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Chart Beat Thursday: “Glee” Club Of Hits Expands

The top Hot 100 No. 1 of the '80s - Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" - returns, as the "Glee" cast continues to make chart history.

“GLEE”: THE ROAD TO THE RECORD BOOK: While the members of William McKinley High School’s glee club initially feared that joining the singing troupe would hurt their potential popularity, this week’s Billboard Hot 100 illustrates that the ensemble’s coolness can’t be questioned. (Sorry, Sue Sylvester).

For a second consecutive week, the “Glee” cast sends five songs onto the survey, upping its count of Hot 100 hits to 43, all in less than a year. The club first charted with “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” and “Rehab” on the chart dated June 6, 2009.


With its five debuts this week, the “Glee” cast has tied the Bee Gees for ninth-most chart appearances among non-solo acts in the Hot 100’s 52-year history. Here is a look at the groups with the most chart visits:

71, the Beatles
57, the Rolling Stones
55, the Beach Boys
53, the Temptations
46, Chicago
46, the Miracles
45, Four Tops
45, the Supremes
43, Bee Gees
43, “Glee” cast

On Digital Songs, the ensemble’s 49 entries to-date pass Lil Wayne‘s 48 for most since the chart began contributing to the Hot 100 in February 2005.

The hit Fox series has clearly benefitted from airing in an age when Gleeks can download songs immediately after they premiere on TV. (Perhaps prior TV acts such as the Monkees or the Partridge Family might have logged even heftier chart histories than they did had digital purchasing options existed during their runs).

While the “Glee” cast now ranks among the 10 non-solo acts with the most Hot 100 appearances, it’s notable that its 43 entries have spent a modest 57 weeks combined on the chart. Just eight of its first 38 spent more than one week on the list, and one, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” charted for more than three weeks. Comparatively, the Beatles have totaled 617 chart weeks on the Hot 100, the Rolling Stones 585 and the Beach Boys 549.

Of course, the success of “Glee” recordings has been monumental, with total U.S. album sales of 1.6 million and digital track sales of 6.4 million to-date, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (The “Glee” club’s nemesis Cheerios coach can’t be that upset; Jane Lynch (Sue)’s vocals on such tracks as “Vogue” and “Physical” contribute to the series’ lofty sales sum).

5% ECLIPSE OF THE CHART: Here is a comparison of the chart performances of the original and remade versions of the pop classics that the “Glee” cast returns to the Hot 100 this week:

“Total Eclipse of the Heart”
Bonnie Tyler: No. 1 (four weeks), 1983
“Glee” cast: No. 16 (marking the act’s second-highest-peaking hit; “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” reached No. 4)

“Run Joey Run”
David Geddes: No. 4, 1975
“Glee” cast: No. 61

“Ice Ice Baby”
Vanilla Ice: No. 1 (one week), 1990
“Glee” cast: No. 74

Olivia Newton-John: No. 1 (10 weeks), 1981-82
“Glee” cast: No. 89

“U Can’t Touch This”
M.C. Hammer: No. 8, 1990
“Glee” cast: No. 92

The new version of “Physical” – the top-ranked song of the ’80s in Billboard’s Hot 100 50th anniversary recap in 2008 – features Olivia Newton-John. The superstar, who guested on last week’s episode of “Glee,” makes her 37th career Hot 100 appearance and first since her remake of her own “I Honestly Love You” ranked at No. 99 on the chart dated Aug. 15, 1998.

TWO WITH THREE NO. 1s: As previously reported, Eminem charges onto the Hot 100 at No. 1 with “Not Afraid.” The song is the 16th title to debut at the apex and first since Britney Spears‘ “3” burst in at No. 1 in October.

Chart Beat reader Michael Matthiesen of Miami notes some similarities between Eminem and Spears. Each has earned their third No. 1s with their launches atop the chart. Their second No. 1s – Spears’ “Womanizer” and Eminem’s “Crack a Bottle” – each registered dizzying vaults to the top: 96-1 and 78-1, respectively. And, each performer’s total U.S. album sales to-date stand at fairly similar sums: 35.7 million for Eminem and 31.5 million for Spears, according to SoundScan.

(Of course, the artists’ career coincidences aren’t absolute. Eminem never was a Mouseketeer).

KING’S A QUEEN: Carole King and James Taylor bound onto the Billboard 200 at No. 4 with “Live at the Troubadour.” The set features performances from the pair’s three-night run at the West Hollywood, California club during its 50th anniversary celebration in 2007. King and Taylor had first performed together at the Troubadour in 1970.

The album’s bow grants King her first top 10 on the Billboard 200 since 1976, when “Thoroughbred” reached No. 3. With the new CD/DVD entering the Top Internet Albums tally at No. 1, King enjoys her first leader on a Billboard list since “Only Love Is Real,” from “Thoroughbred,” topped the Adult Contemporary chart dated March 27, 1976.

For Taylor, the new album’s start grants him at least one Billboard 200 top 10 in each decade since the ’70s. He joins Michael Jackson as the only artists to appear in the top 10 in each of the last five decades.

ROCK ON: Hard rock band Godsmack sends its third consecutive studio album to the Billboard 200 summit, as “The Oracle” starts at No. 1. The group ruled with “Faceless” in 2003 and “IV” in 2006.

A rock veteran takes a somewhat more unexpected turn, as Faith No More frontman Mike Patton debuts on Classical Albums at No. 2 with “Mondo Cane.” Inspired by a trip Patton made to Italy, the set sports Italian pop songs from the ’50s and ’60s, which he recorded over a series of European concerts, backed by a 40-piece orchestra.

CHART BEAT BITS: Alicia Keys claims her eighth R&B/Hip-Hop Songs No. 1, as “Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)” zooms 5-1. On R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Toni Braxton notches her first No. 1 in 10 years, as “Pulse” arrives in the top spot. The singer had last led in May 2000 with “The Heat,” the third of her three consecutive career-opening No. 1s, following “Toni Braxton” (1993) and “Secrets” (1996) …

Last week’s “American Idol” mentor and theme subject each register sales surges. Harry Connick, Jr. re-enters the Billboard 200 at No. 58 with “Your Songs,” while Frank Sinatra returns at Nos. 129 and 194 with “Nothing But the Best” and “Classic Sinatra: His Great Performances 1953-1960,” respectively …

Korn previews its ninth studio album and first in three years, “Korn III: Remember Who You Are,” due July 13, as “Oildale (Leave Me Alone)” debuts on Rock Songs at No. 41. The track nets 1.9 million first-week audience impressions on 79 stations, according to Nielsen BDS …

Heartbeat Boys score their second No. 1 on Hot Singles Sales, as “I Believe” bows in the penthouse. The central Florida quintet led on its first try with “Christmas Oh Christmas” in 2007. The act, whose members range from ages 11 to 16, was discovered by Maurice Starr, the famed writer/producer behind the success of New Edition and New Kids on the Block …

Betty White isn’t the only octogenarian still enjoying buzzworthy success. 82-year old singer/satirist Tom Lehrer rises to No. 1 on Billboard’s Comedy Albums chart with “The Tom Lehrer Collection.” The singer/songwriter, who for several decades taught at Harvard, MIT and University of California, Santa Cruz, contributed songs to PBS’ “The Electric Company” in the ’70s and has been cited as inspiration for fellow parodists Dr. Demento and “Weird Al” Yankovic.