Fred discusses songs with similar titles, the Academy Awards and more with readers.


Dear Fred,

I've been reading your column for several years now, but I've only written in once before. However, the No. 38 debut of Gavin DeGraw's "We Belong Together" got me thinking. What is the shortest amount of time between two songs with the same title (not cover versions, but different songs, like Mariah Carey's and Gavin DeGraw's songs) hitting No. 1 on the Hot 100?

Or, if this has never happened, what is the shortest amount of time between two such songs hitting the top 10?

I'm sure this is probably one of the shortest periods, if not THE shortest period, between two such songs hitting the top 40 - and Mariah's song is still in the top 40 as I write this!

Thomas John
Bangalore, India

Dear Thomas,

It's way too early to know if Gavin DeGraw's "We Belong Together" will reach No. 1, but there have been a handful of titles that have been shared by one than one chart-topper, like "The Power of Love," "My Love," "Jump," and "I'm Sorry," to name just four.

The shortest time between two No. 1 songs that share the same title but are different songs is the two years between "All 4 Love" by Color Me Badd in January 1992 and "All for Love" by Bryan Adams/Rod Stewart/Sting in January 1994.

If the number "4" standing in for the word "for" bothers you, then I would offer the two years and 10 months between "One More Try" by George Michael in May 1988 and "One More Try" by Timmy T in March 1991.

The longest gap between different No. 1 songs that share the same title is the 29 years and five months between Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey" in April 1968 and Mariah Carey's "Honey" in September 1997.

You asked about songs sharing the same title in the top 10. There was no time elapsed at all between Wilson Phillips' "Hold On" and En Vogue's "Hold On." Both were in the top 10 at the same time in June-July 1990. The week of June 30, they even occupied adjacent positions when Wilson Phillips fell 4-5 and En Vogue moved up 8-6.


Dear Fred,

In your column you mention that [Gavin DeGraw's "We Belong Together"] could be a contender for an Oscar as best original song in 2007 -- given that the song doesn't appear anywhere at all in the movie (or as background music either), could you explain why this song would be Oscar-eligible?

The Oscars rules in this category (from are: "An original song consists of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the film. There must be a clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition (not necessarily visually presented) of both lyric and melody, used in the body of the film or as the first music cue in the end credits."


Brad Evans
Framingham, Mass.

Dear Brad,

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does have definite rules about what is eligible in the original song category and what is not. For example, the "Brokeback Mountain" song that won the Golden Globe is not eligible for an Oscar because of the way it is used in the movie.

While I've seen almost every film eligible for the 2005 awards, I haven't seen many 2006 candidates, including "Tristan and Isolde," so you'll have to tell me how the song is used in the film. If it is the first song heard over the end credits, it's eligible.


Dear Fred,

I just realized something about the two most recent No. 1 singles on The Billboard Hot 100. Their consecutive appearances at the top had to mark the first time in Hot 100 history that a song whose title contained a metaphorical reference to candy ("Laffy Taffy") was replaced at No. 1 by a song that is all about teeth ("Grillz"). I can't believe none of us picked up on it when it first happened.

Do you think the next No. 1 single might be a vague reference to what a dentist might do to a patient who has had too much candy -- "Check On It"?

Darrell Roberts
Bethesda, Md.

Dear Darrell,

Maybe we need a remake of Merril Bainbridge's No. 4 hit from 1996, "Mouth"? As for your guess about "Check On It," as you now know, that song by Beyoncé featuring Slim Thug has indeed replaced "Grillz" at No. 1.