Fred Bronson discusses the Carpenters, Madonna, Britney Spears and Clay Aiken with readers.


Hello Fred:

I enjoyed your recent "Chart Beat Bonus" item about No. 1 songs with titles beginning with the word "Baby." I would add an honorable mention to the Carpenters' 1971 No. 2 hit "Superstar" for its use of the word "baby" 23 times in the lyrics (seven times in the chorus, sung three times, and twice in backing vocals in the second verse), including "Baby, baby, baby, baby, oh baby, I love you, I really do."

Even when someone doesn't think he remembers a Carpenters' song entitled "Superstar," all one has to do is sing this "baby" line in the chorus, and the recollection is easily triggered, that is, for someone of a certain age, certainly no baby!

James J. Peters
Orlando, Fla.

Dear James,

Baby, what a big surprise to hear from you. You make a good case for "Superstar," and the Baby Committee will take it under consideration.


Hi Fred,

I once thought that among the biggest stars today that Madonna was the only one left who had sole credit on all her hits. Even though she had duets with Prince and Ricky Martin, they were album cuts and not promoted to radio. This week she joins the "featuring" bandwagon with "Me Against the Music." Britney Spears should consider herself honored!

At the same time, I'm glad that Madonna is back on the chart, even though there should have been a lot of hits off "American Life."

Joey Toledo
Quezon City, Philippines

Dear Joey,

I think Britney Spears felt "honored" by Madonna a few weeks ago. But seriously, it is notable that this is the first shared credit for Madonna on the Hot 100 in a career that stretches back 20 years (to the week!) See "Chart Beat Bonus" for details about chart achievements by both women.


Dear Fred,

I just heard "Invisible," the new single by Clay Aiken, and it's one of the best songs I've heard this year. Radio wasn't to kind to his first single, "This Is the Night." How do you think the new single will fare on the charts? Do you think it will go top-10 like Kelly Clarkson's second single "Miss Independent" did?

Keith Ackerson
Hilliard, Ohio

Dear Keith,

Clay Aiken is facing an uphill battle at radio with his second single, "Invisible." It is more radio-friendly for top-40 stations that might have stayed away from a ballad like "This Is the Night," and broadcasters like WHTZ (Z100) New York and KIIS-FM (Kiss) Los Angeles are giving it a lot of airplay, but there are holdout stations all over the country.

Without a commercial component, "Invisible" will have to build up enough airplay to land on the Hot 100, something it hasn't done yet.

The song does enter Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart at No. 28, just one rung above "This Is the Night," which falls to No. 29.

Let's wait and see what happens after this week, because Clay has been very visible, with appearances on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," "Good Morning America," "The Early Show" and "The View." He also has that appearance at the first game of the World Series scheduled for Saturday (Oct. 18).

Next week we'll find out if his album "Measure of a Man" debuts at No. 1, and that could help his airplay as well. Now if we could just convince his fans to request "Invisible" at radio...