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Ask Billboard: Going Gaga For Album Re-Releases

How will Billboard chart the re-release of Lady Gaga's debut album, the expanded "The Fame Monster"? Find out in this week's mailbag.

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hey Gary,

In reference to your stating in last week’s Ask Billboard that ABC‘s “When Smokey Sings” and Smokey Robinson‘s “Just to See Her” missed appearing together in the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10 in 1987, that’s true. However, the former track and a different Robinson single did share space in the top 10.


On Oct. 3, 1987, “When Smokey Sings” dropped from No. 6 to No. 8, while Robinson’s “One Heartbeat” rose to its peak of No. 10 from No. 16.

So, “When Smokey Sings” and, well, Smokey singing, were in the top 10 simultaneously.


Jason Shelley

Hi Jason,

Thanks very much for catching the connection.

(I guess I could be the answer to Robinson’s No. 46-peaking song in 1970, “Who’s Gonna Take the Blame,” for not noting the feat last week).


Hi Gary!

I thought of more hit songs first released on best-of albums to add to those previously mentioned in Ask Billboard.

In 1985, “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” (No. 9) and “The Night Is Still Young” (No. 34) became hits for Billy Joel from his “Greatest Hits Vol. I and II.”

In 1986, the Cars motored to No. 7 with “Tonight She Comes” from their “Greatest Hits” album.

And, from 2005’s “Curtain Call,” two Hot 100 top 10s by Eminem: “When I’m Gone” (No. 8, 2005) and “Shake That” (No. 6, 2006).


John Maverick
Burt County, Nebraska

Hi John,

Thanks for your additional research. Appreciation, again, to all readers who’ve helped build up an impressive list of songs related to this fun topic.



As you know, there have been hundreds of songs that have spent a solitary week on the Billboard Hot 100, a real ‘hello goodbye’ chart life, if you will. I would like to know which ‘one week wonder’ has debuted the highest on the chart, only to disappear the following week and never return.

Thank you,

Andy Leon
Ruskin, Florida

Hi Andy,

With the advent of the digital single, it has become more common for songs to debut high on the Hot 100 and never record a second week on the chart. The practice of multiple songs being made available to digital retailers one week at a time to build anticipation for an album release has especially contributed to certain high, but brief, chart stays. In fact, the song that tops the list of highest ranks for songs that totaled a lone chart week was the title cut to the then-forthcoming Jonas Brothers album last year.

With sales of “American Idol” contestants’ songs withheld until the conclusion of the two most recent seasons of the series, several titles by the show’s finalists have debuted following the 2008 and 2009 finales for single-frame stays.

Here are the titles to bow in the Hot 100’s top 40, yet not notch a second chart week:

No. 11, “A Little Bit Longer,” Jonas Brothers (2008)
No. 22, “Across the Universe,” Various Artists (2005)
No. 28, “The World I Know,” David Cook (2008)
No. 32, “3am,” Eminem (2009)
No. 36, “Imagine,” David Archuleta (2008)
No. 37, “Nude,” Radiohead (2008)

The Glee Cast‘s “Sweet Caroline” debuted this week at No. 34; we’ll see if it posts a second week or becomes the fifth-highest-charting one-week entry.

As of this posting, Taylor Swift is dotting iTunes’ top songs list with several cuts from the “Platinum Edition” of “Fearless.” It’s possible that any of the set’s new songs, such as “Jump Then Fall,” could arrive at lofty Hot 100 positions next week, then depart after the buzz of their first-week availability fades.

Speaking of Swift …


Hi Gary,

My question is in regard to album re-releases. We have seen that a fair number of albums, hugely successful or not, get re-released in some way or another. What is the new-song limit that Billboard has when counting an album as a re-release or not?

I remember Rihanna‘s album “Good Girl Gone Bad” was ‘re-loaded’ with three new tracks last year, but the chart life of the album was combined with its first version. Will the Nov. 23 re-release of Lady Gaga‘s debut collection, re-entitled “The Fame Monster,” be considered a re-release or a new album? It will contain not three or four new songs, but eight, which is even more than those on a standard EP or Taylor Swift’s “Platinum Edition” of “Fearless,” which contains six new songs.

Thank you,

Juan Croussett
Tampa, Florida

Hi Juan,

For the clearest explanation as to how Billboard will chart the releases you mention, I asked Billboard 200 chart manager Keith Caulfield. Here is his response:

“Billboard has many guidelines about the merging of so-called special edition albums with their original parent albums. Generally speaking, two or more versions of an album will not be merged if the title of the special edition version is substantially different from the original. For Lady Gaga’s ‘The Fame’ and ‘The Fame Monster,’ we feel that the change was in line with what we’ve allowed in the past (a la Rihanna’s ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ and ‘Good Girl Gone Bad Reloaded’).

“Additionally, for our chart purposes, there is no limit as to how many audio tracks or songs can be added to an original album, as long as the additional audio content does not extend beyond one additional CD (or digital equivalent) and the content of the standard edition remains intact.

“Thus, the reissue of Lady Gaga’s ‘The Fame’ in a deluxe version (‘The Fame Monster’) with additional songs will have its sales combined with the original ‘Fame’ album. The same goes for the ‘Platinum Edition’ of Taylor Swift’s ‘Fearless’.”


Hi Gary,

With Owl City‘s trip to No. 1 this week on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Fireflies,” it made me wonder how many other animals have been mentioned in titles of previous chart-toppers.

“Fireflies” is the 18th song with an animal in its title to hit No. 1. 11 mammals, one reptile, three birds, one amphibian, and now two insects have been the subject of leading hits. (We won’t count titles with “human,” “man” or “woman,” etc. for this item).

In the ’50s, the Everly Brothers sang the No. 1 “Bird DOG,” and the Chipmunks reigned with a song about themselves, “The CHIPMUNK Song.” (Prior to the Hot 100’s 1958 start, Elvis Presley, of course, gave us “Hound DOG” and “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy BEAR”).

The ’60s featured No. 1s about a “Running BEAR” (Johnny Preston) a sleeping LION (the Tokens) and “PONY Time” (Chubby Checker).

The ’70s introduced us to “A HORSE wtih no name” (America), a CROCODILE that rocked (Elton John), a “CAT in the Cradle” (Harry Chapin), a flying ROBIN (Silver Convention) and a “Disco DUCK” (Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots).

The animal-friendly ’80s included No. 1 songs about a TIGER (Survivor), a CHAMELEON (Culture Club), DOVES (Prince), a “MONKEY” (George Michael) and a dancing BAT (Prince, again).

The lone animal stalking the Hot 100 summit in the ’90s was Janet Jackson‘s “Black CAT.”

This decade has brought No. 1s exclusively about insects. Crazy Town led with “Butterfly,” and now OWL City rules with “FIREFLIES.”

An additional trivia nugget: Owl City’s “Fireflies” is the first Hot 100 No. 1 about an animal by an artist with an animal in its name since the Chipmunks’ “The Chipmunk Song” in 1958.


Heather Hansen
Ft. Myers, Florida

Hi Heather,

What a great, in-depth recap (and science refresher). A neat, unique angle on the Hot 100’s new leader.

The only song I might add to your list, as an honorable mention, is 1964’s No. 1 “The House of the Rising Sun” by – who else? – the Animals.

And, in terms of artists, citing only those with matching spelling (thus discounting acts such as the Beatles, the Byrds, Def Leppard, Jamie Foxx, the Monkees or Eddie Rabbitt), those comprising a Hot 100 No. 1 zoo of sorts: John Cougar, the Eagles, Los Lobos (Spanish for “wolves”), the Partridge Family, Seal, Billy Swan, the Teddy Bears, Three Dog Night, the Turtles and Whitesnake.

(And maybe the Pet Shop Boys).


We’ll close this week’s Ask Billboard with a Halloween treat. Here are the 10 most-played Halloween-related songs a year ago on all radio stations monitored by Nielsen BDS (from Oct. 26 through Nov. 1, 2008):

“Thriller,” Michael Jackson
“Monster Mash,” Bobby “Boris Pickett & the Crypt-kickers
“Ghostbusters,” Ray Parker Jr.
“Werewolves of London,” Warren Zevon
“Don’t Fear the Reaper,” Blue Oyster Cult
“Dragula,” Rob Zombie
“Witchy Woman,” Eagles
“A Nightmare on My Street,” DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
“Somebody’s Watching Me,” Rockwell
“Frankenstein,” Edgar Winter Group

(Each Oct. 31, the Providence, Rhode Island, station at which I used to work, Coast 93.3, would become “Ghost 93.3,” a name coined by a former station staffer, the clever Dave Newfell. As we used to say, no matter the time of day, on Halloween, every DJ works the graveyard shift …)