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Chart Beat Thursday: Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw Linked Again

Faith Hill might be suspicious of that headline, but Swift and the namesake of her first hit share the spotlight on this week's Billboard 200.

LEAVING? NOT SO, SWIFT: Few weeks go by in which Taylor Swift doesn’t occupy space in Chart Beat. She has, after all, consistently authored achievements since her arrival in 2006.

Absolutely no weeks, however, have passed since Nov. 11, 2006, that Swift’s debut album did not grace the Billboard 200, a run that, this week, grants her one of her most impressive chart feats yet.

To recap just a few of Swift’s milestones: Her “Love Story” became the first country crossover title to top Billboard’s Pop Songs chart. “You Belong With Me” became the first country crossover to crown Radio Songs/Hot 100 Airplay. And, her sophomore album “Fearless” is the only set to spend double-digit weeks (12) atop the Billboard 200 this decade.

This week, it’s her eponymous debut album that affords Swift her latest chapter of chart history. “Taylor Swift” logs a 157th week on the Billboard 200, marking the longest stay on the survey by any release this decade. The album peaked at No. 5 in January 2008 and this week ranks at No. 60.

Here are the top 10 albums with the most weeks spent on the Billboard 200 since the first chart week of 2000 (peak year in parentheses):

157 weeks, Taylor Swift, “Taylor Swift” (2008)
156 weeks, Nickelback, “All the Right Reasons” (2005)
148 weeks, Norah Jones, “Come Away With Me” (2003)
147 weeks, Daughtry, “Daughtry” (2007)
138 weeks, Guns N’ Roses, “Greatest Hits” (2004)
137 weeks, Carrie Underwood, “Some Hearts” (2005)
133 weeks, Flyleaf, “Flyleaf” (2007)
126 weeks, Buckcherry, “15” (2008)
121 weeks, Three Days Grace, “One-X” (2006)
118 weeks, Switchfoot, “The Beautiful Letdown” (2004)

Having already passed the 151-week chart life of Shania Twain‘s “Come On Over” (1997-2000), “Taylor Swift” is also the longest-charting album by a female country artist in the entire Nielsen SoundScan era, which dawned the chart week of May 25, 1991.

As has become common over the past three years, Swift looks likely to follow one record-setting week with another. After the release of the “Platinum Edition” of “Fearless” Tuesday (Oct. 27) with six new songs and 10 videos, the set will roar back up next week’s Billboard 200. Based on early digital sales reports, the album should also send several cuts onto next week’s Billboard Hot 100.

For more on Swift, view Billboard’s exclusive video Q&A with the star herself, in which she discusses her wildly successful “Fearless” tour, the origins of her tireless work ethic, and her indebtedness to her fans.

“I never want to get to the point where success and nominations and things like that ever seem just like something that happens every day,” Swift says.

“I was brought up by two parents who taught me that the world doesn’t owe you anything. You have to work for everything you get and you have to be appreciative of every bit of success that the world gives you.”

LUCKY 13: Taylor Swift’s first hit song was “Tim McGraw.” So, it’s a bit eerie that in a week where Swift makes major chart news, so does the namesake of her breakthrough smash. (Halloween is, of course, just days away).

Tim McGraw debuts at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with “Southern Voice,” a bow that establishes a first in the chart’s 53-year history.

Becoming his 13th top 10, McGraw has now reached the top tier with each of his Billboard 200 chart entries, a discography that dates to his sophomore set, “Not a Moment Too Soon,” in 1994.

Prior to McGraw, no artists had sent their first 13 charted titles into the Billboard 200’s top 10 since the survey’s March 24, 1956, inception.

In setting the new mark, McGraw breaks a tie with an artist who posted his 12th top 10 in his first 12 tries 49 years ago. Between his 1957 arrival and 1960, Johnny Mathis notched 12 top 10s (counting three separate top 10 runs for “Merry Christmas” in 1958, 1959 and 1960 as one title). His 13th charted album, “I’ll Buy You a Star,” peaked at No. 38 in 1961.

One legendary act came oh-so-close to maintaining a perhaps unbeatable career-opening top 10 streak. 26 of the Rolling Stones‘ first 27 albums reached the top 10. The only one that didn’t? Their first, “England’s Newest Hit Makers/The Rolling Stones.” The position at which the set peaked? No. 11.

FULL ‘MOON’ FEVER: The soundtrack to “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” is the only album denying McGraw the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200, as the former release ascends to the summit. Last week, the soundtrack debuted at No. 2 after just three days of sales.

The original “Twilight” companion album ruled the list the week of Nov. 22, 2008. Building upon last week’s chart activity, the new collection and its predecessor now mark the first soundtracks from a theatrical release and its sequel to each reach the chart’s pinnacle.

The new leader is also the second soundtrack this year to top the Billboard 200. The Miley Cyrus-centric “Hannah Montana: the Movie” soundtrack commanded the chart dated May 2.

‘FIREFLIES’ SHINES: With so many storylines swirling on the Billboard 200, a new No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 does deserve equal attention.

Owl City‘s “Fireflies” soars 7-1 on the Hot 100. The track also wings 2-1 on Digital Songs.

The group – primarily singer/songwriter Adam Young – is the third act this year to carry its debut chart entry to No. 1, following Lady Gaga (“Just Dance”) and Jay Sean (“Down,” which dips 1-3).

Last year, three first-timers also reigned: Flo Rida (“Low”), Leona Lewis (“Bleeding Love”) and Katy Perry (“I Kissed a Girl”).

The first radio format chart on which “Fireflies” appeared was Alternative Songs, making the song one of just 11 Hot 100 No. 1s this decade to have drawn ink on the genre airplay tally.

Here are the 11 leaders – of 127 total (9%) – to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100 since 2000 that have charted on Alternative Songs (with the latter chart’s peak in parentheses):

2000, “Everything You Want,” Vertical Horizon (No. 5)
2000, “Bent,” matchbox twenty (No. 16)
2000, “With Arms Wide Open,” Creed (No. 2)
2001, “Butterfly,” Crazy Town (No. 1)
2001, “How You Remind Me,” Nickelback (No. 1)
2002, “Lose Yourself,” Eminem (No. 14)
2003, “Hey Ya!,” OutKast (No. 16)
2007, “Hey There Delilah,” Plain White T’s (No. 3)
2008, “Viva La Vida,” Coldplay (No. 1)
2008, “I Kissed a Girl,” Katy Perry (No. 27)
2009, “Fireflies,” Owl City (No. 27)

The top five on the Hot 100 also provides a geography lesson. At No. 1, we have a city (Owl City), at No. 4, a country (“Party in the U.S.A.”) and at No. 5, a town (“Run This Town”). (The lattermost title even includes a direction: West).

HOW SWEET IT IS: Beyonce banks her 13th top 10 as a solo artist, all this decade, on the Billboard Hot 100, as “Sweet Dreams” climbs 11-10.

While that sum is impressive, Beyonce is not the artist with the most Hot 100 top 10s this decade in her own home. With the song’s advance, she ties Ludacris and T-Pain for second-most top 10s on the chart since 2000. Leading with 14 in that span is Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z.

“Sweet Dreams” is the third such-titled song to reach the top 10, following hits by Air Supply (No. 5, 1982) and Eurythmics (No. 1, 1983).

The Hot 100 is also “sweet”-ened at No. 34, as the cast of Fox TV’s “Glee” returns “Sweet Caroline” to the chart. Neil Diamond‘s classic original rose to No. 4 in 1969. The song had last appeared when a cover by Bobby Womack & Peace reached No. 51 in 1972.

CHART BEAT BITS: Rihanna previews her fourth studio album, “Rated R,” with first single “Russian Roulette.” The ballad bows on Pop Songs at No. 36, R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at No. 67 and the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 100. The song is not yet digitally-available, so, though it will surely surge next week as multi-format airplay continues to build, it is not likely to log the first 100-1 ascent in the Hot 100’s history …

Tina Turner‘s “Tina Live” starts on the Billboard 200 at No. 169. The album, recorded during the legendary diva’s Arnhem, Netherlands, concert March 21, is Turner’s first live effort since “Tina Live in Europe,” which peaked at No. 86 in 1988 …

Singer/songwriter/actor Lyle Lovett debuts on the Billboard 200 at No. 29 with “Natural Forces.” The rank is Lovett’s second-best since 1996. Last year, his “It’s Not Big It’s Large” also entered in the top 40 (No. 18) …

Band From TV is in the house. And, House is in Band From TV. The act’s debut release, “Hogging All the Covers,” arrives on Heatseekers Albums at No. 10. Among Band From TV’s members is Hugh Laurie, the title character on Fox’s “House.” James Denton (“Desperate Housewives”), Bob Guiney (“The Bachelor”), Bonnie Somerville (“The O.C.”) and Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”) also join in the ably-performed fun. Proceeds from the album, which sports covers ranging mostly from rock (“Piece of My Heart”) to soul (“Lean on Me”) classics, will benefit charities of the actor/singers’ choices …

Next week’s Billboard charts are sure to be as active as this week’s, led by Michael Jackson‘s impending launch on the Billboard 200. Click here for details on the potential for Jackson’s “This Is It” to arrive at No. 1.