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Ask Billboard: Olympics, Monica, Smokey Robinson

Readers discuss Billboard chart entries from past Olympic Games, Monica's newest R&B hit and legends celebrating birthdays today.

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.


Hi Gary,

I enjoyed your list this week of Olympics-related titles to reach Billboard charts.

Here are two more songs to add to the list:

A song originally from 1971, then re-worked two years later as the theme for the daytime soap, “The Young and the Restless,” “Nadia’s Theme” by Barry De Vorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr. was issued after the 1976 Summer Olympics and the success of gymnast Nadia Comaneci. The song then reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1976.


Four years later, as the memorable 1980 Winter Olympics took place in Lake Placid, New York, Chuck Mangione rose to No. 18 on the Hot 100, No. 1 on Adult Contemporary and No. 32 R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with the 1980 Winter Olympics theme song (originally from 1979), “Give It All You Got.”

Just two great Olympic instrumentals, both released on A&M Records, to add to your already great list.

(And, with Canada serving as this year’s host country, a spin might be in order for Bob and Doug McKenzie‘s 1982 comedy album “Great White North.” Beauty, eh?)

Ron Raymond, Jr.
Music Director, WMPG-FM
Portland, Maine

Hi Ron,

Thanks as always for sharing your extensive music knowledge.

Like so many, I’ve been glued to Olympics coverage this week. I’m sure if I ever stood at the gate at Whistler, faced with embarking on a run at speeds of 70 miles per hour on slopes that approximate icy cement, I’d be terrified. But it sure is fun to watch from a couch in a cozy living room. The athletes’ talents are astounding, and it’s always heartwarming to see them achieve dreams for which they’ve worked so hard.

Since Tuesday’s posting of Chart Beat, which highlighted Olympics-themed chart entries dating to 1984, when the first such album entered the Billboard 200, new Olympics-related music has impacted Billboard surveys.

After performing the song at the opening ceremonies last Friday (Feb. 12), k.d. lang debuts on Digital Songs at No. 75 with her version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

In Canada, lang wasn’t the only artist to benefit from a performance at the opening gala in Vancouver. Wrote Nielsen BDS Canada director Paul Tuch in this week’s Billboard Canadian Update (a weekly newsletter for which readers can sign up for free at billboard.biz):

“Montreal teen Nikki Yanofsky, who performed ‘O Canada’ during the festivities, rockets 44-1 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 with ‘I Believe,’ the official theme of broadcaster CTV’s Olympics coverage. The ballad is the first song by a Canadian artist to lead the Canadian Hot 100 since Avril Lavigne‘s ‘Girlfriend’ in March/April 2007.

“‘I Believe’ wins the Greatest Gainer/Digital medal with 31,000 downloads sold (up 1,089%), the third-best weekly sum since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales of digital tracks in February 2005; only Ke$ha‘s ‘TiK ToK’ (36,000, Jan. 9, 2010) and Flo Rida‘s ‘Right Round’ (34,000, Feb. 28, 2009) have registered more impressive frames (on Canada’s Digital Songs chart).

“Following k.d. lang’s heavily-praised performance of ‘Hallelujah,’ at the opening ceremonies, the track arrives as the Hot Shot Debut on the Canadian Hot 100 at No. 4. The song launches on Canada’s Digital Songs at No. 2.

“(And), ‘Vancouver 2010: Opening Ceremonies Commemorative Album’ debuts on Canada’s Top Albums chart at No. 21, an impressive feat considering the set was available only during the last two days of the chart’s tracking week and in a limited physical release.”‘EVERYTHING’ YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT MONICA

Hi Gary,

I enjoy reading your section of billboard.com. I’ve got a couple of questions.

Monica rises 19-15 this week on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with her new song, “Everything to Me.” How many top 10s has she scored on the chart? And, if the song reaches No. 1, will she be the first artist to enjoy No. 1 songs on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in the ’90s, ’00s, and ’10s?


Gabriel Lorenzo
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Hi Gabriel,

Thanks. Monica has earned 10 top 10s to date on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs:

Peak, Title, Year
No. 1 (two weeks), “Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days),” 1995
No. 1 (two weeks), “Before You Walk Out of My Life/Like This and Like That,” 1996
No. 3, “Why I Love You So Much/Ain’t Nobody,” 1996
No. 2, “For You I Will,” 1997
No. 1 (eight weeks), “The Boy Is Mine” (Brandy & Monica), 1998
No. 1 (six weeks), “The First Night,” 1998
No. 2, “Angel of Mine,” 1999
No. 1 (five weeks), “So Gone,” 2003
No. 6, “U Should’ve Known Better,” 2004
No. 5, “Trust” (Keyshia Cole Duet with Monica), 2009

Since the ’10s are only two months old, just two titles have led R&B/Hip-Hop Songs since January: Trey Songz‘s “I Invented Sex,” featuring Drake, and Melanie Fiona‘s “It Kills Me.” So, should “Everything to Me” reach No. 1, Monica would top the chart in a third decade.

The singer born Monica Arnold, now 29, releases “Standing Still” March 23. Her first four entries on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums all reached the top 10: “Miss Thang” (No. 7, 1996), “The Boy Is Mine” (No. 2, 1998), “After the Storm” (No. 2, 2003) and “The Makings of Me” (No. 1, 2006).

Read Billboard’s recent exclusive interview with Monica here.


Hi Gary,

Here is a trivia note for you. It would seem highly unlikely to find two members of a group (other than twins, of course) to be born on the same day in the same year.

However, today (Feb. 19), two members of the Miracles, former lead singer Smokey Robinson and fellow band mate Bobby Rogers, each turn 70.

(Two members of the Monkees share a birthday, but three years apart. Mike Nesmith (1942) and Davy Jones (1945) were both born Dec. 30).

Best always,

Larry Cohen
Trumbull, Connecticut

Hi Larry,

Thanks for acknowledging the birthdays of artists responsible for some of the biggest hits of the ’60s, including the legendary Robinson.

Happy birthday wishes today, as well, to another venerable pop artist who continues to grace Billboard charts.

Chynna Phillips turns 42 today. The singer scored three No. 1s on the Hot 100 in 1990-91 with Wilson Phillips and has recently charted on Christian Songs as half of the duo Chynna & Vaughan.