Fred Bronson reports on chart activity relating to Duran Duran, Usher, Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg, Tim McGraw and Kelly Clarkson.

SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: The reunion of the original lineup of Duran Duran has paid off with the group's highest-charting set on The Billboard 200 in 11 years. "Astronaut," which marks the quintet's debut on Epic, blasts off at No. 17. That's the highest mark for a Duran Duran album since a self-titled CD peaked at No. 7 in 1993.

"Astronaut" is the first Duran Duran album to appear on the tally in four years. "Pop Trash" went to No. 135 in 2000.

This new album stretches the British outfit's chart span to 22 years, four months and four weeks, counting back to the debut of "Rio" the week of June 5, 1982.

IT ALL ADDS UP FOR USHER: "My Boo" (LaFace) by Usher and Alicia Keys is the 10th song to advance to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 this calendar year. Four of those 10 are by Usher, giving him 40% of the year's No. 1 hits.

The percentages are more in Usher's favor if you count weeks at No. 1. Adding up the weeks that "Yeah!" featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris, "Burn" and "Confessions Part II" have been on top to the one week that "My Boo" has held sway results in a total of 23 weeks at No. 1 for Usher, counting songs that first reached the summit in 2004, compared to 15 weeks that non-Usher songs have spent in pole position. That gives Usher a whopping 60.5% of the weeks at No. 1, compared to 39.5% for non-Usher tracks.

WHEN YOU'RE 'HOT' YOU'RE HOT: As a lead artist, Snoop Dogg is about to have the highest-charting song of his career on Billboard's Hot 100. Last year he achieved a new career-high when "Beautiful," recorded with Pharrell, peaked at No. 6. This week, his new collaboration with Pharrell, "Drop It Like It's Hot" (Doggystyle/Geffen), surges 11-7, so a top 5 placing seems assured, probably as early as next week.

As a featured artist on Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" in 1993, Snoop, then known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, spent one week at No. 2.

'OVER' THE TOP: Snoop Dogg isn't the only artist about to have his biggest hit on Billboard's Hot 100, though Tim McGraw will do it in a supporting role. He's the featured artist on Nelly's "Over and Over" (Curb/Derrty), which rockets 18-8 and is on track to be a No. 1 hit.

McGraw's highest mark to date is the No. 7 peak of "It's Your Love," recorded with wife Faith Hill in 1997.

'BREAK'-ING NEWS: Kelly Clarkson becomes the first "American Idol" contestant to collect three top 10 hits on the Hot 100. Her "Breakaway" (Walt Disney) from the soundtrack to "The Princess Diaries 2" moves 12-10 this week.

Her first chart entry, "A Moment Like This," went to No. 1 in October 2002. The follow-up, "Miss Independent," peaked at No. 9 in July 2003.

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