Fred Bronson discusses Diana DeGarmo, Usher, Josh Gracin, Madonna and chart policies with readers.



Last week, Diana DeGarmo debuted on Billboard's Hot 100 [at No. 14] (and at No. 2 on the Hot 100 Singles Sales Chart) with "Dreams." This is the fifth Hot 100 charting for this song title, following Fleetwood Mac (No. 1, 1977), Van Halen (No. 22, 1986), Gabrielle (No. 26, 1994) and the Cranberries (No. 42, 1994).

If DeGarmo hits No. 1 with her "Dreams," then it would be the first time since 1992 that a title has gone to No. 1 twice as two different songs. The last song title do this was "Jump," which was a No. 1 hit for Van Halen in February-March 1984; and a completely different No. 1 song in April-May 1992 for Kris Kross.

John Maverick
Omaha, Neb.

Dear John,

It's unlikely that Diana DeGarmo's "Dreams" will reach No. 1, but the speculation is still interesting. Thank you for that.

If you want to learn an incredible-but-true chart factoid about which former No. 2 song on the Hot 100 had lyrics inspired by Diana, you'll want to read the Featured Artist piece on this 17-year-old that was posted earlier this week on


Dear Fred,

After reading "Chart Beat Chat" [last] Friday, I was somewhat surprised that one topic was not found in the letters published online. Usher made chart history by moving back into the No. 1 position of the Hot 100 with "Burn."

Very few artists have ever achieved this, but unfortunately, I am without my "Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits" [to prove it].

The first time I experienced a song making a move back to No. 1 after falling from the top spot was in 1982 when Chicago's "Hard for Me to Say I'm Sorry" and the Steve Miller Band's "Abracadabra" battled for No. 1.

I am sure Usher is in rare company and I thought that it was definitely an achievement to note.

Thanks as always!


Dean Smedley
Jackson, Miss.

Hi Dean,

Thanks for your e-mail; I always appreciate hearing from you.

Usher did make chart history last week, and it was noted in the print edition of "Chart Beat" in Billboard magazine. But it wasn't for returning to No. 1, which is common enough that the mere act of reclaiming pole position isn't enough to earn an artist some ink.

Usher's historic achievement was topping the Hot 100 for the 20th week in a calendar year. That breaks the previous record of 19 weeks at No. 1 in a calendar year set by Puff Daddy in 1997. Knocked down to third place are the Beatles (18 weeks at No. 1 in 1964) and Monica (18 weeks at No. 1 in 1998).

Since it's only July and Usher already has another No. 1 title with "Confessions Part II," he is at 21 weeks and counting. He could build up an impressive lead that will be hard to match in the coming years.


Hi Fred,

In your last column, a reader asked if buying a copy of TV Guide with the free single of Elvis Presley's "That's All Right" would make it eligible for the Hot 100. You said since it was a free gift for buying the magazine it would not.

I know of one time this did happen. In December 1995 a song called "Never Alone (Eeyore's Lullaby)" by Tyler Collins hit the Hot 100, debuting at No. 48. It spent a total of two weeks on the chart. This single was a free gift that was given when purchasing a copy of the CD "Take My Hand -- Songs from the 100 Acre Wood" at Disney Stores only.

By the time this single made the Hot 100 and I went to a Disney Store in my area to obtain one, they were out of them and told me that was how you got one.

In my opinion this single should not have been eligible since it was a fluke single that was only at Disney Stores, and wasn't available singularly.

Two years later when Bob Carlisle's "Butterfly Kisses" was big, it was ineligible to hit the Hot 100 as it was only available on a vinyl 45, and a special, more expensive special packaging edition only at Christian bookstores. So this wasn't eligible, but the Tyler Collins was.

I wonder if there are any other instances of singles like this that anyone else, or you, can remember.


John Jayne
Des Moines, Iowa

Dear John,

First, kudos for even remembering the Tyler Collins single. And second, as a fan of the group, do you know the connection between City Boy and "American Idol"? (the answer is at the end of my reply).

First, a clarification. There was never a question about Elvis Presley's "That's All Right" being eligible for the Hot 100. There is a commercial single available, which reached the top spot on Hot 100 Singles Sales. Unfortunately, the number of singles sold was so small that the title did not debut on the Hot 100, but it was eligible.

The question about the single given away with newsstand copies of TV Guide was whether buying the magazine counted as a single sold. The answer was no, because the single was a premium, given away free with the magazine. There was no "sale" of a single.

Although the "Never Alone (Eeyore's Lullaby)" single charted almost nine years ago, I was able to get some answers for you.

Our director of charts, Geoff Mayfield, was able to pull up SoundScan sales reports on the Tyler Collins single, and there were sales tracked at music chains and independent record stores, although these represented a small amount of sales. Most of the sales were tracked at mass merchants (which includes department stores like the Disney stores as well as retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and K-Mart), but the important thing to note here is that there were sales of the single, so it wasn't only available as a premium.

Another important note: if the single had only been available at the Disney stores, it wouldn't have been eligible to chart, even if it was for sale. Records sold on an exclusive basis at one store or one chain are not eligible to appear on a Billboard chart.

As for the connection between City Boy and "American Idol," sharp observers may have noted the name Susan Slamer in the credits for the TV series. The music supervisor of "American Idol" is married to City Boy's guitarist, Mike Slamer.


Dear Fred,

Something you wrote in the current issue of Billboard isn't quite correct. You said in your column that all the "American Idol" contestants on the Hot 100 are women. Actually, Josh Gracin from season two is also on the Hot 100 this week at No. 70 with "I Want To Live."

I guess some apologies will be written up in next week's issue.

David Sanford

Dear David,

No question about it, Josh Gracin is a man and my item was incorrect. Not only do I apologize, but I congratulate Josh on moving up the Hot 100 again this week, to No. 66.



I just read online that Madonna has 30 No. 1 songs on Billboard's Dance/Club Play chart. I can't help but think that this is either an inflated estimate or a Billboard first. Does any female artist have that many chart toppers on any chart? I'm not knocking Madonna, but 30 number ones?


James MacNiel
Key West, Fla.

Dear James,

If you think about it, it's not a stretch to imagine it's true. I mean, Madonna and club play, go figure!

Actually, 30 is an undercount. When "Love Profusion" topped Billboard's Dance Music/Club Play chart in April, it was Madonna's 33rd song to go to No. 1 on this chart. Her run began in 1983 with "Holiday" / "Lucky Star."

Madonna has more than twice as many No. 1 Club Play hits as her closest competitor, even as that second-place artist moves to No. 1 this week. "All Nite (Don't Stop)" (Virgin) marches 3-1 and is Janet Jackson's 16th song to head this list.