ONE STEP AT A TIME
I haven’t written to you in several years, mainly because I’m simply entertained enough by the content of Chart Beat and Chart Beat Chat that I don’t NEED to pose a question!
But now I’ve got one for you: to your knowledge, has there ever been a No. 1 song on The Billboard Hot 100 that has ascended to the top in increments of one chart position at a time? As in, charting No. 5 one week, No. 4 the next week, No. 3 the next, No. 2 the next and then finally hitting No. 1?
Or conversely, has a song ever descended in increments of one chart position (1-2-3-4-5)?
If you don’t know the answer off-hand, I’d love to see my e-mail in the next edition of Chart Beat Chat (a wish of many avid chart fan e-mailers, I’m sure!).
Robert L. Headrick
Glad to make your wish come true, since this is definitely a question I’ll have to throw open to Chart Beat readers. The only way for me to answer your question with accuracy would be to do a manual search of every Hot 100 for the last 49 1/2 years, something that is beyond the time and scope of Chart Beat Chat. Let’s see if anyone does know this off the top of their heads.
THE FIVE AND NINE
I believe that “Bubbly” has spent the longest amount of time ever at No. 5 on the Hot 100 without going higher and that Rihanna’s “Hate That I Love You” is tied for that record at No. 9. Both of these songs have non-consecutive runs in those peak positions.
If “Bubbly” goes no higher, it will break the long standing tie between “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me” [by Ronnie Milsap], “Hungry Heart” [by Bruce Springsteen], “Banana Boat (Day-O)” [by Harry Belafonte] and “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” [by Aretha Franklin], which all spent five weeks at No. 5. “Bubbly” has spent seven weeks [in that position]. “Hate That I Love You” joins “(Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away” and “Rock This Town” with five weeks at No. 9.
I’ve been waiting for “Bubbly” to move higher than No. 5 on the Hot 100, as Colby Caillat’s single is from one of my favorite albums of the year (how favorite? That will be revealed when the Billboard staff picks are posted at Billboard.com in a few days).
I think it’s still possible for “Bubbly” to bubble up a little bit, so we’ll have to wait and see if it takes the record for remaining in fifth place longer than any other No. 5 hit in the rock era or not.
The same goes for “Hate That I Love You’ by Rihanna featuring Ne-Yo, since this single could still rise.
THE NAMES HAVE NOT BEEN CHANGED
I’ve been unable to answer this so I thought I’d turn to the music expert.
Has any female artist had success under one name and then success under a married name? In your opinion, would it really hurt Faith Hill’s career to bill herself as Faith McGraw?
Ironically, both Faith Hill and Pat Benatar use the last name of a former husband instead of a maiden name or current spouse!
In 11 years of Chart Beat Chat, no one has asked this question, so congratulations for coming up with a unique query. There may be one, but I can’t think of any female recording stars who changed their professional name after getting married.
In general, women who gain fame under one name rarely change their names after being married, although I can think of two actors who added their husbands’ last name: Courtney Cox Arquette (she has gone back to Courtney Cox) and Eva Longoria Parker.
TEN YEARS AFTER
While most of us consider a decade as the years ending from 0-9, technically the Eagles have had a No. 1 album now in four consecutive decades, if one applies the literal definition of “decade” as being a period of ten years. Rather than beginning with the ’70s, I started this decade analysis a year before the ’70s began, with 1969.
1969 – 1978: “One of These Nights,” “Greatest Hits 1971-1975” and “Hotel California”
1979 – 1988: “The Long Run”
1989 – 1998: “Hell Freezes Over”
1999 – 2008: “Long Road Out of Eden”
Of course, under this broader criteria, there may be many more artists who have accomplished this feat, but as you mentioned, this clearly shows the enduring popularity of the Eagles.
You’re right about the dictionary defining a “decade” as a period of 10 years, and you’re also right that if we count any 10-year period to determine the Eagles’ chart history, we would have to apply that to all of the other acts in the rock era. I’ll leave that mathematical task to others!
You mentioned that George Michael was the last male artist to have six top 20 hits from an album before Justin Timberlake’s latest album. But, at the same time as George Michael’s album was producing hits, there was another male artist simultaneously accomplishing the same feat. Michael Jackson had seven top 20 hits from his “Bad” album between 1987 and 1989:
“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” (No. 1)
“Bad” (No. 1)
“The Way You Make Me Feel” (No. 1)
“Man in the Mirror” (No. 1)
“Dirty Diana” (No. 1)
“Another Part of Me” (No. 11)
“Smooth Criminal” (No. 7)
Long Island, N.Y.
Our chart department thoughtfully did the research on this item for me and they are correct. Michael Jackson’s string of six top 20 hits from “Bad” was achieved Aug. 20, 1988, when “Another Part of Me” moved 25-20. George Michael earned his sixth top 20 hit from “Faith” the week of Nov. 5, 1988, when “Kissing a Fool” made a 22-15 leap. That means Justin Timberlake is the first artist to pull six top 20 singles from one album since George Michael. True, Michael Jackson went on to earn a seventh top 20 hit. Now we have to wait and see if Timberlake can match Jackson’s feat.
‘RUMOURS’ HAS IT
I feel a bit silly having just sent an e-mail correcting you about a seeming error in your latest Chart Beat Column, and now finding another error (which you didn’t note) in the current Chart Beat Chat.
In Mark Blankenship’s letter about albums with five or more top 10 singles, he wrote:
“For instance, since I read that Michael Jackson’s ‘Off the Wall’ was the first album to produce even four top 10 hits, I knew I didn’t have to consider any album released before 1978.”
Well, in all fairness, the first act to pull four top 10 hits off a single album was Fleetwood Mac with their legendary “Rumours” (Not only did the Mac become the first act with four top 10 hits from a single album, they were, if I’m not mistaken, the first act EVER to achieve four top 40 hits from a single album). The album’s four hits were:
“Go Your Own Way” (No. 10)
“Dreams” (No. 1)
“Don’t Stop” (No. 3)
“You Make Loving Fun” (No. 9)
Now, we can allow Michael the achievement as the first SOLO artist to pull four top 10 hits off a single album, but the Mac must be remembered for doing it first.
You were one of several readers who wrote in about Fleetwood Mac’s quartet of top 40 hits, so we’ll let your e-mail represent the other Chart Beat Chat readers who took the time to bring this to my attention.
ELTON, ELTON AND STEVIE
Recently you said that Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” was the second album to debut in pole position. In fact, Elton John’s “Rock of the Westies” was the second such album, while Wonder’s was the third.
Garden Grove, Calif.
Right. I should have said that Stevie Wonder was the second artist to have an album debut at No. 1, since Elton John did it first with “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” and then again with “Rock of the Westies.”