Chart-based stories on Dirty Vegas, Sean Combs, Eminem, and Nickelback.

TRUE BRIT: Paul Harris was born in Blackheath in South London. Ben Harris (no relation) was born in Bromley, Kent. Steve Smith was born in Eltham, also in South London. That happens to be incredibly significant in terms of chart history.

Harris, Harris, and Smith make up the band Dirty Vegas. Their song, "Days Go By," is familiar to many people because it's featured in a TV commercial for the Mitsubishi Eclipse automobile. Released on Credence/Capitol in the U.S., the song debuts on The Billboard Hot 100 this week at No. 84. That ends a very short drought that found no U.K. acts on Billboard's pop singles chart for the first time in just over 38 years.

There were British hits on the chart before the Beatles, but not many. Two examples: Liverpudlian Russ Hamilton had a No. 7 hit on the Best Sellers in Stores chart in 1957. A year later, teenager Laurie London spent two weeks at No. 2 on that same chart with "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." There were even No. 1 hits by U.K. acts before the Beatles: Mr. Acker Bilk, a clarinet player from Somerset, England, topped the Hot 100 in 1962 with "Stranger on the Shore" and the Tornadoes reached pole position in 1963 with the Joe Meek-produced instrumental "Telstar."

Then along came Andrea Simpson and Lois Wilkinson. They formed a British pop duo known as the Caravelles and recorded a remake of Ernest Tubb's 1950 country hit "You Don't Have To Be a Baby To Cry." In the summer of 1963, their Decca single peaked at No. 6 on the U.K. singles chart. Picked up by Mercury Records for the U.S., the single was released on the Smash subsidiary. "You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry" debuted on the Hot 100 the week of Nov. 2, 1963 -- two months before the Beatles debuted on the Hot 100 with "I Want To Hold Your Hand."

The entry of the Caravelles single began a run of U.K. hits that continued uninterrupted until two weeks ago. From Nov. 2, 1963, to April 20, 2002, there was at least one U.K. act on the Hot 100 every week, counting only U.K.-born acts, not U.K.-signed acts like Australian singer Kylie Minogue.

On the April 20 chart, Craig David's "7 Days" was No. 54 in its final chart week. When it fell off the Hot 100 the following week, there were no U.K. acts on the chart for the first time in 38 years, five months, and two weeks. Ironically, this new run of U.K. acts on the Hot 100 begins not with a superstar act, but a group as unknown as the Caravelles were when they started the long run back in November 1963.

THE DIDDY FORMERLY KNOWN AS DADDY: After his four chart appearances as P. Diddy failed to crack the top-20 of The Billboard Hot 100, Sean Combs has one of the biggest hits of his career with his latest single. "I Need a Girl (Part One)" (Bad Boy/Arista). With Usher and Loon as featured artists, the song inches up 4-3 this week. That's good enough to rank "I Need a Girl" in sixth place among the 20 chart appearances by Combs under various identities. His other current chart entry, a guest appearance on Busta Rhymes' "Pass the Courvoisier Part II" (J), is Combs' 10th biggest hit.

Here is a summary of his top-10 most successful chart entries, ranked by peak position and length of stay there:

1. "I'll Be Missing You," Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112 (No. 1 for 11 weeks, 1997)
2. "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down," Puff Daddy (featuring Mase) (No. 1 for six weeks, 1997)
3. "Mo Money Mo Problems," the Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy & Mase (No. 1 for two weeks, 1997)
4. "Satisfy You," Puff Daddy featuring R. Kelly (No. 2, 1999)
5. "Been Around the World," Puff Daddy & the Family (featuring the Notorious B.I.G. and Mase) (No. 2, 1998)
6. "I Need a Girl (Part One)," P. Diddy featuring Usher & Loon (No. 3 to date, 2002)
7. "Come With Me," Puff Daddy featuring Jimmy Page (No. 4, 1998)
8. "Lookin' at Me," Mase featuring Puff Daddy (No. 8, 1998)
9. "All Night Long," Faith Evans featuring Puff Daddy (No. 9, 1999)
10. "Pass the Courvoisier Part II," Busta Rhymes featuring P. Diddy & Pharrell (No. 16 to date, 2002)

None of Combs' 20 chart appearances has been a solo effort where he is the only artist listed. All of his chart entries include featured performers, or have Combs listed as a featured artist.

WITH AND 'WITHOUT' HIM: The Hot Shot Debut on the Hot 100 belongs to Eminem, who returns to the chart after an absence of one year and three months. "Without Me" (Web/Aftermath/Interscope) opens at No. 44. It's the third highest-debut of 2002, and all three of those debuts are bunched up together in the same region of the chart.

The highest debut of the calendar year so far is the No. 42 opening of Brandy's "What About Us?" the week of Jan. 26. In second place is the No. 43 debut of B2K's "Uh Huh" in the first chart week of the calendar year, dated Jan. 5. Last week's Hot Shot Debut, "Hot in Herre" (Fo' Reel/Universal) by Nelly at No. 49, is the fourth-highest debut of 2002.

"Without Me" is Eminem's first chart entry on the Hot 100 since "Stan," which ended its run the week of Feb. 10, 2001.

NEW 'SHOES': Kenny Chesney's "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems" (BNA) is only the second album to advance to No. 1 on Top Country Albums in 2002. Alan Jackson's "Drive" (Arista) had a six-week reign that began the week of Feb. 2.

The only other albums to top the chart this year first assumed pole position in 2001. Garth Brooks' "Scarecrow" (Capitol) debuted at No. 1 the week of Dec. 1, 2001, and the soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (Lost Highway/Mercury) spent its first frame at No. 1 the week of Feb. 24, 2001.

Chesney is also No. 1 on The Billboard 200, where "No Shoes" replaces Ashanti's self-titled debut after three weeks.

'HOW' NOW LONGEST: With the disappearance of LeAnn Rimes' "Can't Fight the Moonlight" off the Hot 100 after a non-consecutive run of 42 weeks, the longevity title passes to the Canadian band Nickelback. The group's first chart entry, "How You Remind Me" (Roadrunner), remains No. 14 for the third week in a row, while the song is in its 36th chart week.

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