Chart Beat

Richard Marx Helps Keith Urban To Another No. 1, Young Jeezy Reaches The R&B/Hip-Hop Summit, Garth Brooks Returns To The Charts & Much

URBAN DEVELOPMENT: The 2-1 move of Keith Urban's "Better Life" (Capitol) on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart gives composer Richard Marx his second chart-topper on this survey, 20 years and seven months after his first.

Marx made his breakthrough as a songwriter in 1984 when Kenny Rogers recorded three of his songs on his "What About Me?" album (which coincidentally made its Billboard chart debut 21 years ago this week). One of those three songs was "Crazy," which spent one week in pole position in March 1985.

Marx is one of those rare songwriters who has experienced success in a number of musical genres. Three of his own self-penned singles have topped the Hot 100: "Hold on to the Nights," "Satisfied" and "Right Here Waiting." On the Adult Contemporary tally, Marx's recordings of "Keep Coming Back" and "Now and Forever" have been No. 1, as has a song he wrote for 'N Sync, "This I Promise You."

While he hasn't topped Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Marx has had success on this chart with "Somebody Took My Love" by Durell Coleman in 1985 and the Grammy-winning "Dance With My Father" by Luther Vandross in 2003.

"Better Life," written by Marx and Urban at the former's home in Chicago, is the seventh No. 1 on the country chart for Urban in just over five years. The New Zealand-born, Australia-raised artist made his debut on Hot Country Songs the week of Aug. 28, 1999 with "It's a Love Thing," which peaked at No. 18. After "Your Everything" peaked at No. 4 in September 2000, Urban's third chart entry, "But for the Grace of God," was the first to reach pole position.

Here is a chronological list of Urban's No. 1 hits:

"But for the Grace of God," one week (2001)
"Somebody Like You," six weeks (2002)
"Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me," one week (2003)
"You'll Think of Me," two weeks (2004)
"Days Go By," four weeks (2004)
"Making Memories of Us," five weeks (2005)
"Better Life," one week to date (2005)

"Better Life" is the 16th song to advance to No. 1 on the country chart in 2005. That's a slightly faster pace than the turnover of chart-toppers in 2004. One year ago this week, "I Hate Everything" by George Strait became the 15th No. 1 of the calendar year.

OUTWIT, OUTLAST, OUTCHART: The turnover rate of No. 1 songs on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart is considerably slower than on the country list. "Soul Survivor" (Corporate Thugz/Def Jam) by Young Jeezy featuring Akon climbs 2-1, making it the ninth song to advance to the summit in 2005.

Just like the country chart, that's one more No. 1 than last year. A year ago this week, "My Boo" by Usher and Alicia Keys became the eighth No. 1 of 2004."Soul Survivor" marks the first time at the top for both Young Jeezy and Akon.

LOUDER THAN 'THUNDER': Garth Brooks breaks his own record for the highest debut on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart since it was first compiled from airplay data supplied by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems in 1991. Brooks has held the record for just over 14 years.

His eighth chart entry, "The Thunder Rolls," crashed onto the chart at No. 19 the week of May 18, 1991. No song has debuted higher until this week. Brooks makes his first appearance on this chart since June 2003 with his 76th chart entry, "Good Ride Cowboy" (Pearl), new at No. 18.

That incredible debut appears to tie the previous highest debut on the country chart. The week of Dec. 23, 1978, Eddie Rabbitt opened at No. 18 with the title song from the Clint Eastwood flick, "Every Which Way But Loose."

On the Hot 100, "Good Ride Cowboy" is only the sixth chart entry for Brooks, and his first since "Wrapped Up in You" peaked at No. 46 in December 2001. "Cowboy" is new at No. 93.

'BRASS' IN POCKET: Elsewhere on the Hot Country Songs chart, Josh Gracin's third chart entry becomes his third top 5 hit. "Stay With Me (Brass Bed)" (Lyric Street) edges up 6-5.

Second season "American Idol" finalist Gracin made his first appearance on the country tally the week of March 13, 2004, with "I Want to Live," which peaked five months later at No. 4. The follow-up, "Nothin' to Lose," spent one week at No. 1 in March of this year.

JUST 'BECAUSE': One season before Josh Gracin finished fourth on "American Idol," Kelly Clarkson walked away with the title. Three years after making her debut on The Billboard Hot 100, Clarkson collects the sixth top 10 hit of her career and the fourth from her "Breakaway" CD as "Because of You" (RCA) jumps 14-9.

The first three singles from Clarkson's second album were the title song (No. 6), "Since U Been Gone" (No. 2) and "Behind These Hazel Eyes" (No. 6). Clarkson's first two top 10 hits were "A Moment Like This" (No. 1 in October 2002) and "Miss Independent" (No. 9 in July 2003).

NEW SENSATION: With a new lead singer chosen by the viewers of the CBS-TV series "Rock Star: INXS," the Australian band returns to The Billboard Hot 100 after a gap of 12 and a half years. Canadian-born J.D. Fortune is the new voice of INXS. He steps into a role held by Michael Hutchence until his Nov. 22, 1997, death.

If it was a gamble to select a new lead singer via a TV talent competition, it has paid off for INXS. "Pretty Vegas," the group's debut on the Epic label after a career-long stint on Atlantic, bows on the Hot 100 at No. 37. That's the highest debut ever for an INXS song.

The entry of "Pretty Vegas" comes 22 and a half years after the appearance of the first INXS chart single, "The One Thing," which peaked at No. 30 in 1983. The band had its first top 5 single with its sixth chart entry, "What You Need," in 1986. After two more singles failed to break into the top 40, INXS had a run of six top 10 hits, beginning with the group's only No. 1 song, "Need You Tonight," in January 1988.

WILL THE RECORD BE UNBROKEN? To break the record or not to break the record -- that is the question on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart, and it won't be answered until next week. For now, Shakira and Alejandro Sanz have to be content with holding the No. 1 position on this chart for the 19th non-consecutive week with "La Tortura" (Epic/Sony Discos).

Since the all-time record for longest stay at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs tally is the 20-week reign of "A Puro Dolor" by Son by Four in 2000, Shakira and Alejandro could tie the record next week and surpass it in two weeks.

"La Tortura" is Shakira's fifth Latin chart-topper. "Ciega, Sordomuda" spent three weeks on top, starting in November 1998. The follow-up, "Tu," led the list for one week in February 1999. "Suerte" held sway for seven weeks, starting in October 2001. "Que Me Quedes Tu" also had a lone week in pole position, in March 2003.

"La Tortura" is the first No. 1 on this chart for Sanz. His previous peak performance was the No. 2 song "Amiga Mia" in June 1998.

FILE UNDER 'F': Alright, you might want to actually file Fiona Apple under "A," but the artist who can hardly be described as prolific earns the highest debut of her career on The Billboard 200, as does Glaswegian group Franz Ferdinand. Occupying adjacent positions, Apple and Franz Ferdinand enter at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively.

The entry of Apple's third album, "Extraordinary Machine" (Clean Slate/Epic), is not only her highest debuting set, but her first top 10 album. "Tidal" peaked at No. 15 in September 1997 and "When the Pawn..." stopped at No. 13 in November 1999.

"You Could Have It So Much Better" (Domino/Epic) fares so much better than Franz Ferdinand's first self-titled CD, which topped out at No. 32 the week of July 10, 2004.

FILE UNDER 'E': The ninth Melissa Etheridge album to appear on The Billboard 200 is her highest-charting title in four years. "Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled" (Island/Chronicles) is a new entry at No. 14, one rung higher than the No. 15 debut and peak of "Lucky" in February 2004. In July 2001, "Skin" checked in at No. 9.

Only three of Etheridge's albums have charted higher than the new greatest hits collection. Aside from "Skin," they are "Your Little Secret" (No. 6 in December 1995) and "Breakdown" (No. 12 in October 1999).

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

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