Chart Beat

Prince nets his fourth chart topping album, Daniel Powter moves to the head of the Hot 100, plus Neil Sedaka, the Raconteurs, Kenny Rogers and more.

PARTY LIKE IT’S 3121: If you add 31 + 2 + 1, the total is 34 and coincidentally, Prince spends his 34th week on top of The Billboard 200 with “3121” (Universal Republic), his first chart-topping set in almost 17 years.

The first Prince album to achieve pole position was the soundtrack to “Purple Rain” in 1984. That LP was No. 1 for 24 weeks. A year later, “Around the World in a Day” was No. 1 for three weeks. In the summer of 1989, the soundtrack to “Batman” reigned for six weeks.

It’s been two years since a Prince album debuted on The Billboard 200. “Musicology” entered and peaked at No. 3 the week of May 8, 2004. With “3121” bowing at No. 1, this is the first time Prince has had two consecutive top three titles in the last 20 years. The follow-up to the No. 1 album “Around the World in a Day” was “Parade,” which peaked at No. 3 the week of May 3, 1986.

Prince now has seven top three albums to his credit – his four No. 1 sets plus “Parade,” “Musicology” and one other album that peaked at No. 3, “Diamonds and Pearls,” from 1991.

SEVEN BAD DAYS EQUALS ONE GREAT WEEK: Seven years ago this week, Cher’s “Believe” slipped from the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 after a four-week visit. That was the last time a song on the Warner Bros. label topped the chart until this week. Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” is the 37th single on the Burbank-based imprint to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100.

When the Warner Bros. label was created, one of the first acts signed was the Everly Brothers. Don and Phil’s first WB single, “Cathy’s Clown,” was the label’s first No. 1 hit. The song ruled the Hot 100 for five weeks, beginning with the chart dated May 23, 1960.

Powter is the first solo male artist to have a No. 1 on Warner Bros. since James Ingram spent a week at the summit in October 1990 with “I Don’t Have the Heart.” Powter does give the label one first – he is the first Canadian artist to have a No. 1 on Warner Bros. The company has had international chart-toppers before, mainly from the United Kingdom (Petula Clark, Rod Stewart, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Fleetwood Mac and Dire Straits) and also Norway (a-ha).

Powter is the first Canadian act to occupy the penthouse since Nickelback led the list for four weeks in December 2001-January 2002 with “How You Remind Me.” "Chart Beat" reader Larry Cohen of Trumbull, Conn., notes that Powter is the 18th Canadian-born act to have a No. 1 in the rock era. The other 17 are: Paul Anka, Percy Faith, Lorne Greene, the Guess Who, Neil Young, Terry Jacks, Gordon Lightfoot, Andy Kim, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Anne Murray, Bryan Adams, Sheriff, Alannah Myles, Snow, Celine Dion, Barenaked Ladies and the aforementioned Nickelback. Honorable mention goes to Nick Gilder, born in England and raised in Canada from the age of 10.

“Bad Day” is the seventh song to advance to No. 1 in 2006. That continues the rapid turnover of No. 1 hits on the Hot 100 reported last week. By comparison, the seventh No. 1 of last year arrived the week of Nov. 26, 2005. This is the earliest the seventh No.1 of the year has arrived since 1991, when Timmy T’s “One More Try” became the seventh chart-topper of the year the week of March 23.

Since Powter replaces Sean Paul at No. 1 and Paul’s immediate predecessors were Ne-Yo and James Blunt, there have now been four solo male artists in a row in pole position. That hasn’t happened since 1988, when George Michael’s “Father Figure,” Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” were consecutive No. 1 singles. Ocean’s hit moved into the top spot 18 years ago this week.

With one week at No. 1 under its belt, “Bad Day” is the ninth song in a row to spend five weeks or less at the apex. The last single to spend more than five weeks at No. 1 was “Gold Digger” by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx. They had a 10-week reign from September-November 2005.

The current run of nine consecutive No. 1 songs to spend five weeks or less at the top is the longest since 2000. From June 17 to Nov. 11 of that year, there were 10 songs in a row that spent four weeks or less at No. 1.

While “Bad Day” isn’t by an “American Idol” finalist, Powter does owe the show a thank you. His international hit had been languishing in the United States until the Fox TV series started playing “Bad Day” every week, as underscore music to the video of the departing contestants on results shows.

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” is also the new No. 1 song on Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart, where it replaces James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” (Custard/Atlantic).

It is the first time in the history of this chart that solo male artists have had back-to-back No. 1 hits.

SEDAKA’S BACK: Neil Sedaka began a tour of the United Kingdom on March 29, and to coincide with his live appearances, Universal issued a two-CD set, “The Show Goes On: The Very Best of Neil Sedaka,” featuring classic Sedaka songs from the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, as well as a batch of new songs being released for the first time.

“The Show Goes On” entered the U.K. album chart at No. 20, making it Sedaka’s highest-charting set since “Timeless,” an earlier hits collection, peaked at No. 10 in November 1991.

“The Show Goes On” is the first Sedaka album to appear on the U.K. album chart in the 21st century. His most recent entry was another greatest hits collection, “The Very Best of Neil Sedaka,” which went to No. 33 in June 1999.

Sedaka will be on tour in the United Kingdom through April 13. He plays the Royal Albert Hall in London on April 7.

ROCK ‘STEADY’: Although Jack White has charted on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart as a member of the White Stripes, his new project, the Raconteurs, show up on the modern tally for the first time this week with “Steady, As She Goes” (Third Man/V2), new at No. 24.

That’s the highest new entry for a debut act since December 2002, when Zwan also entered at No. 24 with “Honestly.”

Zwan turned out to be a modern one-hit wonder, so let’s hope the comparison stops there.

IT’S KENNY’S COUNTRY, WE’RE JUST LIVING IN IT: It’s no overstatement to call the No. 5 debut of Kenny Rogers’ new CD on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart “spectacular.” His Capitol release “Water and Bridges” is his highest charting title in over 20 years, since “The Heart of the Matter” went to No. 1 in December 1985.

Rogers has had three albums peak at No. 6 since then: “She Rides Wild Horses” (May 1999), “42 Ultimate Hits” (June 2004) and “21 Number Ones” two months ago.

Rogers made his debut on the country albums survey in July 1976 with “Love Lifted Me,” giving him a chart span of 29 years, eight months and one week.

His span on The Billboard 200 is much longer, as it dates back to the debut of a self-titled album by his group the First Edition in January 1968. With the No. 14 debut of “Water and Bridges,” he now has a chart span of 38 years, two months and four weeks. On The Billboard 200, Rogers’ latest set is his highest-charting album since “Eyes That See in the Dark” peaked at No. 6 in 1983.

COX, CAREY AND BLIGE: Mary J. Blige holds off all challengers on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart as her “Be Without You” (Geffen) retains pole position for the 14th week.

That mans “Be Without You” is tied with “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here” by Deborah Cox and “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey as the longest-running No. 1 songs since this chart was reactivated in 1965 after a brief hiatus.

If Blige is still on top next week, she will hit the 15-week mark and will have first place all to herself.

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