THE STATE OF CAPITOL: The stars have aligned for the Hollywood-and-Vine label. With Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” moving up one rung from 2-1 and Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” rising 4-2, the Capitol label owns the top two slots on The Billboard Hot 100. It’s the first time that this towering imprint has locked up first and second place since the chart dated Sept. 2, 1967. That was the second week in a row that Bobbie Gentry was No. 1 with “Ode to Billie Joe” and the Beatles were No. 2 with “All You Need Is Love.”
“Ode to Billie Joe” was the 229th No. 1 of the rock era, but a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. “Viva La Vida” is the 999th No. 1, counting Bill Haley & His Comets’ “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” as the first No. 1 of the rock era. That means Capitol not only has the 999th No. 1, but is almost certain to claim the 1000th No. 1 as well, as “I Kissed a Girl” is the next likeliest candidate to achieve pole position.
“Viva La Vida” is the 52nd No. 1 for Capitol in the rock era. The label was founded in 1942 by composer Johnny Mercer, record-store owner Glenn Wallichs and movie producer B.G. “Buddy” DeSylva. Capitol was the first major label to be located in Los Angeles, the first label to distribute promotional copies to DJs, the first label to record masters on tape and the first label to issue recordings in the three prominent record speeds, 33 1/3, 45 and 78 rpm. Capitol had an extremely successful roster of artists, including Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Jo Stafford and Margaret Whiting. A country division was established in 1948, with artists like Tex Ritter, Faron Young, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Merle Travis and Jean Sheppard.
In 1953, Capitol signed Frank Sinatra. Two years later, the American owners sold the label to the British company EMI. The famed round office building known as the Capitol Tower opened on Vine Street on April 6, 1956. That same year, Capitol signed its first rock and roll act, singer Gene Vincent.
The first No. 1 hit for the imprint in the rock era was “Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford. That single began a seven-week reign on Nov. 26, 1955. In the 53 years that have elapsed since, Coldplay is the fourth British group to have a No. 1 hit, following the Beatles, Wings and Duran Duran (British duo Peter and Gordon also had a No. 1 single).
With “Viva La Vida” and “I Kissed a Girl” joining the ranks of Capitol releases that have reached the top two on the Hot 100, the label now has a total of 74 songs in the rock era that have peaked at No. 1 or No. 2, divided between the 52 No. 1 songs and the 22 No. 2 hits. Here is the roster of Capitol’s No. 2s since the rock era began on July 9, 1955:
“Learnin’ the Blues,” Frank Sinatra (1955)
“A Blossom Fell,” Nat King Cole (1955)
“Young Love,” Sonny James (1957)
“Teen-Age Crush,” Tommy Sands (1957)
“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” Laurie London (1958)
“Ramblin’ Rose,” Nat King Cole (1962)
“Barbara Ann,” The Beach Boys (1966)
“Yellow Submarine,” The Beatles (1966)
“Georgy Girl,” The Seekers (1967)
“Fly Like an Eagle,” Steve Miller (1977)
“Love on the Rocks,” Neil Diamond (1981)
“Shame on the Moon,” Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band (1983)
“The Wild Boys,” Duran Duran (1984)
“We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome),” Tina Turner (1985)
“Typical Male,” Tina Turner (1986)
“Notorious,” Duran Duran (1987)
“Don’t Dream It’s Over,” Crowded House (1987)
“Soldier of Love,” Donny Osmond (1989)
“All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You,” Heart (1990)
“Pray,” M.C. Hammer (1990)
“Bitch,” Meredith Brooks (1997)
“I Kissed a Girl,” Katy Perry (2008)
The No. 1 ranking of “Viva La Vida” gives Coldplay its highest-charting song to date on the Hot 100, surpassing the No. 8 peak of “Speed of Sound” in May 2005. “Viva La Vida” is the first chart-topper on Capitol since Mims’ “This Is Why I’m Hot” occupied the penthouse in March 2007. Before Mims captured the top spot, a Capitol single had not spent time at No. 1 since November 1992, when the Heights reigned with “How Do You Talk to an Angel.”
NOT THE SAME OLD ‘SAME OLD’: This isn’t your parents’ Hot Dance: Club Play chart. Not when Cyndi Lauper is No. 1 with “Same Old Fucking Story” (Epic). The song is also known as “Same Old Story” on other charts, but not on the dance survey.
This is Lauper’s first No. 1 on any Billboard chart since the first week in November 1986, when her single “True Colors” was in its second week in the penthouse on the Hot 100.
“Same Old” is Lauper’s second No. 1 on the Club Play tally. Her only other chart-topper on this list was her very first chart entry, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” in March 1984.
AND BRASIL ’08: He made his Billboard chart debut in 1966 as Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66, but the Brazilian-born pianist and bandleader is still going strong in 2008. He debuts at No. 1 on Top Contemporary Jazz Albums with “Encanto” (Hear/Concord).
That means Mendes is no longer a “one-hit wonder” on this particular list. His only other charted title on Contemporary Jazz was “Brasileiro,” No. 8 in August 1992.
ONE FOUR ‘ALL’: Emmylou Harris has her highest-charting solo set on Top Country Albums in 28 years. “All I Intended to Be” (Nonesuch) bows at No. 4, Harris’ best solo showing since “Roses in the Snow” spent five weeks at No. 2 in 1980.
Harris made her first appearance on this survey in March 1975 with “Pieces of the Sky,” which peaked at No. 7. It was the first of seven consecutive top 10 albums for the singer/songwriter from Birmingham, Alabama. If it wasn’t for a Christmas album that peaked at No. 22, Harris would have had 10 top 10 LPs in a row.
Counting her entire body of work, “All” is Harris’ 18th top 10 release. Before this current album, Harris was last in the top 10 when “Stumble into Grace” went to No. 6 in 2003.
Including collaborations with others, Harris was No. 1 for five weeks in 1987 with “Trio,” recorded with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt. “Trio II,” featuring the same three women, peaked at No. 4 in 1999.
The debut of “All I Intended to Be” stretches Harris’ country album chart span to 33 years and three months.
On The Billboard 200, Harris’ latest is a new entry at No. 22. That ties the 1981 release “Evangeline” as Harris’ second-highest solo charting album. Only the 1977 LP “Luxury Liner” charted higher, peaking at No. 21. Two collaborative efforts did achieve higher numbers than “Liner.” In 1987, “Trio” went to No. 6. And in 2006, “All the Roadrunning,” recorded with Mark Knopfler, reached No. 17.
THA CARTER FAMILY: Lil Wayne has found a franchise that improves with each new release. In 2004, “Tha Carter” peaked at No. 5. In 2005, “Tha Carter II” went to No. 2, to become Lil Wayne’s highest-ranked set, until this week. “Tha Carter III” (Cash Money) enters right at the top, giving Lil Wayne his first No. 1 album.
Over on Top Pop Catalog Albums, the first “Carter” album is new at No. 8, while “Tha Carter II” works its way from 9 to 5.
‘FLAVORS’ FAVE: Alanis Morissette is back in the top 10 of The Billboard 200 for the first time in four years. “Flavors of Entanglement” (Maverick) is a new entry at No. 8, Morissette’s best posting since “So-Called Chaos” settled in at No. 5 in June 2004.
“Flavors” is the ninth Morissette album to chart since she made her debut in July 1995 with “Jagged Little Pill,” which ruled for 12 weeks. “Flavors” is Morissette’s fifth top 10 title.