Fred Bronson discusses "Hot Shot Debuts," chart dates, the Mainstream Top 40 chart, Madonna, Missy Elliott and more with readers.


Hi Fred,

Happy New Year!

Daryl Hall and John Oates finally end a long absence from the Hot 100 as "I'll Be Around" enters at No. 99, the duo's first chart entry in 14 years and two weeks (since "Don't Hold Back Your Love" debuted the week of Jan. 5, 1991).

This new entry also sets a record for the duo, as it becomes the lowest-debuting "Hot Shot Debut" in Hot 100 history. Garbage set the record in 1995 when "Vow" was the top debut at No. 97, and BT raised (or lowered?) the bar last year when "Simply Being Loved (Somnambulist)" was the Hot Shot Debut at No. 98.

If a future Hot Shot Debut can manage to come in one rung lower than Hall and Oates, then we'll finally have an all-time underachiever champ!

Eric Colley
Lake Mary, Fla.

Dear Eric,

The return of Daryl Hall and John Oates to Billboard's Hot 100 is the lead item in the print edition of "Chart Beat" this week. You'll find that column in the issue of Billboard dated Jan. 15. The fate of "I'll Be Around" on the Adult Contemporary chart is discussed in this week's Chart Beat Chat.

"I'll Be Around" is the only debut on the current Hot 100, not unusual during the first two or three weeks of a calendar year, when labels release only a handful of new titles. But it's not the only song to hold the "honor" of being the lowest highest debut. As reader Niko Mitsarakis points out, the Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out" was the Hot Shot Debut at No. 99 the week of July 22, 2000.


Hi Fred!

I have been a Billboard subscriber for a long time. I have a simple question: which chart is considered to be the first one of a year? For example, Billboard published an issue dated Jan. 8 that was published online on Dec. 31, and there was a previous issue dated Jan. 1 (published on-line on Dec. 24).

According to the 2004 year-end chart, dated Dec. 25, Jan. 1 would be the first Billboard chart of 2005. Is this correct?

Thank you very much

Jose-Luis Pena-Diez
Madrid, Spain

Dear Jose,

I have always been guided by the date of the chart, specifically the year. The chart dated Jan. 1 is for the week ending Jan. 1, so it includes some days from 2004, but it is the first chart of 2005.

The date is more important than the fact that the chart was available online in the closing days of 2004. Almost every monthly magazine you buy that is cover dated January 2005 is on sale in December 2004. I remember when I was a comics-buying teen that issues of DC Comics were cover dated two or three months ahead, so you could buy the January issue of "Superman" in October or November. Many movies that are considered 2005 releases played for seven days in Los Angeles in December 2004 in order to qualify for this year's Academy Awards.

By the way, the Billboard charts are governed by the chart year, not the calendar year. The chart year runs from the beginning of December to the end of November, which allows time for the year-end recaps to be compiled and related stories to be written in order to appear in the final issue of the year.


Hi Fred,

The Mainstream Top 40 chart seems to be one of the strongest airplay formats for Madonna. Could you please explain how this chart is calculated (what kind of radio stations are monitored and how is it different from the Hot 100 Airplay chart) and what Madonna's peak positions on this chart are?


Albert Juarez
Los Angeles

Dear Albert,

The Mainstream Top 40 chart is one of many Billboard charts that measures airplay at a specific format. Aside from obvious formats like country, R&B/hip-hop and adult contemporary, there are a number of different formats that come under the Top 40 umbrella, including Mainstream Top 40, Rhythmic Top 40 and Adult Top 40. Older readers may recall that the top 40 stations of their youth played all different types of music, but that's not true in today's world of narrowcasting.

The Hot 100 includes airplay data from a wide variety of airplay formats, while the Mainstream Top 40 chart measures airplay at one specific format. Think of it as the poppier side of Top 40 radio.

Madonna has far too many entries on this chart to list them all in this column, but I can tell you her only No. 1 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart is "Take a Bow," which spent five weeks on top in 1995. Madonna has had three No. 2 hits on this chart: "Deeper and Deeper" in 1993, "I'll Remember" in 1994 and "Music" in 2000. Her only No. 3 hit is "Secret," in 1994. Three titles peaked at No. 4: "Frozen" in 1998, "Don't Tell Me" in 2001 and "Die Another Day" in 2002.

The chart didn't exist when Madonna first started charting on the Hot 100. Her first song to appear on the Mainstream Top 40 chart was "Erotica," No. 9 in 1992.



I just read your "Chart Beat Bonus" bit about how it would be Missy Elliott's first time on top [of the Hot 100] if Ciara's "1, 2 Step" hits No. 1. Didn't she already peak at No. 1 with the remake of "Lady Marmalade" from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack? Although she's not credited as an artist, she is heard in the song and gets producer credit.

Mike Walton

Hi Fred,

If Ciara goes to No. 1 with "1, 2 Step," wouldn't it be Missy Elliott's second visit to No. 1? Didn't "Lady Marmalade" from "Moulin Rouge" feature vocals from Missy?


Steve Howe

Dear Mike and Steve,

Just as we don't count "Bad Blood" as a No. 1 for Elton John (prominent on vocals along with Neil Sedaka) or "You're So Vain" as a No. 1 for Mick Jagger (heard on backing vocals behind Carly Simon), the remake of "Lady Marmalade" doesn't count for Missy Elliott, only for the four artists who receive credit: Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink. You will find Elliott in the Producers Index in "The Billboard Book of Number One Hits" as the producer of "Lady Marmalade."

"1, 2 Step" stands pat at No. 2 this week, so the whole discussion may be moot. Or is it? Tune in next week to find out.


Hi Fred,

Let's say a song is prominently featured during a movie, either in the closing credits (such as "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith from "Armageddon") and/or during the movie (like "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence from "Daredevil.") If a single is currently released for the song (although even that might not matter anymore these days because album cuts are eligible for the Hot 100), does it count toward airplay for the Hot 100? Also, if a popular song is used in a television episode, is that also counted for the Hot 100?

Thank you.

Chris Goodyear
Auckland, New Zealand

Dear Chris,

Songs heard on the soundtracks of motion pictures in theaters aren't counted for the Hot 100. Technically, it's not airplay, as the songs aren't being broadcast. But more importantly, this wouldn't necessarily give you a picture of a song's popularity. It would be more about the film's popularity and how many screens it's playing on and how well it's doing at the box office.

Similarly, a song heard in an episode of a television series wouldn't be an indication of its popularity. When a song is played on the radio, Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems can measure how big the audience is for that song, determined by the time of day the song is played and the ratings that particular radio station receives in that time slot. Using that system, an obscure song heard on "Desperate Housewives" would automatically be the No. 1 song of the week due to the millions of people watching the show. We really wouldn't be measuring the popularity of the song, but the popularity of "Desperate Housewives."