Ask Billboard

Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about Michael Jackson, Brian Wilson and Paula Abdul.



Why hasn't the top 10 hit "Human Nature" from the "Thriller" release been packaged onto any of his three greatest hits packages?

"HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book 1" which was released in 1995, "Number Ones" which was released in 2003 and the most recent "Ultimate Collection" which was released last year.

Thank you and have a great day.

Ed McGill
Los Angeles

Hi Ed,

I apologize for being vague, but with questions like this, there isn't a specific answer (unless I get Michael Jackson on the phone, which seems unlikely).

As with all hits compilations, something is almost always going to be left off. Generally speaking, when such a set is put together the artist, management and label all have opinions on what should or should not be included. With Jackson's body of work, there are simply so many hits it would be impossible to fit all of them onto a tidy single disc. With that in mind, sometimes big hits are left by the side of the road and it would seem that "Human Nature" simply never made the cut on these three sets.

That's not to diminish the song's popularity. The single was a significant hit, reaching No. 7 on Billboard's Hot 100 and No. 27 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.

Last week, Jackson's "Numbers Ones" was at No. 188 on The Billboard 200. It has sold 849,000 units in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan.


Hi there,

My question is in regards to "Brian Wilson Presents 'Smile.'" Considering the man just won his first competitive Grammy for the album's instrumental track "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow," I'm curious as to how many copies of "Smile" have been sold. Has the album shipped enough units to go gold yet?

Thanks for your time,

Andrew Burns

Hi Andrew,

"Smile" has sold 317,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It was the highest debuting album in either Brian Wilson's or the Beach Boys' careers, opening at No. 13 on The Billboard 200 in October 2004. Since then, as you note, the album's "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" won a Grammy and the set been hailed by music critics as one of the best releases of last year.

Wilson recently wrapped a brief tour of Japan, performed as part of the all-star rendition of "Across the Universe" at the Grammy Awards and sang at the opening of the Daytona 500.


Dear Keith

We all know Paula Abdul is currently judging "American Idol," but what comes next for Paula Abdul the singer? Are there any plans for a new record? Is she signed to label? How long ago since she last appeared on the charts?



Hi David,

This is one of the most popular questions Ask Billboard receives. Paula Abdul has openly admitted she is considering the possibility of recording music sometime down the road, though she is not currently signed to a record label.

Her last appearance on any Billboard chart came in 1996, when "Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up" peaked at No. 12 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.

As most know, Abdul lays claim to eight Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hits -- six of which went to No. 1. Her first two studio albums, "Forever Your Girl" and "Spellbound," both reached No. 1 on The Billboard 200.