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Chart Beat Wednesday: Train, Dirty Heads, Nicki Minaj

Train pulls into new stations, as, almost a year after debuting on Adult Pop Songs, the group's "Hey, Soul Sister" crosses over to Country Songs.

TO THE COUNTRY, BY TRAIN: Next stop, the Country Songs chart.

Ten months after the song first ranked on a Billboard survey – it entered Adult Pop Songs the week of Sept. 5, 2009 – Train‘s “Hey, Soul Sister” debuts on Country Songs at No. 60. The song, originally released on Train’s Columbia Records album “Save Me, San Francisco,” is now being worked to country radio by sister Sony Music label BNA.

“Hey, Soul Sister” has spent 38 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, having peaked at No. 3 in April. On the cut’s impressive resume are reigns on Adult Pop Songs (six weeks), Digital Songs (three weeks) and Adult Contemporary (one week).

Early leaders on the Country Songs reporting panel include WIVK/Knoxville, Tenn., which played the song eight times in the chart’s tracking week of June 21-27, according to Nielsen BDS, and KKBQ/Houston (seven plays).

KKBQ operations manager Johnny Chiang says despite its circuitous route to country radio, Train’s track makes for a strong introduction for the band at the format.

“‘Hey, Soul Sister’ was such a massive pop hit that I think it makes sense to try it out on country, especially on stations that are targeted at a mainstream audience.

“Is it a risk to play such an established pop act with no country background on a country station? Of course it is. But, let’s be frank, how many top country artists today actually sound ‘country’?

“‘Hey, Soul Sister’ doesn’t sound like bubblegum pop; it was a huge smash; and, it has instant familiarity.”

TALKING HEADS: The Dirty Heads‘ “Lay Me Down,” featuring Rome, ties for most weeks atop Alternative Songs by a title released on an independent label, as the reggae-splashed cut spends a ninth week atop the list.

With the act signed to the Executive Music Group, “Lay Me Down,” just the fifth leader in the Alternative Songs chart’s 21-year history promoted to radio by an independent label, matches a mark held for 11 years, five months and one week, when Everlast‘s “What It’s Like” completed a nine-week reign. Here is a look at the five such No. 1s, three of which have led since last June:

Weeks at No. 1, Title, Artist, Label, Year(s)
9, “Lay Me Down,” the Dirty Heads featuring Rome, Executive, 2010
9, “What It’s Like,” Everlast, Tommy Boy, 1998-99
2, “1901,” Phoenix, Glassnote, 2010
2, “Come Out and Play (Keep ‘Em Separated),” the Offspring, Epitaph, 1994
1, “Panic Switch,” Silversun Pickups, dangerbird, 2009

MINAJ RULES RAP: 25-year-old Queens, New York-raised rapper Nicki Minaj earns her first No. 1 on Rap Songs, as “Your Love” surges 4-1.

The song, which samples “No More ‘I Love You’s’,” a No. 23 Hot 100 hit for Annie Lennox in 1995, is the first Rap Songs No. 1 by a sole lead female artist, and by a female rapper, since Lil’ Kim led with “Magic Stick,” featuring 50 Cent, for five weeks beginning June 14, 2003.

Minaj is the first female artist unaccompanied by any other act to top Rap Songs since “Work It” by Missy Elliott spent 12 weeks at No. 1 beginning Nov. 2, 2002.

COMPLETE BEAT: As previously reported, Eminem storms the Billboard 200 at No. 1 with “Recovery.” The set is his sixth consecutive No. 1 on the tally, dating to “The Marshall Mathers LP” in 2000, marking the second-longest streak of leaders in the chart’s 54-year history. Check tomorrow’s posting of Chart Beat for a recap of the artists with the longest streaks of consecutive Billboard 200-topping sets, as well as analysis on Billboard’s entire selection of sales and airplay rankings.