Chart Beat

Stevie makes his highest album chart debut since the mid-'70s, Madonna posts her 51st Hot 100 single, Shakira breaks a Hot Latin Songs record, plus news on Rod Stewart, Gwen Stefanin & others.

DELIVERED: It took a while, but it was worth it. Stevie Wonder's long-promised "A Time to Love" (Motown) enters The Billboard 200 at No. 5, the highest debut for a Wonder title since "Songs in the Key of Life" made what was then a rare debut at No. 1 in 1976.

Wonder was last in the top 5 20 years ago this month, when "In Square Circle" peaked at No. 5. "A Time to Love" is the 27th Wonder album to chart since he made his first appearance on The Billboard 200 the week of July 13, 1963, with "Little Stevie Wonder/The 12 Year Old Genius."

Now a 55-year-old genius, Wonder collects his 11th top 10 album with "A Time to Love." All 11 have reached the top five. Wonder has had three No. 1 albums, two that peaked at No. 3, four that went to No. 4 and two that reached No. 5.

All of the albums that have charted during Wonder's span of 42 years, three months and three weeks have been recorded for Motown. From 1963-1985, Wonder's albums were issued on the company's Tamla imprint.

"A Time to Love" is his first album of new material to chart pm The Billboard 200 since "Conversation Peace" peaked at No. 16 in April 1995. The only other Wonder CD to appear on the list since then was "The Definitive Collection," which went to No. 35 in November 2002.

On Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally, "A Time to Love" debuts at No. 2. It's the first top 10 album there for Wonder since "Conversation Peace" debuted and peaked at No. 2 in April 1995.

"Love" is the 31st Wonder album to appear on the R&B/Hip-Hop survey and is Wonder's 23rd top 10 title. But that doesn't move him up on the list of artists with the most top 10 albums. Wonder remains in fourth place, behind James Brown (25), Aretha Franklin (30) and the Temptations (32).

GUNG HO ON 'HUNG': Madonna made her Billboard Hot 100 debut 22 years and one week ago with "Holiday." This week, she scores her 51st chart entry as "Hung Up" (Maverick) makes a lofty entrance at No. 20. It's the seventh Madonna song to debut in the top 20, and the first since "Ray of Light" beamed onto the list at No. 5 the week of July 11, 1998.

Madonna's highest-raking debuts to date are:
"Ray of Light," debuted at No. 5 (1998)
"You'll See," No. 8 (1995)
"Frozen," No. 8 (1998)
"Erotica," No. 13 (1992)
"Rescue Me," No. 15 (1991)
"Don't Cry for Me Argentina," No. 17 (1997)
"Hung Up," No. 20 (2005)

"Hung Up" is the fifth single to debut in the top 20 in 2005. The top five debuts of the year are:
"Inside Your Heaven," Carrie Underwood (No. 1)
"Inside Your Heaven," Bo Bice (No. 2)
"Speed of Sound," Coldplay (No. 8)
"American Baby," Dave Matthews Band (No. 19)
"Hung Up," Madonna (No. 20)

"Hung Up" is already Madonna's highest-charting single since "Die Another Day" peaked at No. 8 the week of Nov. 9, 2002. Of Madonna's 51 chart entries, 42 have placed in the top 20. If "Hung Up" continues its journey up the Hot 100, it could become the 36th Madonna song to land in the top 10.

"Hung Up" brings two familiar names back to the Hot 100 after an absence of 20 years and four months. Since "Hung Up" is based on ABBA's "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)," Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson are included in the songwriting credits. This marks their first appearance on the Hot 100 since 2000, when the A-Teens' remake of "Dancing Queen" peaked at No. 95. Before that, the two male members of ABBA were last on the chart in 1985, when Murray Head went to No. 3 with "One Night in Bangkok," from the musical "Chess."

As songwriters, Ulvaeus and Andersson have a chart span that is now extended to 31 years and five months, dating back to the June 1, 1974, debut of ABBA's "Waterloo" on the Hot 100.

It's been a good week for the two male members of ABBA. On Oct. 22, "Waterloo" was named the favorite Eurovision Song Contest winner of all time by viewers of a European TV special celebrating the 50th anniversary of the competition.

GOLDEN YEARS: With "Gold Digger" (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam) by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx claiming an eighth week at No. 1 on the Hot 100, there have now been four songs that have remained in pole position for eight weeks or more in 2005. The other three are "Let Me Love You" by Mario (nine weeks), "Candy Shop" by 50 Cent featuring Olivia (nine weeks) and "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey (14 weeks).

This is only the second time this century that there have been four or more songs that have remained No. 1 for eight weeks or more in a calendar year.

In 2003, "In Da Club" by 50 Cent, "Baby Boy" by Beyoncé featuring Sean Paul and "Hey Ya!" by OutKast were all on top for nine weeks, while "Crazy in Love" by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z ruled for eight weeks.

In 2000, 2002 and 2004, only two songs were No. 1 for eight weeks or more in each year. In 2001, there weren't any chart-toppers that went past seven weeks. The longest-running No. 1 song of 2001 was Janet Jackson's "All for You," which led the tally for seven weeks.

THIS ONE'S IV YOU: The fourth installment of Rod Stewart's "Great American Songbook" series debuts on The Billboard 200 at No. 2. That means all four volumes have peaked in the top 5. With "Thanks for the Memory" (J) in the runner-up spot, Stewart has put together his second string of four consecutive top five albums.

Not counting greatest hits collections, Stewart's first run of four consecutive top 5 albums began in 1975, when he made his Warner Bros. label debut after seven hit albums on Mercury. "Atlantic Crossing" peaked at No. 9 in 1975, followed by "A Night on the Town" (No. 2 in 1976), "Foot Loose & Fancy Free" (No. 2 in 1978) and "Blondes Have More Fun" (No. 1 in 1979).

Stewart's second run of four consecutive top 5 albums began with "It Had to Be You... The Great American Songbook," No. 4 in November 2002. It was followed by "As Time Goes By... The Great American Songbook Vol. II," No. 2 in November 2003 and "Stardust... The Great American Songbook Collection Vol. III," No. 1 in November 2004.

"Thanks for the Memory...The Great American Songbook Vol. IV" (J) is Stewart's 34th solo album to chart and the 11th to reach the top 10.

BROKEN RECORD: Two weeks ago, I suggested that Shakira's "La Tortura" (Epic), recorded with Alejandro Sanz, had a chance to break the record for the longest-running No. 1 song in the history of Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart.

With "La Tortura" remaining on top for the 21st (non-consecutive) week, that record is now officially broken. The previous longevity champ was "A Puro Dolor" by Son By Four, No. 1 for 20 weeks in 2000.

LAP OF LUXURY: With the debut of "Luxurious" (Interscope) on the Billboard Hot 100, Gwen Stefani has culled five hit songs from her album "Love. Angel. Music. Baby." After "What You Waiting For?" peaked at No. 47, Stefani had three top 20 hits in a row: "Rich Girl" (No. 7), "Hollaback Girl" (No. 1 for four weeks) and "Cool" (No. 13). "Luxury" opens at No. 80.

The last artist to have five Hot 100 entries from one album was Usher. His "Confessions" set spawned four No. 1 hits ("Yeah!," "Burn," "Confessions Part II" and "My Boo") and one other top 10 hit ("Caught Up").

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