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Black Keys ‘Up’ To No. 1 On Alternative Songs

The duo continues the dominance of new acts at the format, as "Tighten Up" becomes the record-tying sixth No. 1 by a rookie band in 2010.

ROO-KEYS OF THE YEAR: Akron, Ohio’s the Black Keys reach the top spot on Alternative Songs with their first chart entry, as “Tighten Up” ascends 2-1.

The song appears on the act’s sixth studio album, “Brothers,” which soars 48-27 as the Greatest Gainer (14,000, up 64%, according to Nielsen SoundScan) on the Billboard 200 to be released tomorrow (Oct. 28). The set debuted at No. 3 on the June 5, chart with sales of 73,000.

The duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney (“Feels good to be No. 1!,” Carney tells Chart Beat) is the sixth act to send a maiden charted title to the Alternative Songs summit this year, following Phoenix (“1901”), Crash Kings (“Mountain Man”), the Dirty Heads (“Lay Me Down,” featuring Rome), Neon Trees (pictured, left) (“Animal”) and Mumford & Sons (“Little Lion Man”).

2010 ties 1997 for highest number of Alternative Songs No. 1s by new acts since the chart adopted Nielsen BDS-monitored data in 1993. The six acts that ruled on their first tries 13 years ago: Third Eye Blind (“Semi-Charmed Life”), matchbox 20 (“Push”), Sugar Ray (“Fly”), Smash Mouth (“Walkin’ on the Sun”), Chumbawamba (“Tubthumping”) and Marcy Playground (“Sex and Candy”).


“Tighten Up,” which grants the Nonesuch imprint a No. 1 with its first Alternative Songs entry, is a “perfect example of a five-year plan that now has led to massive success,” says Warner Bros. VP/alternative promotion Rob Goldklang, citing the band’s first release on Nonesuch, “Magic Potion,” in 2006.

“We sent ‘Tighten Up’ to radio seven months ago with early support from only a few stations. An incredible marketing plan helped lead to the album’s strong sales, amazing placement on TV (“Gossip Girl,” “House,” “Hung”) and a sold-out headlining tour.” A Subaru campaign featuring the song has begun, as well, notes Goldklang.

“All of us at Warner Bros., Nonesuch and Q Prime Management are thankful to alternative radio and feel that this is just the beginning.”

NEON TREES’ NEW HEIGHTS: After completing the lengthiest journey (32 weeks) to the Alternative Songs summit earlier this month, Neon Trees’ “Animal” reaches the Pop Songs top 10 (12-10).

With the advance, the group is the first act to carry a former Alternative Songs leader to the Pop Songs top tier this year.

Since 2005, when two former Alternative Songs toppers subsequently reached the Pop Songs top 10 – Weezer‘s “Beverly Hills” (No. 2) and Green Day‘s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (No. 1, four weeks) – just two tracks had followed such a crossover path prior to Neon Trees’ introductory hit.

A year ago this month, Kings of Leon‘s “Use Somebody” spent a week at No. 1 on Pop Songs after leading Alternative Songs for three weeks in April.

In December 2007, Finger Eleven‘s “Paralyzer” reached No. 5 on Pop Songs after the track had reigned atop Alternative Songs for a frame that August.

LEE LEADS: For the second time in three weeks, a jazz veteran ends a lengthy absence from commanding a Billboard survey.

Two weeks ago, Earl Klugh celebrated his first No. 1 in 18 years, as Brian Culbertson’s “That’s Life,” on which he guests, lifted 2-1 on Smooth Jazz Songs. Klugh had last reigned when “Cool,” with Bob James, conquered Top Contemporary Jazz Albums in 1992.

This week, Lee Ritenour notches his first No. 1 in 17 years, as Dave Koz‘s “Put the Top Down,” on which he’s credited as a featured act, rises 2-1 on Smooth Jazz Songs.

Ritenour had last led when “Wes Bound” spent three weeks in charge of Top Contemporary Jazz Albums in May 1993.

“Put the Top Down” is Koz’s third Smooth Jazz Songs No. 1. He inked twin seven-week leads with “Life in the Fast Lane” in 2008 and as a featured artist on Bernie Williams’ “Ritmo De Otono” earlier this year.