Ask Billboard

Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions on R.E.M., Madonna and Rancid


Hello Keith,

I would like to know the track listing for R.E.M.'s greatest hits cd(s) that will be released later this year. I was startled to find out the period of hits covered begins in 1988! I can't imagine the compilation not including such classics as "The One I Love" and "It's the End of the World As We Know It," not to mention many other excellent tracks from other earlier albums!

Steven Rosvall
Saint John, Canada

Hello Steven,

On Oct. 28 in the U.S. and a day earlier internationally, Warner Bros. will release "In Time: The Best of R.E.M: 1988-2003." There is a reason why this album will only cover R.E.M.'s hit singles from 1988 through the present -- the band already released one retrospective, "Eponymous," in 1988. That set covered the band's work up until that point.

The forthcoming album will include two new tracks, "Bad Day" and "Animal." The former will be the set's first single and video.

R.E.M." last album, "Reveal," peaked at No. 6 on The Billboard 200 in June 2001, and has sold 407,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.


Hi Keith,

Why is it that U.S. radio stations don't play Madonna's new single, "Hollywood?" It seems it's gonna be a flop in the U.S. It's weird to see that Europe really love this new track. It's No. 1 all over Europe in the airplay charts, and yet it is not on the U.S. charts. Do you think that the commercial single release of "Hollywood" in the U.S. will get the song in the top 40?


Hi Floris,

It seems radio programmers have concluded "Hollywood" simply wasn't working with their audiences. The CD maxi-single will be released on July 8, so the sales should help the single earn a shot at debuting on the Billboard Hot 100.

It's not the first time that a Madonna single has essentially missed the charts entirely. In 1999, "Nothing Really Matters," the fourth single from "Ray of Light," barely crawled onto the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 93 (and didn't even chart on the Hot 100 Airplay tally). Previous to that, 1996's "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" missed both the Hot 100 Sales and Airplay charts -- but still had enough momentum to hit No. 78 on the overall Hot 100 chart.

Madonna's "American Life" album debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 in April, and has since sold 509,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.


Hey Keith,

I'm a big Rancid fan and I was really bummed when I heard they signed with Warner Bros. Is this true?


Hi Doug,

It's true, but as reported on, the nature of the deal is still a bit vague. The band will release its sixth album, "Indestructible," on Aug. 26. Rancid's last set, "Rancid," has sold 154,000 copies since its release in 2000.

The band is currently performing on the Vans Warped Tour, which visits Vancouver on July 4, and Seattle on July 5. Stay tuned for information via the band's official Web site at