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Chart Beat Thursday: Live-Blogging The Hot 100

Taylor Swift ... Beyonce ... Black Eyed Peas ... Lady Gaga ... Come along for an in-depth tour of this week's action-packed Billboard Hot 100.

HOW HOT IS IT?: There’s so much action on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, perhaps it makes the most sense to simply run down the chart’s most notable positions, number-by-number, dissecting the numerous highlights. Kind of like a live blog of the survey, the way you might’ve scanned the tally in pre-Internet times, when you used to go to the local newspaper/cigar store, picked up the latest print issue of Billboard and began perusing it eagerly in a quiet nook. (Only this time, a shop owner won’t yell at you to buy the magazine or get out).


No. 1, “I Gotta Feeling,” the Black Eyed Peas. The quartet leads the Hot 100 for a 25th consecutive week, extending its record streak. The song reigns for a 13th week, one-upping the 12-week lead of prior single “Boom Boom Pow.” Interscope Records likewise adds to its record run at the summit for a record label, ruling for a 26th straight week; Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” led for one frame directly prior to the Peas’ stranglehold. “I Gotta Feeling” is one of nine titles in the Hot 100’s history to hold sway for at least 13 weeks.

No. 4, “You Belong With Me,” Taylor Swift. After becoming the first country artist to win a Moonman at the MTV Video Music Awards Sept. 13, Swift continues breaking through barriers. The song becomes the first country crossover to top Radio Songs/Hot 100 Airplay (2-1) since the list began incorporating Nielsen BDS-monitored data in 1990 (when Swift was less than a year old). Among country acts since on Radio Songs, Shania Twain‘s “You’re Still the One” (1998), Faith Hill‘s “Breathe” (2000) and Swift’s “Love Story” (in March) each reached No. 2.

No. 5, “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z + Alicia Keys. After performing the song to close the VMA festivities, the duo soars 50-5 on the Hot 100 and 23-1 on Digital Songs.

No. 7, “Paparazzi,” Lady Gaga. Further proof that her best new artist win at the VMAs was a smart choice: bounding 11 notches, Lady Gaga joins Christina Aguilera, Beyonce and Fergie as the only women this decade to collect four Hot 100 top 10s from a debut album. “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” each led the chart, and “LoveGame” rose to No. 5.

No. 8, “Forever,” Drake featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem. The superstar track from the upcoming LeBron James documentary “More Than a Game” is one of eight songs to launch in the top 10 this year. Three belong to Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana: “Party in the U.S.A.,” “The Climb” and “He Could Be the One.”

No. 18, “Sweet Dreams,” Beyonce. After graciously allowing Taylor Swift a second chance at an acceptance speech at the VMAs after things went south-by-West for the young country star, Beyonce bounds 15 places for her fifth top 20 hit from “I Am…Sasha Fierce.”

No. 22, “21 Guns,” Green Day. A rise of one more notch will enable the song to join the group of songs whose peak positions are represented in their titles. Prince‘s “7” and Seduction’s “Two to Make It Right” could soon initiate a new member.

No. 37, “Uprising,” Muse. The British rock trio performed the song at the VMAs and released its third album, “The Resistance,” two days later. The single re-enters the Hot 100, while the set blasts onto the Billboard 200 at No. 3, a new career-best peak for Muse on the chart.

No. 49, “I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz. Along with the Black Eyed Peas’ record occupancy at No. 1, Mraz has been rewriting Hot 100 history each week since the multi-format smash logged its 69th chart frame, tying LeAnn Rimes‘ “How Do I Live” for longest chart stay, and then passed it with its 70th week. This week, the song dips from No. 38 in its astonishing 75th week. (Could the end be near for its chart life? Titles more than 20 weeks old are removed from the Hot 100 once they rank below the top 50).

No. 50, “Happy,” Leona Lewis. After commanding the Hot 100 for four weeks last year with “Bleeding Love,” the singer previews her sophomore album, “Echo,” due Nov. 17, with a song she co-wrote with OneRepublic‘s Ryan Tedder. On Digital Songs, it starts at No. 22.

No. 66, “I Want to Know What Love Is,” Mariah Carey. The song returns to the Hot 100 24 years and 10 months after Foreigner‘s original bowed at No. 45, eventually leading the chart for two weeks. Previously charting with covers of the song were the New Jersey Mass Gospel Choir, who sang on Foreigner’s recording (No. 37 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, 1985), the Barrio Boyz (No. 40 on Tropical Songs, 2001) and Wynonna (No. 14 on Adult Contemporary, 2004).

No. 75, “Meet Me Halfway,” the Black Eyed Peas. Can the group replace itself again on the Hot 100? The journey begins for the third single from “The E.N.D.” On the Pop Songs airplay chart, it debuts at No. 36.

No. 90, “We Weren’t Born to Follow,” Bon Jovi. The New Jersey rockers celebrate 25 years of charting on the Hot 100 with, fittingly, their 25th entry on the list. The song introduces “The Circle,” due Nov. 10.

No. 96, “Cowboy Casanova,” Carrie Underwood. The track’s release to digital retailers Tuesday (Sept. 22) will send the song soaring on next week’s Hot 100 and Digital Songs charts. On Country Songs, the first taste of “Play On,” available Nov. 3, flies 18-11 as the chart’s Greatest Gainer.

No. 99, “Check My Brain,” Alice in Chains. This actually marks the venerable band’s first Hot 100 appearance. In the ’90s, its best-known songs, including 1994’s “No Excuses,” were not released as commercially-available singles and, according to chart rules at the time, were not allowed to rank on the Hot 100 despite their airplay popularity. “Check My Brain” leads Rock Songs for a third week.

(Boy, it’s smoky in here. Let’s see what else is happening before we’re shown the door …)

CHECKING IN: The legendary Chubby Checker celebrates 50 years of charting in Billboard, as “The Fly” debuts on Hot Singles Sales at No. 40. Checker first appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 dated May 23, 1959, with “The Class.” The original version of “The Fly” reached No. 7 on the Hot 100 in 1961.

Checker’s milestone accomplishment marks the latest lofty honor for the beloved entertainer. Last year, Billboard named his classic “The Twist” the No. 1 song of the Hot 100’s first 50 years.

Upon being apprised of his latest achievement, Checker told Billboard in an e-mail, “It’s so nice to get this kind of recognition, after all these years.”

Checker’s label representative, Gary Lefkowith, adds, “Chubby is so grateful for his continued success; those were the first words out of his mouth. He continues to do so many live dates, as well. Even after 50 years, the shows keep coming. A new gig came in today, and Chubby was so happy because he still loves making music, entertaining people and getting paid for what he loves to do.

“He feels God’s blessings everyday and never takes that for granted.”

SOUNDS LIKE A ‘PLAN’: Nelly Furtado‘s first Spanish-language album, “Mi Plan,” opens atop Latin Albums and Latin Pop Albums. Lead single “Manos Al Aire” spends a fourth week at No. 1 on Latin Songs.

Furtado’s new set concurrently debuts at No. 39 on the Billboard 200, where all four of her chart entries have reached the top 40. “Whoa, Nelly!” rose to No. 24 in 2001, “Folklore” peaked at No. 38 in 2003 and “Loose” debuted atop the July 1, 2006, tally, totaling 70 chart weeks through Nov. 3, 2007.

KEYS TO THE CHART: Alicia Keys logs her best start on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, as “Doesn’t Mean Anything” begins at No. 32. Among her 18 career entries on the chart, “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” represented her prior best blastoff, launching at No. 37 in November 2007.

Keys’ new track, from her upcoming fourth studio album, makes the third-grandest entrance on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs this year. The chart’s current No. 1, Maxwell‘s “Pretty Wings,” flew in at No. 22, and Whitney Houston‘s “I Look To You” arrived at No. 27.

NEW (AGE) NO. 1: Jim Brickman collects his 14th leader on New Age Albums, as “Beautiful World” commences atop the list. The piano player/songwriter ties Mannheim Steamroller for most No. 1s in the chart’s 21-year history.

Yanni ranks third with 12 New Age toppers, followed by Enya and George Winston (six apiece).

COLOURIZED: Between 1988 and 1993, Living Colour sent four albums onto the Billboard 200. Its first entry, “Vivid,” vaulted the highest, reaching No. 6 on May 6, 1989, the same week that the set’s “Cult of Personality” peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. The band was named best new artist at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards.

This week, the New York funk-rockers return after 16 years (they were disbanded between 1995 and 2000). Their fifth studio album, “The Chair in the Doorway,” debuts on the Billboard 200 at No. 161.

IN MEMORY, THROUGH MUSIC: Fans bid a fond farewell to two performers.

Following the death Sept. 16 at age 72 of Peter, Paul & Mary‘s Mary Travers, the famed folk act’s 2005 collection “The Very Best Of” debuts at No. 29 on Top Pop Catalog Albums (viewable at billboard.biz). The trio had last placed on a Billboard album chart in 1987, when “No Easy Walk to Freedom” spent five weeks on the survey, peaking at No. 173.

Peter, Paul & Mary charted 19 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1962 to 1970, with its last entry, the John Denver composition “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” becoming the group’s sole No. 1.

The passing of actor Patrick Swayze at 57 on Sept. 14 spurred a surge in sales for the soundtrack to his breakthrough movie. The 1987 companion to “Dirty Dancing” re-enters the Soundtracks album chart at No. 13, and the set’s 20th anniversary edition returns at No. 20.

22 years ago this week, the movie’s signature song, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes‘ “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” debuted on the Hot 100 at No. 73. It would go on to lead the chart dated Nov. 28, 1987.