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News on Ahmet Ertegun, Sugar Ray, "Lady Marmalade"

FOUNDERS AND COMPOSERS: Earlier this year, Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun collected a No. 1 songwriting credit on The Billboard Hot 100, thanks to the success of "Angel" by Shaggy featuring Rayvon. How Ertegun earned that credit takes some telling: he and Eddie Curtis wrote "Lovey Dovey," a hit for the Clovers back in 1954, and that song was sampled in "The Joker," a 1974 hit for the Steve Miller Band. While "Angel" was based on the song "Angel of the Morning," it also sampled "The Joker," and so Ertegun was listed as one of the writers of "Angel."

Now another label founder and songwriter may be picking up another No. 1 song credit. The man who started Motown, Berry Gordy, Jr., is listed among the credits for Lil' Romeo's "My Baby" (Soulja/No Limit), which bullets 4-3 this week on the Hot 100. "My Baby" is based on the first Jackson 5 hit, "I Want You Back," written by Gordy along with Freddie Perren and Fonce Mizell.

RAY OF HOPE: The third time's the charm for Sugar Ray, as the group collects its first top-10 album on The Billboard 200. Mark McGrath and company debut at No. 6 with their self-titled release, fueled by the popularity of "When It's Over" (Lava/Atlantic), the song that bullets 34-26 on this week's Billboard Hot 100.

First time out, Sugar Ray peaked at No. 12 with "Floored." That was back in August 1997. Then came "14:59," which peaked at No. 17 in April 1999. If "When It's Over" becomes the summer smash it's expected to be, the new album could climb even higher.

FIVE TIMES A LADY: The Femme Fab Four of Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya, and Pink hang in there for a fifth week with "Lady Marmalade" (Interscope) still ruling The Billboard Hot 100. That ties "Marmalade" with Aguilera's first single, "Genie in a Bottle," as her longest-running No. 1 hit. It also becomes the biggest hit for songwriters Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan. It's Nolan's longest-running No. 1, and it ties Crewe's composition "Big Girls Don't Cry," which was a five-week chart-topper for the Four Seasons in 1962.

"Lady Marmalade," featured on the "Moulin Rouge" soundtrack, is the longest-running soundtrack No. 1 hit since Destiny's Child had an 11-week reign with "Independent Women Part I" from "Charlie's Angels," at the end of 2000.

THE BIG NINE-OH-OH: In the U.S., "Lady Marmalade" is the 913th song to top the Billboard pop singles chart in the rock era, counting Bill Haley & His Comets' "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" as the first No. 1. In the U.K., "Lady Marmalade" is poised to become the 900th No. 1 in the history of the British pop singles chart, which made its debut the week of Nov. 14, 1952.

It's akin to comparing apples and oranges, though. The Billboard pop singles chart was first published in July 1940. The reset button was pushed when "Rock Around the Clock" hit the top 15 years later. It wasn't the first No. 1 single - just the first of what has become known as the rock era, a fact seen only in historical perspective.

"Lady Marmalade" is the 913th No. 1 by counting No. 1 singles from the Best Sellers in Stores chart prior to the introduction of the Hot 100 the week of Aug. 4, 1958. The first No. 1 on the first Hot 100 was Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool," the 40th No. 1 hit of the rock era.

It's also difficult to compare British and American numbers because the British chart started in 1952, and the reset button was pushed in America in 1955. Still, the British count has always been behind the American count, but has been catching up. That's thanks to the rapid turnover in the U.K., where 42 singles were No. 1 in 2000, an all-time record.

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