Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to email@example.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.
LOTS OF ‘LOVE’
When I accessed billboard.com’s full menu of charts last week, I noticed that Eminem occupied No. 1 on the six major ‘overall popularity’ charts, among others: the Billboard 200, Digital Albums, the Billboard Hot 100, Radio Songs, Digital Songs and Ringtones with his album “Recovery” and his single “Love the Way You Lie” (featuring Rihanna), respectively.
When was the last time an artist topped all these charts simultaneously?
Tel Aviv, Israel
Eminem cedes the Digital Albums crown this week to Ray Lamontagne and the Pariah Dogs’ “God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise” but retains leadership of the five other charts you note. Last week, his six-survey sweep was, indeed, a rare occurrence.
Here is a look at the only artists to rule all the lists concurrently, dating to the launch of the Ringtones chart Dec. 2, 2006. Contracting Rihanna to sing a melodic chorus on a rap song seems to be a key in achieving the feat:
Alicia Keys, Dec. 1, 2007
Album: “As I Am”
Single: “No One”
T.I., Oct. 18, 2008
Album: “Paper Trail”
Singles: “Live Your Life,” featuring Rihanna (Hot 100, Digital Songs), “Whatever You Like” (Radio Songs, Ringtones)
Eminem, Aug. 28, 2010
Single: “Love the Way You Lie,” featuring Rihanna
Though Eminem leads “only” five of the six charts this week, including the Billboard 200 for a seventh frame, he takes over the top spot on Rap Songs with “Love the Way You Lie.” The song marks Eminem’s fourth No. 1 on the chart and first as a lead artist since “The Real Slim Shady” in 2000.
Rihanna celebrates her third Rap Songs No. 1 in-a-row, following her turn on T.I.’s “Live Your Life” and with Jay-Z and Kanye West on “Run This Town.” In her only other appearance on Rap Songs, her debut hit “Pon De Replay” reached No. 7 in 2005.
‘LOST’ WINNING AT CLUBS, ON AC RADIO
I am a huge, huge, huge Christina Aguilera fan. I just wanted to know the sales of her latest album, “Bionic.”
San Francisco, California
“Bionic” has sold 228,000 copies since its release in June, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The set ranks as the year’s 76th-best-selling album.
Aguilera’s career album sales stand at 16.4 million. Her 1999 self-titled debut album accounts for half of her career total, with 8.2 million copies sold to-date.
“You Lost Me,” the second single from “Bionic,” rises 25-20 on Dance/Club Play Songs and 29-28 on Adult Contemporary.
BE MY (UNCREDITED) GUEST (ARTIST)
Thanks for introducing, and continuing, another interesting topic: uncredited artists on recordings. (I’ve been away on holiday and just saw the original two-part article and subsequent reader letters).
A complete list of uncredited artists would be almost impossible, but here are a few more:
David Bowie, “Fame” (1975)
John Lennon contributes the “fame, fame, fame …” vocals near the end of the two-week Hot 100-topping song.
Samantha Sang, “Emotion” (1978)
Barry Gibb sings backup on this No. 3 Hot 100 ballad. His trademark falsetto is so prominent that this song could easily be mistaken for a Bee Gees recording.
Steve Martin, “King Tut” (1978)
This No. 17 novelty Hot 100 hit included backup from the Toot Uncommons … aka, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Speaking of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, two singles from the group in 1980 featured uncredited vocalists: Linda Ronstadt on “An American Dream” and Nicolette Larson on “Make a Little Magic.”
Pink Floyd, “The Wall” (album) (1979)
Most people might not know that Toni Tennille of Captain & Tennille fame sings backup on this classic recording, which led the Billboard 200 for 15 weeks.
Bruce Willis, “Respect Yourself” (1987)
This No. 5-peaking remake on the Hot 100 of the Staple Singers’ chestnut may not have been as big a hit without the vocal stylings of the late June Pointer.
(I’ll probably think of more after I send this e-mail …)
Thanks again for starting this discussion,
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Regarding more uncredited artists on memorable hits, here some from the ’80s and early ’90s that come to mind:
Paul Simon, “Graceland” (1986)
Despite stopping at No. 81 on the Hot 100, the song won the 1987 Record of the Year Grammy Award and the album of the same name won Album of the Year honors. The title track features the Everly Brothers on backing vocals and the set’s “Under African Skies” showcases Linda Ronstadt.
Peter Gabriel, “In Your Eyes”
Famed African singer Youssou N’Dour contributes vocals to this twice-charting Hot 100 song (No. 26, 1986, No. 41, 1989).
Steve Winwood, “Back in the High Life” (1987)
After Chaka Khan sang backup on Winwood’s 1986 Hot 100 No. 1 “Higher Love,” James Taylor added his voice to this No. 13-peaking single, which topped Adult Contemporary for three weeks. Joni Mitchell and Carole King, incidentally, sang on Taylor’s No. 31 hit “Long Ago and Far Away” in 1971 and his then-wife Carly Simon added harmonies to his No. 5 “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (with David Sanborn on saxophone) in 1975 and the No. 22 “Shower the People” in 1976. David Crosby and Graham Nash, meanwhile, helped out on Taylor’s “Mexico” (No. 49, 1975).
Phil Collins, “I Wish It Would Rain Down” (1990)
Eric Clapton plays guitar on this No. 4 Hot 100 smash. David Crosby’s vocals round out the previous single from “…But Seriously,” the No. 1 “Another Day in Paradise,” and Babyface produced and sang on Collins’ 1998 remake of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.”
Deee-Lite, “Groove Is in the Heart” (1990)
This fun song features funk pioneer Bootsy Collins on vocals, as well as rapping from Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest. The track reached No. 4 on the Hot 100.