HE IS NOT ALONE: Not only does Michael Jackson‘s “This Is It” blast onto the Billboard 200 at No. 1, but several artists with ties to the late King of Pop also enter Billboard charts this week.
“This Is It” marks Jackson’s sixth No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Here is a rundown of his leaders, beginning with the longest-reigning No. 1 by a non-soundtrack set (“West Side Story” led for 54 frames) in the chart’s 53-year history:
Chart Date Reached No. 1, Title (Weeks at No. 1)
Feb. 26, 1983, “Thrilller” (37)
Sept. 26, 1987, “Bad” (6)
Dec. 14, 1991, “Dangerous” (4)
July 8, 1995, “HIStory: Past, Present and Future – Book I” (2)
Nov. 17, 2001, “Invincible” (1)
Nov. 14, 2009, “This Is It (Soundtrack)” (1 to date)
With the new album’s No. 1 launch (the release also opens atop Soundtrack Albums), Jackson ties for second-most weeks on top of the Billboard 200 among solo males. Elvis Presley leads with 67 frames in charge, followed by Garth Brooks and now Jackson, each with 51. (The Beatles lead all acts with 132 combined weeks at No. 1).
Jackson also debuts at No. 91 with “This Is It: Selections From (EP) (Soundtrack),” and the two sets are not the only new entries by Jackson family members this week. The Jackson 5 decorate the Billboard 200 at No. 161 with “Ultimate Christmas Collection.” Not to be left out among her older siblings, Janet Jackson debuts on Dance/Club Play Songs at No. 50 with “Make Me.”
Two additional artists whose careers are entwined with Michael Jackson arrive on the Billboard 200. Orianthi starts at No. 125 with “Believe.” The 24-year-old Australian guitarist can be seen performing in the film “This Is It,” as she would’ve showcased her talents on Jackson’s proposed 50-date “This Is It” stand of shows in London.
At No. 178, “The Essential ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic” bows. The singer/actor/accordionist rocketed to the mainstream with “Eat It,” his parody of Jackson’s “Beat It,” in 1984. The new 35-song collection also sports “Fat,” Yankovic’s 1988 spoof of Jackson’s “Bad.” Following Jackson’s death in June, Yankovic remembered the star fondly. “The first time I pursued (him) about a song parody, it was a shot in the dark. We’re talking about the most popular and famous person in the known universe, and here I was, this goofy comedy songwriter.
“He not only returned our phone calls, but he approved it,” said Yankovic, who described Jackson as “very soft-spoken, very quiet, but always very friendly to me.”
TAYLOR SWIFT BEAT: Also known as Chart Beat.
Following a landmark week on the Billboard 200, Swift makes more history on the Billboard Hot 100, as she becomes the first artist in the 51-year history of the chart to debut five songs simultaneously in the top 30. Since arriving in 2006, Swift has amassed 11 top 30 debuts. With 13, only the Beatles have totaled more top 30 starts in the Hot 100’s archives.
After her sophomore album “Fearless” was re-issued in its “Platinum Edition” form, all six of the set’s new songs appear in the Hot 100’s top 40. Five debut – “Jump Then Fall” (No. 10), “Untouchable” (No. 19), “The Other Side of the Door” (No. 23), “Superstar” (No. 26) and “Come In With the Rain” (No. 30) – while “Forever & Always,” re-recorded as a piano ballad, re-enters at No. 34. The lattermost track first spent a week at No. 49 in December 2008.
The six songs join chart holdovers “You Belong With Me” (No. 14) and “Fifteen” (No. 46). As Swift also re-enters at No. 79 as a featured artist on Boys Like Girls‘ “Two Is Better Than One,” her nine chart listings grant her the most charted titles in a week by a solo female. Among all artists, the Beatles lead with 14 concurrent entries, achieved on the Hot 100 dated April 11, 1964.
DERULO RULES: Beyond Taylor Swift’s (latest) achievements, Jason DeRulo becomes the fourth artist of 2009 to take a maiden Billboard Hot 100 chart entry to No. 1, as “Whatcha Say” rises 2-1.
Previously topping the tally on their first tries this year were Lady Gaga with “Just Dance,” Jay Sean with “Down” and Owl City with “Fireflies,” which this week dips to No. 2. (Even though it ascended to the top of the Hot 100 last week, “Fireflies” makes its first appearance in the top 10 of an airplay chart this week, as the song soars 14-10 on Mainstream Top 40).
The last year in which more new artists reached the Hot 100 summit was 2006, when D4L (“Laffy Taffy”), Daniel Powter (“Bad Day”), Fergie (“London Bridge”), James Blunt (“You’re Beautiful”) and Ne-Yo (“So Sick”) all led with their rookie Hot 100 songs.
“Whatcha Say,” co-written by Sean Kingston, is the first Hot 100 No. 1 for the venerable Warner Bros. label since Powter’s topper three years ago. Its other leader this decade was Madonna‘s “Music” in 2000.
Those are the only three solo female artists whose debut albums have yielded five top 10s on the Billboard Hot 100.
Paula Abdul notched a quintet of top 10s from “Forever Your Girl” in 1989-90. Fergie equaled the feat with five tracks from “The Dutchess” in 2006-07.
This week, Lady Gaga storms in with the Hot 100’s Hot Shot Debut, “Bad Romance,” at No. 9. The cut follows four prior top 10s from her introductory album, “The Fame”: the No. 1s “Just Dance” (three weeks) and “Poker face” (one week), the No. 5 “LoveGame” and No. 6 (to date) “Paparazzi.”
(Of course, we should note that “Bad Romance” appears only on the re-release of Lady Gaga’s debut album, the expanded “The Fame Monster,” due Nov. 23. But, as Billboard chart rules dictate that “The Fame” and “The Fame Monster” will count as one merged chart entry, it, therefore, seems fair to count Lady Gaga among the elite women who’ve arrived with such a high-five Hot 100 reception).
OLD SOUL: Since Billboard published its first all-encompassing R&B songs chart in the issue dated Oct. 20, 1958, only five titles have spent at least 14 weeks at No. 1 on what is now entitled R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
This week, Maxwell‘s “Pretty Wings” becomes the latest member of the exclusive club, as well as the second to join this year. Here is a look at the five smashes to reach the milestone, all of which have done so after the chart’s conversion to Nielsen BDS and SoundScan data in 1992:
15 weeks, “Be Without You,” Mary J. Blige (2006)
14 weeks, “Pretty Wings,” Maxwell (2009)
14 weeks, “Blame It,” Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain (2009)
14 weeks, “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” Deborah Cox (1998)
14 weeks, “We Belong Together,” Mariah Carey (2005)
CAN YOU TAKE ME HIGHER?: Well, only No. 1 would be higher, but a No. 2 debut for Creed‘s comeback album, “Full Circle,” on the Billboard 200 is certainly impressive, given the band’s five-year hiatus. The set does claim the No. 1 spot on the Rock, Alternative and Hard Rock Albums charts.
Creed last reached the Billboard 200 with the No. 15-peaking “Greatest Hits” in 2004, the year that the group disbanded. It plated two No. 1s, “Human Clay” in 1999 and “Weathered” in 2001. Creed’s first album, “My Own Prison,” peaked at No. 22 in 1998.
Click here for Billboard.com’s recent exclusive interview with the band, in which lead singer Scott Stapp expressed his elation about Creed’s reunion.
“When we started jamming together again, there were definite moments I was looking at Mark (Tremonti) playing and his eyes were closed, and I was like, ‘Man!’ I’m honored to be a part of this collaboration with someone whose playing is so real, you can hear it in his fingers. Flip (Scott Phillips) and Brian (Marshall), they bring something so unique and special to the songs that we write.
“I feel very, very fortunate and blessed to be able to be with these artists right now, (having made) this record.”
STEWART & STING: While Creed brings rock cred to the Billboard 200’s top 10, there’s also a decidedly adult contemporary bent to the top tier.
Rod Stewart debuts at No. 4 with “Soulbook,” his 37th charted title. The set, featuring covers of such R&B classics as the Four Tops’ “It’s the Same Old Song,” Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears” and Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World,” is Stewart’s sixth consecutive top five album of covers since 2002. He previously scored with four volumes of “The Great American Songbook” (the third of which, “Stardust,” reached No. 1 in 2004) and the No. 1 “Still the Same … Great Rock Classics of Our Time” in 2006.
At No. 6 on the Billboard 200, Sting starts with “If on a Winter’s Night …” The seasonal collection, which opens atop Holiday Albums and Classical Albums, is his ninth solo top 10 on the Billboard 200. He owns four additional top 10s as a member of the Police between 1980 and 1986.
CHART BEAT BITS: Drake‘s “Forever” rises 2-1 on Rap Songs, giving guest Kanye West his seventh champ on the list, which ties him with 50 Cent for most No. 1s on the chart this decade. The song displaces West’s sixth topper, “Run This Town.” Eminem, also featured on “Forever,” earns his first Rap Songs No. 1 since “The Real Slim Shady” in 2000, and fellow featured rapper Lil Wayne makes his fourth visit to the chart’s summit. “Forever” is Drake’s second Rap Songs No. 1 …
Trans-Siberian Orchestra lands its highest-charting album on the Billboard 200, as “Night Castle” opens at No. 5. The progressive rock group previously peaked as high as No. 26 with “The Lost Christmas Eve” in 2004. The act’s signature holiday song, “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24),” which melds “Carol of the Bells” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” is from TSO’s first charted album, 1996’s No. 89-peaking “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” …
Supergroup Them Crooked Vultures flies onto Rock Songs at No. 22 and Alternative Songs at No. 25 with “New Fang.” The band, comprising Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, who rise 2-1 with “Wheels”), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), releases its eponymous debut album Nov. 17 …
What does the “twenty” stand for in “matchbox twenty“? Reportedly, the band named itself after a softball uniform adorned with a “20” and a patch featuring the word “Matchbox.” This week, the number could double for the total trips that the band’s frontman Rob Thomas has made to the top 10 on Adult Pop Songs. “Someday” advances 12-9, marking Thomas’ eighth solo top 10, to go along with 12 he’s collected with his group …
Carly Simon extends her chart span on the Billboard 200 to 38 years, six months and three weeks, as “Never Been Gone,” featuring acoustic/folk covers of hits throughout her career, arrives at No. 134. Simon’s 25th entry on the list, recorded in her Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, island home, shares one song with her first charted effort: “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be.” (Thus, the title of another cover on the set – “Coming Around Again” – is entirely fitting).