CHART BEAT CHAT
Fred Bronson discusses Grammys and charts, new Billboard charts, Anne Murray and Tina Turner with readers.HERE WE GO AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME
"Here We Go Again" by Ray Charles and Norah Jones is the second Grammy winner for record of the year that did not chart on the Hot 100. The first was the 2001 winner, U2's "Walk On" (which may have "bubbled under," I'm not sure).
Counting all record of the year winners, 27 out of 47 have been No. 1 singles. So far every song that has won song of the year has charted.
You're right about "Here We Go Again." The track, credited to Ray Charles with Norah Jones, peaked at No. 26 on Billboard's Hot Digital Tracks chart in September 2004, but that is the only chart where the song has appeared to date. Perhaps the Grammy win will stir up new interest in the duet, a remake of a song that peaked at No. 15 in 1967 when it was a solo recording by Charles.
I checked our chart archives, and U2's "Walk On" peaked at No. 18 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart in March 2001. "Walk On" also appeared elsewhere, peaking at No. 10 on the Modern Rock Tracks tally, No. 19 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks list and No. 21 on the Adult Top 40 chart.
SONGS VS. TRACKS
What's the difference between the Hot Digital Tracks and Hot Digital Songs charts? They both seem to track the same thing, yet their rankings are different.
Also, I'm really pleased with the adjustment to the Hot 100 methodology. In a local radio discussion in January, I had commented on the explosion in digital download sales in 2004, the fact that this data was still excluded from the Hot 100 unless a hardcopy was commercially available and that Billboard would have to make a change in order to keep the chart truly representative. So said -- so done! Kudos to the Billboard chart team!
Thanks. The e-mails that I have received on the changes to the Hot 100 and the introduction of the new Pop 100 have been unanimously favorable.
On the Hot Digital Songs chart, all versions of a song are combined into one chart position. On Hot Digital Tracks, clean and explicit versions would chart separately, as would singles remixes and original album versions.
The Hot Digital Songs chart is published in Billboard and both charts are available online.
THE SNOWBIRD FLIES AGAIN
I agree with a lot of your readers that it was great to have you highlight the latest achievement by country legend Anne Murray. So often overlooked and definitely underrated, Murray has one of the voices of the century. A smooth and sultry alto, she is pitch perfect and effortlessly glides from note to note with an understated elegance rarely found in singers of any genre.
What's really great about her story is that she continues to record great albums. What's sad about her story is that country music and radio won't give her any due. Artists and listeners today would do well to embrace her music. Murray is a lesson learned with nearly every note. Her latest, "All of Me," is probably a liability because it is another of too many "greatest [hits]" packagings of her music. The salvation? New and wondrous recordings.
What are the chances you can get your colleagues in the reviews department to get her album noticed? After all, there is a generation of listeners who many not know just how much "they needed her." Thanks!!
I just purchased "All of Me" this week and I'm looking forward to hearing it. I already have all of Anne's greatest hits on CD, but since there is also an entire CD of new material, I thought it was worth having.
I can't promise a review, but I'll send your request to the person in charge.
About a year ago I wrote you regarding my thought that Billboard needed a separate "Pop" chart. At that time, you stated there really was not a need. Last week, a new "Pop" chart appeared. What happened?
In the last year I received a number of e-mails suggesting a chart just for pop music. My general reply was always that Billboard's singles and tracks charts are all based on specific radio formats -- R&B/hip-hop, country, adult contemporary, etc. There is no specific radio format just for pop music.
There is, however, mainstream top 40 radio. This is the "pop" music of today. Mainstream top 40 does play a lot of R&B/hip-hop but virtually no country. Some modern rock tracks are played and a few adult contemporary songs make it onto mainstream top 40 radio as well.
Over the last year, the chart department staff gave a lot of thought of how to improve the Hot 100. The changes that were implemented a few weeks ago reflect those thought processes. At the same time, they developed a new chart that would include all singles sales, but only airplay from mainstream top 40 radio. That is the chart that has been dubbed the Pop 100 and I think it's an excellent addition to the list of charts compiled by Billboard.
As you probably know, I have long been a proponent of pop music. Anyone who has been reading my year-end top 10 lists knows of my interest in pop music from all over the world. A few months ago, I mentioned in "Chart Beat Chat" that I was thinking of launching "Radio Fred Bronson" as an Internet radio station. Well, RFB is now on the "air," and you can listen 24/7.
I'll be the first to say it's an odd, unique mix of music, combining Europop, Eurovision entries, oldies from the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s and "Idols" from all over the world. The link to listen is www.live365.com/stations/seeaboutme and you do need a broadband connection to hear the station. If you'd like to listen and let me know what you think, write to me here at "Chart Beat Chat."
WHERE WAS TINA?
I just read your column and I was very surprised that there was no mention of the incredible debut (at No. 2) of Tina Turner's "All the Best." I assumed she was going to be your top story.
I'm, at best, a casual Tina fan but I give her a ton of credit for pulling this off at her age. She had Oprah to help and all, but she still deserves a lot of credit.
The answer lies in the title of the column. "Chart Beat Bonus" is "bonus" material, a column written after I write the print edition of "Chart Beat" that appears in Billboard. Tina Turner's debut at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 was definitely the top chart story of the week, and the lead item in my print column.
"Chart Beat Bonus" is intended to cover chart achievements not mentioned in the print column. Sometimes I'll take a different angle on the same chart feat, but Tina's debut was well-covered in the print column. For you and others who didn't see the story, I'm reprinting it here:
Tina Turner was 26 years old when she made her first appearance on the Billboard albums chart. Forty years and two weeks later, at age 66, she has the highest-charting album of her career, thanks to the No. 2 debut of "All the Best" (Capitol).
Although she debuted on The Billboard Hot 100 the week of Aug. 29, 1960, with the Ike & Tina Turner single "A Fool in Love," Turner had to wait almost five more years before returning to the albums chart. "Live! The Ike & Tina Turner Show" debuted on the list the week of Feb. 6, 1965, and peaked at No. 126.
Another 10 years would pass before Turner appeared on the album survey as a solo artist. "Acid Queen," featuring the title song that she sang in the film version of the Who's "Tommy," entered the week of Sept. 20, 1975. That LP peaked at No. 155.
And then almost nine more years went by before Turner placed another album on the chart. In 1984, her stunning comeback single "What's Love Got to Do With It" topped the Hot 100. In its wake, the "Private Dancer" album soared to No. 3 and became Turner's benchmark, until this issue.
"All the Best" could usher in another stage in Turner's long career. The first single from the double-CD, "Open Arms," moves 17-16 on the Adult Contemporary chart. One thing is certain: The debut of "Best" expands Turner's overall chart span to 44 years, five months and three weeks.