Fred Bronson reports on chart activities relating to Coldplay, "American Idol," Gwen Stefani, Bill Monroe, Kenny Chesney, Bobby Valentino, 50 Cent, Green Day and Neil Sedaka.
HOW COLDPLAY IS IT: The new Coldplay single "Speed of Sound" (Capitol) reaches the top 10 of The Billboard Hot 100 at lightspeed, debuting on the chart at a lofty No. 8. That means Coldplay is only the second U.K. group in the history of the Hot 100 to have a single debut inside the top 10.
The only other group from the United Kingdom to do so is the Beatles. The Fab Four was the first act of any size, gender, nationality or type to debut in the top 10. It happened the week of Sept. 14, 1968, when "Hey Jude," the Beatles' first single on their own Apple imprint, entered the chart at No. 10. A year later, the Beatles' "Get Back" also opened at No. 10. In 1970, the Beatles' "Let It Be" became the highest Hot 100 debut to that date when it bowed at No. 6.
"Speed of Sound" easily becomes the highest-debuting single of 2005, besting the No. 22 opening position of the multi-artist charity single "Across the Universe." It is the highest debuting single not connected to a television series since "Lost in You" by Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines entered at No. 5 the week of Sept. 11, 1999 (singles from "Popstars" and "American Idol" have debuted higher).
Counting the Eden's Crush song "Get Over Yourself" and "American Idol" singles by the second season finalists, Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard and Fantasia, "Speed of Sound" is the eighth song to debut in the top 10 since January 1999.
And if you're wondering how "Speed of Sound" stacks up against past Coldplay efforts on the Hot 100, there is no contest. "Yellow" faded at No. 48 in May 2001 and "Clocks" timed out at No. 29 in May 2003, giving Coldplay one Hot 100 chart entry every two years since making its debut in 2001.
'WHEN' WILL AI BE LOVED: The top 12 finalists of the fourth season of "American Idol" follow in their predecessors' footsteps and land at No. 1 on the Hot 100 Singles Sales chart. The Idols' remake of Diana Ross' No. 2 U.K. hit "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" leaps 22-1 to become the eighth chart-topper from the "Idol" franchise on this particular Billboard survey.
While "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" is one of Ross' biggest hits in the United Kingdom, Stateside her version never reached the Hot 100. That makes the Idols' RCA single the first version to chart on this list, where it debuts this week at No. 39.
Ross' "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" debuted on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and the Adult Contemporary charts the week of Sept. 14, 1991, peaking at No. 37 on the former and No. 26 on the latter.
On the Hot 100 Singles Sales list, the first Idols' single to achieve pole position was Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This," No. 1 for five weeks starting in October 2002. Seven months later, the second season finalists went to the head of the class with a remake of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A.," which ruled for eight weeks. Succeeding "God Bless the U.S.A." was Clay Aiken's "This Is the Night" / "Bridge Over Troubled Water," with an 11-week reign.
The next "Idol" to top the sales chart was Kimberley Locke, whose "8th World Wonder" was No. 1 for one week in March 2004, followed immediately by a nine-week run for Aiken's "Solitaire." In July 2004, third season winner Fantasia spent 11 weeks at No. 1 with "I Believe" and was replaced by Diana DeGarmo's "Dreams" for one week. That makes the current frame the 47th week that a single from the "American Idol" franchise has led the sales tally.
NO DOUBT ABOUT GWEN: It's been almost four years since Gwen Stefani went to No. 2 on The Billboard Hot 100, her highest position until this week. In August 2001, "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" by Eve featuring Gwen Stefani reached second place. Now, "Hollaback Girl" (Interscope) makes a 3-1 move to become Stefani's first chart-topper on the Hot 100.
Stefani is only the third solo female artist to achieve pole position in the last three years, following Kelly Clarkson in October 2002 and Fantasia in July 2004. Excluding "American Idol" winners, Stefani is the first solo female to occupy the top berth since Ashanti ruled for 10 weeks in April, May and June of 2002.
While this is the first time Stefani has been No. 1 on the Hot 100 either on her own or as part of No Doubt, that group did spend 16 weeks on top of the Hot 100 Airplay chart in 1996-97 with "Don't Speak."
SPLENDOR IN THE BLUEGRASS: Bill Monroe is not only called the "Father of Bluegrass," he gave the genre its name. In 1939, the Kentucky-born musician formed a band called the Blue Grass Boys. No one called their music "bluegrass" at the time; it was only later, with historical perspective, that the name was adopted.
The Blue Grass Boys recorded as early as 1940 for RCA. The band reached a creative peak later in the decade, while recording for Columbia between September 1946 and October 1947.
In 1948, guitarist/vocalist Lester Flatt and banjo player Earl Scruggs left to form their own duo. Monroe signed with Decca in 1950, and the recordings for that label are now collected on a CD that debuts on Billboard's Top Bluegrass Albums chart -- the first time that the genre's founder has appeared on this chart.
"Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys: The Definitive Collection" (Decca/Chronicles/UME) is a new entry at No. 7. Monroe made his first appearance on a Billboard chart in 1946 with "Kentucky Waltz," a single that peaked at No. 3. Counting back to that first entry, Monroe's overall chart span is now 59 years, one month and two weeks.
'CLOSET' KING: Kenny Chesney's 42nd chart entry on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart is his highest debut yet as a featured artist. "Keg in the Closet" (BNA) is new at No. 38, besting the No. 40 opening of "When the Sun Goes Down," a duet with Uncle Kracker, in April 2004.
In May 2004, "Hey Good Lookin'" by Jimmy Buffett with Clint Black, Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and George Strait started its chart life at No. 36.
'SLOW' UP: Nine years ago, a vocal quartet called Mista had a couple of titles appear on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. "Blackberry Molasses" peaked at No. 13 in August 1996 and "Lady" stopped at No. 61 in December of that year.
One of Mista's singers was a teen named Bobby Wilson. When Mista fell apart, he enrolled in college, graduating in 2003. He resumed his music career, and this week he tops the R&B/Hip-Hop list as Bobby Valentino. His single "Slow Down" (Disturbing tha Peace/Def Jam) reaches the top in its 20th chart week
HOW HE DOES: With the ascent of "Hate It or Love It" (Aftermath/G-Unit) to the top spot on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart, 50 Cent becomes the first artist to have three No. 1 songs in a row on this survey.
The rapper's run began with "How We Do" by the Game featuring 50 Cent, No. 1 for one week on the chart dated March 5. "How We Do" was replaced by "Candy Shop" by 50 Cent featuring Olivia. After eight weeks, "Candy Shop" is succeeded by "Hate It or Love It" by the Game featuring 50 Cent.
There were almost four 50 Cent No. 1 hits in a row. "Disco Inferno" took a turn at the top for one week and was followed by "Lovers and Friends" by Lil Jon & the East Side Boys featuring Usher & Ludacris for a week before "How We Do" took over.
GREEN (HOLI)DAY: A 2-1 move lifts Green Day's "Holiday" (Reprise) to the top of Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. It's the third song from the group's "American Idiot" CD to lead this list. The title track dominated for six weeks, starting in September 2004. Two months later, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" started a 16-week reign.
In 1994, Green Day's "Dookie" album yielded three No. 1 hits: "Long View" (one week), "Basket Case" (five weeks) and "When I Come Around" (seven weeks). The band is the only act in the chart's history to pull three No. 1 hits from two different albums.
"Holiday" is Green Day's eighth Modern Rock Tracks No. 1, tying the band with Red Hot Chili Peppers and U2 for the most chart-toppers on this tally.
SEDAKA'S BACK: He had a run of hits in the 1960s and then came back in the '70s for a second go-round. Now, 30 years later, Neil Sedaka is having one of the best chart rides of his life.
Last year, he had the second best-selling single of the year in the United States with Clay Aiken's recording of "Solitaire." This year, Sedaka the songwriter has the best-selling single in the United Kingdom with "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo," a re-release of Tony Christie's original 1971 recording.
The single peaked at No. 18 back then, but now as a charity single for Comic Relief, "Amarillo" is in its sixth week at No. 1. That ties the Christie single with Connie Francis' 1958 hit "Stupid Cupid" as Sedaka's longest-running No. 1s in the United Kingdom. As a double-sided hit with "Carolina Moon," Sedaka's "Stupid Cupid" also had a six-week run at the top.