I expect many will write about the passing of Luther Vandross this week. A friend just e-mailed me with the miserable news, which must have just broken as the Billboard Web site doesn’t mention it yet.
I was really hoping he would continue to recover, having been encouraged by his brief taped appearance on the Grammys. While his talent was unmatchable, I am doubly saddened by the fact that so few are even trying to make music the way Luther did. I fear the end of the era of great R&B singing.
My condolences to his mother, the rest of his family and my fellow fans around the world.
It is a big loss to the music world, and thank you for paying tribute to a
The news story was posted on Billboard.com shortly after I received your e-mail, as Luther passed away at the beginning of a holiday weekend. An obituary written by senior writer Gail Mitchell appears in the July 16 issue of Billboard.
NOT ‘FADING’ AWAY
With regard to the letter [headlined] “Flower Power” from Simon Bray enquiring about the U.K. success of a new remix of Roxette’s “Fading Like a Flower,” the track is currently doing well on a few U.K. request music channels and the single is scheduled for release at the end of July.
Roxette actually receives a mention this time around as the track is credited to Dancing DJs vs. Roxette. The video used to promote the track also features the original 1991 Roxette video on huge screens in the background of the dancers.
Hope this helps
Thanks to you and the other U.K. readers who wrote in with information about the Dancing DJs vs. Roxette track. Meanwhile, “Listen to Your Heart” by Belgium’s D.H.T. continues to build momentum in the United States, this week surging 30-19 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
With “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” by Jessica Simpson debuting at No. 33, we have two potential No. 1 songs that could be No. 1 again by different artists (see Chart Beat).
KEEPING TAB (AND SONNY)
Recently you noted that “Young Love” by Tab Hunter and by Sonny James were never 1-2. That statement is true for Billboard’s Best Sellers in Stores, Most Played in Juke Boxes and Top 100 charts. But on the Most Played by Jockeys chart, Sonny reached No. 1 on Feb. 9, 1957, then dropped to No. 2 when Tab took over the next week. The two remained 1-2 for the next two weeks as well. So March 2, 1957 was the last date any song occupied the top two slots on any one Billboard pop chart.
Garden Grove, Calif.
Your e-mail sent me running to the bound volumes of Billboard magazines that line the wall of our office conference room. “Young Love” by Sonny James was No. 1 on the Most Played by Jockeys chart dated Feb. 9, 1957, but Tab Hunter’s version was holding at No. 4. The following week, Tab’s single leapfrogged to No. 1 while Sonny’s fell to No. 2. The two records remained in those positions for three consecutive weeks, through March 2, as you point out.
Your letter reminds me that Tab Hunter has written his autobiography and it is being published on Oct. 14 by Algonquin Books. The title is “Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star.” There will also be a new greatest hits CD coming out to coincide with the publication of the bio.
KEEP ON DANCING
“Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls featuring Busta Rhymes is now in its third week at No. 1 on the Hot Dance Music Club Play Chart. When was the last time a song spent that many weeks in the top spot? And what is the longest running No. 1 single on that chart?
At the end of 2002, “Dark Beat (Addicted 2 Drums)” by Oscar G and Ralph Falcon led the club play chart for three weeks.
There is a tie for the longest-running No. 1 in this chart’s history. The record is 11 weeks, shared by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ “Bad Luck” (1975) and Michael Jackson’s album “Thriller” (all cuts) in 1983.
Almost 50 years ago, teenagers of my generation were listening and dancing to “We Belong Together” by Robert and Johnny (on Old Town Records). How high on the Billboard chart did that song go, and what (if anything) from this hit of the 1950s did Mariah Carey sample for her latest No. 1 — aside from the title?
It’s been 47 years since Robert and Johnny graced the Billboard pop singles chart with “We Belong Together.” The single, which pre-dates the Hot 100, debuted at No. 32 on the magazine’s singles sales survey, and never went any higher.
The Mariah Carey song does share the title, but that’s all. Carey’s recording doesn’t sample the Robert and Johnny recording. There are two samples in Carey’s “We Belong Together,” though. One is a Bobby Womack song, “If You Think You’re Lonely Now,” and the other is “Two Occasions” by the Deele, the group that included Babyface and L.A. Reid.
AS IN, LIVE AID WAS ’20 YEARS AGO TODAY’
An estimated worldwide audience of 2 billion people tuned in to watch Live 8 with Paul McCartney and U2 opening with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Now that track has been released as a download along with “The Long and Winding Road.” Will those two tracks be allowed to chart like any other downloads? If so, I guess we know the No. 1 and 2 on the chart for next week.
My second question is whether it is possible to read a full set list for all Live 8 performers anywhere?
The Live 8 downloads will be eligible to chart. Billboard has already had a couple of examples of special event tracks debuting on the Hot 100, like the multi-artist recording of another Beatles’ song, “Across the Universe,” and the Melissa Etheridge/Joss Stone teaming on a medley of songs recorded by Janis Joplin, “Cry Baby/Piece of My Heart.” Both of those tracks originated on this year’s Grammy telecast.
I don’t know if the Paul McCartney & U2 collaboration on “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” will debut at No. 1 on the Hot Digital Songs tally, however. While it is only one retailer, I just checked the iTunes site and “Sgt. Pepper’s” is No. 5 on its list of most downloaded tracks. As I write this, the No. 1 download is Jessica Simpson’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.”
I don’t know of a specific site where you will find the full Live 8 set lists , but I’m sure some web-surfing will turn up the information.
CHART BEAT CHAT
Fred Bronson answers e-mail from readers.
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