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Chart Beat Thursday: Loretta Lynn, Madonna, Peter Wolf

While George Strait makes history on Country Songs, fellow format icon Loretta Lynn returns to Country Albums, making her birthday extra special.

MINING ANOTHER HIT: George Strait isn’t the only country legend making chart headlines this week.

While the King of Country notches a top 10 on Country Songs in a record 30th consecutive year, as “I Gotta Get to You” zips 12-9, Loretta Lynn adds to her legacy with a debut on Country Albums. The singer – who celebrated her 75th birthday yesterday – returns to the list after four years and 10 months, as “50th Anniversary Collection” debuts at No. 44. She had last appeared with the No. 2-peaking “Van Lear Rose,” produced by the White Stripes‘ Jack White, in 2004-05.

The new retrospective expands Lynn’s career span on the chart to 46 years, three months and one week, dating to Jan. 18, 1964, the tally’s second week of existence.

An appearance on the first Country Albums chart is enough to give Johnny Cash a one-week lead over Lynn for longest span on the survey. Cash appears at No. 15 this week with “American VI: Ain’t No Grave.” He inaugurated the chart when “Ring of Fire (The Best of Johnny Cash)” led the maiden list dated Jan. 11, 1964.

“50th Anniversary Collection” marks Lynn’s 59th entry on Country Albums, a sum that includes 12 duet albums with Conway Twitty, four sets with Ernest Tubb and one with Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. Among women, only Parton has made more visits to the chart, having tallied 76 charted titles.

The new set commemorates the golden anniversary of Lynn’s first visit to Country Songs. “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” entered the then-30-position list at No. 28 on June 13, 1960, eventually peaking at No. 14.

As she won a new generation of fans by collaborating with White, Lynn is an esteemed member of the 2010 Lilith Tour lineup. “I’m happy they wanted me. I have never done shows just with other girl singers before,” says Lynn.

“When I first started out, they said girl singers couldn’t sell records or concert tickets. We’ve come a long way since then, and we’re gonna have a big time out there!”

CONCERTED EFFORT: Madonna enters the Billboard 200 at No. 10 with her third live album, “Sticky & Sweet Tour.”

As previously reported, The CD/DVD set is the Queen of Pop’s 19th top 10 title, tying her with Bob Dylan for sixth-place for most top 10s in the Billboard 200’s 54-year history. Ahead are the Rolling Stones (36 top 10s), Frank Sinatra (33), the Beatles and Barbra Streisand (30 each) and Elvis Presley (27).

Madonna’s two prior concert albums had fallen short of the top tier. The “I’m Going to Tell You a Secret” soundtrack peaked at No. 33 in 2006, and “The Confessions Tour” peaked at No. 15 in 2007.

Get ready for more Madonna music to chart soon: “Glee – the Music, the Power of Madonna” arrives Tuesday (April 19), the same day that the Fox series pays tribute to the icon. The set features cast covers of eight songs, including the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s “Open Your Heart” (paired in a medley with “Borderline”), “Vogue,” “Like a Virgin” and “Like a Prayer.”

‘MIDNIGHT’ BRINGS OUT WOLF: Peter Wolf ends an almost 20-year absence from the Billboard 200, as “Midnight Souvenirs” debuts at No. 45. The set is the former J. Geils Band frontman’s first solo album to chart since “Up to No Good” wrapped a seven-week run on the chart on May 12, 1990.

The new album grants Wolf his highest-charting set on the Billboard 200 since his 1984 release “Lights Out” peaked at No. 24.

In a chart coincidence, what are the chances that the week that an artist named Wolf returns, he ranks back-to-back with the soundtrack “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” at No. 46? Plus, on the other side of Wolf at No. 44 sits Dr. Dog.

(We might have to amend Billboard 200 chart manager Keith Caulfield’s title to include zookeeper. Also at home on the range of the chart’s positions this week are Gorillaz, Owl City, Snoop Dogg, Scorpions, Cage the Elephant, Them Crooked Vultures and Sick Puppies. Honorable mention, for spelling, to the Beatles).

NOT SO TINY MUSIC: Having already reached the top of Rock Songs, where the group rules for a second frame, Stone Temple Pilots post their first No. 1 on Alternative Songs, as “Between the Lines” rises 3-1.

The reunited band finally reaches the latter survey’s summit with its 20th chart entry, 17 years and two weeks after it first appeared with “Plush” on April 10, 1993.

With Stone Temple Pilots having crossed a No. 1 Alternative Songs hit off their Billboard bucket list, Godsmack now stands as the act with the most appearances on the chart without reaching the apex. “Cryin’ Like a Bitch!,” at No. 31 this week, is Godsmack‘s 18th charted title at the format. The band has peaked as high as No. 6 with “Voodoo” in 2000.

STRAIGHT UP: Perhaps best known for its jolly 2008 reinvention of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” which blended the carol with Toto’s “Africa,” Straight No Chaser debuts on Adult Contemporary at No. 30 with a cover of Queen‘s “You’re My Best Friend.”

The bow marks the first remake of a Queen song to reach the chart since the group revived its own “Somebody to Love” with George Michael, and sent the song to a No. 42 peak, in 1993.

In Queen’s sole other appearance on the list, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” reached No. 17 in 1980.

CHART BEAT BITS: 2007 “American Idol” runner-up Blake Lewis ascends to No. 1 on Dance/Club Play Songs with “Heartbreak on Vinyl.” With the coronation, he and that year’s champion Jordin Sparks (“S.O.S. (Let the Music Play),” 2009) are the show’s only top-two finishers to command the list. Last year’s runner-up, and this week’s mentor, on “American Idol,” Adam Lambert meanwhile notches his first top 10 on a U.S. Billboard airplay chart, as “Whataya Want From Me” lifts 12-9 on Adult Pop Songs …

As previously reported, Usher collects his 15th top 10 on the Hot 100 and quickest since 1998, as “OMG” jumps 14-10 in its second chart week. On R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, the singer earns his 20th top 10, as “Lil Freak,” featuring Nicki Minaj, rises 11-9. Dating to his first week in the latter list’s top 10 with “Think of You” exactly 15 years ago today (April 15, 1995), Usher’s top 10 total in that span trails those of only R. Kelly (28), Ludacris (25) and Jay-Z (23) …

OneRepublic‘s “All the Right Moves” enters the Adult Pop Songs top 10 (11-8) in its 28th chart week. The song completes the longest climb to the chart’s upper bracket since Augustana’s “Boston” capped a record 32-week marathon in January 2007. On the Hot 100, “All the Right Moves” rebounds to No. 18, its highest rank to-date on the chart …

Upon its debut on the Billboard 200, Jakob Dylan‘s second solo album does twice as well as his debut set. “Women + Country” bows at No. 12 this week; his “Seeing Things” debuted and peaked at No. 24 in June 2008. The new album’s entrance affords Dylan his highest placement on the survey since his band the Wallflowers’ “Bringing Down the Horse” ranked at No. 12 on the chart dated Aug. 9, 1997, after peaking at No. 4 in a 98-week stay. Click here for Dylan’s exclusive video interview with Billboard, taped last month at SXSW in Austin, Texas …

Caffeine and slumber don’t often go together, but the Starbucks exclusive “Rockabye Baby!: Lullaby Renditions of Baby’s Favorite Rock Songs” makes for a winning combination, as the album marks the Rockabye Baby! franchise’s first Billboard 200 showing at No. 111. The soothing set, which also starts on Kids Albums at No. 3, features gentle instrumentals of such hits as Aerosmith‘s “Dream On” and Metallica‘s “Nothing Else Matters.” Regarding the lush take of Guns N’ Roses‘ “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” the Rockabye Baby! label convincingly explains the appropriateness of the choice. “Is a sweet child o’ yours trying your patience at bedtime? Do you have an appetite for noise reduction? Welcome to the nursery, baby. It’s paradise city.”