Temperature" would still be excluded.

3. If you want a Latin language chart, then the chart should be renamed "Hot Romance Language Songs" and all songs primarily in a Romance language should be allowed, including Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian and all other Romance languages. This would once again exclude "Hips Don't Lie" and definitely once again exclude "Temperature."

Can you please explain how "Temperature" ever made it on to the chart? It doesn't fit, no matter what rules you're using, because it's not in Spanish, it's not from Latin America and it's not even in a Romance language (English is a Germanic language).

I'd appreciate a response to my e-mail and hope that my suggestions will be considered by Billboard, because the current chart policy is unfair to a lot of artists.

Thank you very much,

Joseph-Martin Sellers

Dear Joseph-Martin,

Thanks for being interested enough in the Billboard charts to put together a thoughtful letter. Your suggestions would have merit if your original assumptions about the charts were correct, but you start with a false assumption.

While I find myself checking Wikipedia every now and then, its uniqueness as a collaborative effort where anyone can contribute can be its downfall. I have read many incorrect entries, starting with facts about me that I know are wrong.

There is no chart policy that songs have to be recorded in Spanish to appear on the Hot Latin Songs chart. But that's just part of the explanation as to how "Hips Don't Lie" and "Temperature" can appear on this chart.

First, it's important to understand that there are three main types of Billboard charts: sales charts (such as The Billboard 200), airplay charts (such as Adult Contemporary, Mainstream Top 40 and Hot Latin Songs) and charts that combine sales and airplay data (such as the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs). Airplay charts are reflective of specific music formats on the radio. The Hot Latin Songs chart is based solely on airplay at radio stations that identify themselves as playing Latin music.

Currently, 103 stations are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems. Those 103 stations include broadcasters playing Latin pop, Latin rhythm, tropical and regional Mexican music. "Hips Don't Lie" and "Temperature" are receiving enough airplay at those stations to chart. If enough Latin stations decided to play a country song by Carrie Underwood, you'd see that title on Hot Latin Songs, too.


Hi Fred,

Could you please explain the return of Anna Nalick's "Breathe (2 AM)" to the Hot 100?


Bryan Wolf
Hayward, Calif.

Dear Bryan,

You were one of many readers who wanted an explanation for the return of Anna Nalick's song to the Hot 100 last week.

I checked with Hot 100 chart manager Silvio Pietroluongo, who confirmed my suspicion that Columbia Records is actively promoting the song to Mainstream Top 40 radio after it was heard on the TV series "Grey's Anatomy." Since it's been more than six months since "Breathe (2 AM)" appeared on the chart, the song's renewed status as a current hit would allow it another 20-week chart run, should it be able to last that long. This week the single drops 45-50.