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Chart Beat Thursday: Vampire Weekend, Train, Shakira

Vampire Weekend sees the light of day atop the Billboard 200 with "Contra." Despite its coronation, the band has yet to reach the Hot 100.

VAMPIRE STATE OF MIND: New York indie rock band Vampire Weekend enjoys its first taste of the Billboard 200 summit, as “Contra” debuts at No. 1.

The group’s self-titled first set debuted and peaked at No. 17 on the chart dated Feb. 16, 2008. This week, it rebounds to No. 123 after re-entering at No. 198 last week after an almost-nine month hiatus from the chart.

Notable about Vampire Weekend’s coronation is that the band manages to top the Billboard 200 album chart without having yet sent a song onto the Billboard Hot 100. The first single from “Contra,” “Cousins,” bullets at No. 30 on Alternative Songs and debuts at No. 47 on Rock Songs, while another cut from the set, “Horchata,” enters the Bubbling Under the Hot 100 survey at No. 2.

Should the band continue its absence from the Hot 100, it would join a list of just 13 other acts since the Hot 100’s launch in 1958 to top the Billboard 200 without ever having drawn Hot 100 ink. Here is a look at the eclectic grouping that has previously ruled the Billboard 200 while bypassing the Hot 100:


Artist, Album (Year)

Van Cliburn, “Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 (1958)

Bob Newhart, “The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back!” (1961)
Judy Garland, “Judy at Carnegie Hall” (1961)
Vaughn Meader, “The First Family” (1962)
Frank Fontaine, “Songs I Sing on the Jackie Gleason Show” (1963)
Blind Faith, “Blind Faith” (1969)

N.W.A., “EFIL4ZAGGIN” (1991)
Soundgarden, “Superunknown” (1994)
Pantera, “Far beyond Driven” (1994)
Makaveli (aka 2Pac, who never charted on the Hot 100 under this billing), “The Don Killuminati – The 7 Day Theory” (1996)
Bob Carlisle, “Butterfly Kisses (Shades of Grace)” (1997)

Il Divo, “Ancora” (2006)
Slipknot, “All Hope Is Gone” (2008)

(An asterisk could be applied to rap supergroup the Firm, which topped the Billboard 200 in 1997 with “The Album.” Three of the act’s four members – Nas, Foxy Brown and AZ – have appeared on the Hot 100, while Nature has not).

YOU’RE 58: Ringo Starr notches his highest-charting album on the Billboard 200 in more than 33 years, as “Y Not” opens at No. 58.

Starr last ranked at a higher spot with “Ringo’s Rotogravure,” which debuted on the chart dated Oct. 16, 1976, and peaked at No. 28.

“Y Not,” which features vocal contributions from Paul McCartney, Joss Stone and Joe Walsh, marks Starr’s 14th post-Beatles entry on the Billboard 200. He first appeared when his solo debut “Sentimental Journey” bowed the week of May 16, 1970.

TRAIN TRACKS: San Francisco band Train chugs back into the Hot 100’s top 10, as “Hey, Soul Sister” charges 23-7 with Greatest Gainer/Digital honors. The song concurrently jumps 14-3 on Digital Songs.

Train previously appeared in the top 10 of the Hot 100 with “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me),” which peaked at No. 5 in 2001.

The band’s gap between top 10 appearances of eight years, four months and two weeks represented the chart’s longest since Snoop Dogg ended a nine year, one week wait between “Gin and Juice” (1994) and “Beautiful” (2003). (Snoop Dogg makes his own headlines on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs this week, as “I Wanna Rock” becomes his ninth top 10 with a 16-10 vault).

“Hey, Soul Sister” also brings two additional chart veterans back to the top 10. In its lyrics, at least. The song includes shout-outs to Mr. Mister and Madonna.

‘SOLDIER’ ON: Sade posts its highest bow on the Hot 100, as “Soldier of Love” arrives as the Hot Shot Debut at No. 58. The song is the act’s ninth Hot 100 title, dating to the debut of “Smooth Operator” on the March 2, 1985, chart. The group had last appeared with the No. 75-peaking “By Your Side” in 2001.

“Soldier of Love,” the first single and title cut from Sade’s sixth studio album, due Feb. 9, additionally becomes the act’s first No. 1 on Adult R&B (viewable at billboard.biz). The ballad rises 3-1 in its sixth week, marking the chart’s speediest ascent to the top spot since Anita Baker logged a five-week sprint to No. 1 with “You’re My Everything” in 2004.

Billboard R&B/hip-hop charts manager Raphael George points out that Sade is the first group to earn an Adult R&B No. 1 as a lead artist since the Isley Brothers reigned with “Contagious” in 2001.

PENDERGRASS REMEMBERED: Fans show their appreciation for the artistry of Teddy Pendergrass. The R&B icon, who passed away Jan. 13, appears on the Billboard 200 for the first time since 1997, as “The Essential Teddy Pendergrass” enters at No. 136.

He had last ranked on the survey with “You and I” for five weeks in May 1997.

Pendergrass’ solo Billboard 200 discography encompasses 15 titles dating to his self-titled debut album in 1977. He rose highest with the No. 5-peaking “Teddy” in 1979.

As lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Pendergrass climbed as high as No. 9 with 1975’s “Wake Up Everybody.”

CHART BEAT BITS: Michael Buble not only ascends to his third No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart, but he also notches his first top 40 title on the Hot 100, as “Haven’t Met You Yet” storms 52-40. Buble’s previous Hot 100 highpoint was a No. 46 peak for “Everything” in April 2007 …

Though Shakira‘s latest album “She Wolf” is primarily in English, and, therefore, ineligible to chart on the Latin Albums tally, the set’s Spanish-language songs have infused Billboard’s radio airplay surveys. This week, the album yields its second No. 1 on Latin Pop Songs, as “Did It Again (Lo Hecho Esta Hecho)” rises 2-1. Prior single “Loba” spent 11 weeks at No. 1 beginning in August. Shakira’s new leader is her 11th No. 1 on Latin Pop Songs, tying her with Cristian Castro for the second-most toppers in the list’s archives. Enrique Iglesias leads with 14 No. 1s …

Melissa Etheridge ends an almost six-year absence from the Triple A adult alternative radio airplay chart (viewable at billboard.biz), as “Fearless Love” launches at No. 23. She had last visited the list with the No. 17-peaking “Lucky” in 2004. “Fearless Love” is the title track to Etheridge’s 11th studio album, due April 27 …

Enya locks up the No. 1 and 2 slots on New Age Albums with “The Very Best of Enya” and … “The Very Best of Enya.” (The like-named collections sport different track lists and, thus, chart separately). Enya last monopolized the top two positions on the list dated Sept. 28, 1996, with “The Memory of Trees” and “Shepherd Moons,” respectively …

Jewel returns to Country Songs, as “Stay Here Forever” starts at No. 58. The song introduces the soundtrack to the film “Valentine’s Day,” which opens in theaters Feb. 12 and features an all-star cast including Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher and … Taylor Swift, who performs the set’s lead cut, “Today Was a Fairytale.” With Swift’s song already atop digital retailers’ building tallies, look for the track to blast onto the Hot 100 in the chart’s upper reaches next week.