CHART BEAT BONUS
Fred Bronson reports on the latest chart feats of Los Lonely Boys, "Phantom of the Opera," Hall & Oates, Elton John and Ray Charles.'HEAVEN' ASCENDS: When Josh Groban's "Believe" leapt 19-1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart the week of Dec. 11, 2004, the song it replaced in pole position was "Heaven" (Or/Epic) by Los Lonely Boys. "Heaven" had enjoyed 10 weeks at the top, the second-longest reign of 2004. The only song with a longer run at No. 1 was Five For Fighting's "100 Years" (Aware/Columbia), with 12 weeks at the summit.
Now that Christmas has passed, Groban's seasonal "Believe" tumbles 1-15 and "Heaven" reascends, giving the song an 11th week at No. 1.
If "Heaven" can stay on top, it will tie or surpass "100 Years" as the longest-running No. 1 song from the class of 2004.
MUSIC OF THE NIGHT: It looks like the soundtrack to "The Phantom of the Opera" (Really Useful/Sony Classical) has a shot at achieving a higher chart position than the original cast album. It would have happened this week, but for a big but.
Just like the original cast album, there are two versions of the "Phantom" soundtrack, and they are charting separately. The regular edition of the soundtrack takes a huge leap this week, moving 104-44 on The Billboard 200. The Deluxe Edition debuts on the chart at No. 127.
Had the sales figures for both editions been combined, the "Phantom" soundtrack would have ranked No. 30. That would beat the No. 33 peak of the original cast album double-CD, which featured Michael Crawford as the Phantom and Sarah Brightman as Christine. A "highlights" edition of the cast album, released as a single CD, peaked at No. 46.
Momentum and a wider release for the movie may yet carry the soundtrack CD higher than No. 44, so it still has a chance to gain a higher chart position than the cast album.
On the Top Soundtracks chart, "Phantom" advances 6-1 and the Deluxe Edition flies 24-7. On the Top Internet Album Sales tally, online buyers have favored the Deluxe Edition, which is a new entry at No. 3.
'AROUND' AND BACK AGAIN: With Christmas 2004 just a memory, Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart undergoes a massive change, with holiday songs plunging down or completely falling off the list. As a result, a number of songs advance or rebound.
One beneficiary is Daryl Hall and John Oates' remake of the Spinners' "I'll Be Around" (dke/U-Watch), which races 14-6. That makes "Around" the highest-ranking Hall and Oates song on this chart since the duo spent two weeks at No. 1 in September 2002 with "Do It for Love."
On the Hot 100, Hall and Oates' "I'll Be Around" is the only new entry, coming on the chart at No. 99. It's the first Hall and Oates song to reach the Hot 100 since "Don't Hold Back Your Love" peaked at No. 41 in February 1991.
'ANSWER' MAN: Another artist benefiting from the shake-up on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart is Elton John. His "Answer in the Sky" (Rocket/Universal) peaked at No. 8 in November 2004 and never went any higher until this week. Sinking as low as No. 24, the song rebounds this week 22-7, giving Elton his highest-ranked AC song since "I Want Love" peaked at No. 6 in October 2001.
GENIUS LOVES AC: The late Ray Charles has generated a lot of chart news in the last few months with the release of a duets album and the soundtrack to the biopic "Ray." For all of his current chart success, Charles has managed to avoid Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart -- until now. "You Don't Know Me" (Hear/Concord), featuring Diana Krall, debuts at No. 27 on the AC tally.
It's the first Ray Charles song to appear on the list in almost 12 years, since "A Song for You" peaked at No. 9 in May 1993.