Chart Beat Chat

Fred discusses Beyonce, CeCe Winans, Jack Johnson, Lifehouse, Kelly Clarkson and more with readers.


Hi, Fred!

Thanks always for your informative and entertaining column!

I recall a few years ago when Jennifer Lopez charted with her third Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 ("Ain't It Funny" featuring Ja Rule), it became her third (of her first three No. 1s) to stay on top for five weeks or more. If Beyoncé holds on for another week, she (as a solo artist outside Destiny's Child) would join that "club," true?

Also, given that Beyoncé is credited as a songwriter on "Check On It" and "Grillz," I'm wondering who was the last female songwriter to earn two back-to-back No. 1s on the Hot 100 -- Diane Warren? Mariah Carey and Carole King have come close.

Since I'm mentioning talented females, let's hear it for Dolly Parton, capturing her first top 40 hit on the Hot 100 in quite some time ("When I Get Where I'm Going" by Brad Paisley featuring Dolly Parton, No. 39 this week).

Last, with the current success of Jack Johnson's new disc, I'm curious how many Hawaiians -- though wonderful Jack is not a native in the true sense of the word -- have achieved a No. 1 on any major chart (The Billboard 200, Hot 100, etc.)?


Pablo Nelson
Berkeley, Calif.

Dear Pablo,

The first Jennifer Lopez song to hit No. 1, "If You Had My Love," had a five-week reign. "I'm Real" was her next chart-topper, and that song also led the list for five weeks. Her third No. 1, "Ain't It Funny," remained in pole position for six weeks.

The first two Beyoncé No. 1 hits away from Destiny's Child had even longer runs. "Crazy in Love" dominated for eight weeks and "Baby Boy" lasted one frame longer -- nine weeks. So if "Check On It" can rack up another week on top, Beyoncé will match Lopez' achievement of having your first three No. 1 songs stay on top for five weeks or more.

Diane Warren was indeed the first female songwriter to have back-to-back No 1s. In November 1989, her song "When I See You Smile," recorded by Bad English, was knocked off its perch by another Warren song, "Blame It on the Rain," recorded by Milli Vanilli.

While I know off the top of my head that New Jersey-born, Hawaii-raised Bette Midler has been to No. 1, Billboard doesn't keep a state-by-state breakdown of chart-topping artists.

We can't move on to the next letter without elaborating on Dolly Parton, so thanks for mentioning her current hit. This is her first time in the top 40 of the Hot 100 since her No. 1 duet with Kenny Rogers, "Islands in the Stream," charted in 1983.


Dear Fred,

What an amazing feat CeCe Winans achieves this week, as her "Let Everything That Has Breath" leaps 31-20 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart. This track from her outstanding "Purified" album, this year's best contemporary soul gospel album Grammy recipient, allows her to become the first member of America's first family of gospel to enter the chart.

The last Winans to place a song on a dance list was CeCe's nephew, Mario, with "I Don't Wanna Know," a No. 23 single on Hot Dance Radio Airplay in 2004. Although artists such as the various Winans members, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary and Donnie McClurkin have placed songs on the R&B and pop tallies, how many gospel artists have charted on the dance lists? Further, how have contemporary Christian artists fared in the dance field? I know Amy Grant had success with a number of singles from her "Heart In Motion" album (most notably, "Baby Baby") in the early '90s.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your "Chart Beat" columns in print and online over the years and continue to do so. I look forward to hearing about your input on this season's American Idol!

Robert Nongrum
Calgary, Alberta

Dear Robert,

Thanks for pointing out CeCe Winans' hit on the dance club play chart. Finding the answers to your questions about gospel and contemporary Christian artists will require some deeper research, so you'll have to give me a little more time to reply to that part of your e-mail.

Just today I was looking at the faces and names of the 24 finalists for season five of "American Idol," wondering which one will be the first to top a Billboard chart. Since the "Idol" franchise has produced 87 No. 1s so far (counting all charts published by the Billboard Information Group), it's likely that one or more of these 24 hopefuls will find their names sitting on top of a Billboard chart in just a few months time.


Dear Fred,

This is a really special week for Jack Johnson. The "Curious George" soundtrack is not only his first No. 1 album, but his CD is actually the 2,000th title to enter the top 5 on The Billboard 200 (the 1,000th being Sinead O' Connor's "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" back in 1990). Starting with the bi-weekly published album chart back in 1955, it took little more than a half-century to have 2,000 albums reach the top five.


Constantine S.-D. Ananiades
Athens, Greece

Dear Constantine,

Wonder when we'll get to 3,000?

Thanks for counting. I'm not going to check your math, so I'll take your word for it, and I'm sure Jack Johnson will, too.

You weren't the only person in Greece counting on the Billboard charts this week. See the next e-mail.


Dear Mr. Bronson,

"You and Me" by Lifehouse has been on the Billboard Hot 100 for 54 weeks. What songs have remained on the chart longer than that?

Best regards,
George Galateros
Naxos Town, Cyclades Islands, Greece

Dear George,

The Lifehouse song "You and Me" is one of the longest-running songs on the Hot 100 in recent memory. Slipping just one spot to No. 35 this week, the single is likely to remain on the chart for a while.

Will it be long enough to challenge the all-time champ? Probably not, but just one more week on the Hot 100 will place "You and Me" among the top 10 longest-running titles in the history of this chart.

Here is the top 10, with the years in which these songs first peaked:

69 weeks: "How Do I Live," LeAnn Rimes (1997)
65 weeks: "Foolish Games / You Were Meant for Me," Jewel (1997)
60 weeks: "Macarena" (Bayside Boys Mix), Los Del Rio (1996)
58 weeks: "Smooth," Santana featuring Rob Thomas (1999)
57 weeks: "Higher," Creed (2000)
56 weeks: "I Don't Want to Wait," Paula Cole (1998)
56 weeks: "The Way You Love Me," Faith Hill (2001)
55 weeks: "Barely Breathing," Duncan Sheik (1997)
55 weeks: "Missing," Everything But the Girl (1996)
55 weeks: "Amazed," Lonestar (2000)


Dear Fred,

It's deja vu all over again as the 4-19 drop in the second week on the Billboard Hot 100 for "Breaking Free" by Zac Efron, Andrew Seeley and Vanessa Anne Hudgens exactly matches the 4-19 drop in the second week on the Hot 100 almost three years ago for "God Bless the U.S.A." by American Idol Finalists. Can we expect to see more of these feats?

To answer Adrian Ciba's recent question, the shortest record to reach the Hot 100 was "Little Boxes" by the Womenfolk, at 1:02.

David Dana-Bashian
Garden Grove, Calif.

Dear David,

With the advent of paid digital downloads, buying patterns have certainly changed, so I think we can expect more anomalies on the Hot 100 like performances from televised specials. The Melissa Etheridge/Joss Stone duet from last year's Grammys had a similar short chart life, as did the Paul McCartney/U2 collaboration on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" from Live 8.

The songs from the Disney Channel TV movie "High School Musical" struck such an immediate chord with viewers, that nine of the songs from the soundtrack were able to chart simultaneously, an amazing feat. Without radio airplay and without sustained promotion, it's not surprising that the songs had short, bright lives.

Many readers e-mailed me about the timing of "Little Boxes" (a song that is now the theme tune for the Showtime TV series "Weeds"), but you were the first.


Dear Fred,

In the wake of the Grammys, Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" returns to the top 10 of The Billboard 200, marking the 10th separate stay in that part of the chart for this album. That is by far the most number of separate top 10 trips by a single album that I can recall -- the album's resilience is amazing.

Love your column as always,

Michael Ming
Penn Valley, Pa.

Dear Michael,

Televised awards shows usually give albums big boosts and that's definitely what happened to "Breakaway" following Kelly Clarkson's perfect performance of "Because of You" on the Grammys. Winning in two categories also helped, as has her amazing run of hit singles.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.