MUCH O’BLIGE: A 5-2 surge for T.I.’s “What You Know” (Grand Hustle/Atlantic) on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart isn’t strong enough to depose Mary J. Blige, who rules the chart for a 15th week with the biggest hit of her career, “Be Without You” (Geffen). That means Blige has the longest-running No. 1 song on this chart since it was reintroduced in 1965 after a brief hiatus.
In the last 41 years, two songs had 14-week reigns, and were the longevity champs until “Be Without You” came along. “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” a 1998 hit for Deborah Cox, and “We Belong Together,” a 2005 hit for Mariah Carey, fall to second place on the list of the longest-running chart-toppers in modern times.
To find a No. 1 song that ruled as long as Blige’s hit, one would have to go back to 1949, when the Charles Brown Trio was on top for 15 weeks with “Trouble Blues.”Between 1945-1947, three other songs were No. 1 for 16 weeks or more. They were:
18 weeks “The Honeydripper (Parts 1 and 2),” Joe Liggins and His Honeydrippers
18 weeks “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie,” Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
17 weeks “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens,” Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
16 weeks “Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop,” Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra
“Be Without You” is the sixth Blige recording to reach No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop tally. The first five:
“You Remind Me,” one week (1992)
“Real Love,” two weeks (1992)
“I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By,” three weeks (1995) [Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige]
“Not Gon’ Cry,” five weeks (1996)
“Family Affair,” two weeks (2001)
THE MORE ‘YOU KNOW’: T.I.’s “What You Know” becomes the rapper’s biggest hit as a featured artist on the Billboard Hot 100 and his biggest hit period on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart this week.
On the Hot 100, “What You Know” rockets 39-4, besting the No. 9 peak of T.I.’s 2005 hit, “Bring Em Out.” T.I. has only charted higher on the Hot 100 as a featured artist on the Destiny’s Child single “Soldier,” which peaked at No. 3 one week after “Bring Em Out” checked in at No. 9.
On the R&B/Hip-Hop tally, “What You Know” beats the No. 3 peak of “Soldier” as well as the No. 6 peaks of “Bring Em Out” and an April 2005 hit, “U Don’t Know Me.”
If T.I.’s momentum on the Hot 100 continues and he replaces Daniel Powter at No. 1, it will be the first time five solo male artists have had consecutive No. 1 songs since 1977, when there were six solo male artists in a row in pole position: Marvin Gaye, Bill Conti, Alan O’Day, Shaun Cassidy, Barry Manilow and Andy Gibb.
‘BLUE’ MOVES: Tim McGraw has the highest-debuting solo effort of his career on the Billboard Hot 100, where “When the Stars Go Blue” (Curb) is the Hot Shot Debut at No. 57. That bests the No. 61 debut of “Don’t Take the Girl” in May 1994.
In October 2004, McGraw debuted at No. 58 when he was featured on Nelly’s “Over and Over.” In May 1997, McGraw had his highest Hot 100 debut of all time when teamed with his wife, Faith Hill, on “It’s Your Love,” a track that entered at No. 36.
‘KILLED’ SOFTLY WITH HIS SONG: Morrissey earns his first No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Singles Sales chart, as “You Have Killed Me” (Attack/Sanctuary) opens in pole position. Morrissey’s highest ranking on this chart until now was the No. 4 posting of “Irish Blood, English Heart” in May 2004.
ACE ON BOARD: The influence of “American Idol” on Billboard’s Hot Digital Songs chart continues, as viewers download the original versions of songs performed by finalists on the Fox TV series.
Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” (Tell Me)” (Columbia) enters at No. 41, a spike in sales following Ace Young’s performance of the song on the show last week. Lisa Tucker was voted off the show after singing Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You,” but the Clarkson version jumps 46-34 in the wake of Tucker’s performance.
HEAVEN 17 MUST HAVE SENT YOU: It was exactly 25 years ago this week that electronic-pop-dance trio Heaven 17 made its debut on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart, with the controversial single “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thing.” Just in time to celebrate their silver anniversary, the three original members of Heaven 17 return to the Club Play list this week, debuting at No. 42 with “Hands Up to Heaven” (Ninthwave), from the new album “Before After.”
Heaven 17, composed of Glenn Gregory, Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware, had a healthy run on the Club Play chart, with nine entries between 1981 and 1987. Then the band, a spin-off of the British Electric Foundation, which was spun off from the Human League, didn’t chart again until 1993, when a remix of “Penthouse and Pavement” went to No. 26. “Hands Up to Heaven” is the trio’s first appearance on the Club Play tally since the “Penthouse” remix charted 13 years ago.
Heaven 17’s highest-ranked title to date is “Let Me Go,” No. 4 in 1983, followed by “Contenders,” No. 6 in 1987.