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Weekly Chart Notes: Jimmy Buffett, Lady Gaga, Bill Cosby

41 years after he left his job as Billboard's Nashville correspondent, it seems safe to say that Buffett's career has turned out OK.

ROLLING IN THE ‘DEEP’: It seems safe to say that Jimmy Buffett‘s decision to leave Billboard to become a full-time recording artist was the right one.

(26 million in career album sales, dating to the 1991 advent of Nielsen SoundScan, serves as further evidence).

The former Billboard Nashville correspondent, in 1969-70, scores his second Country Songs No. 1, as Zac Brown Band‘s “Knee Deep,” featuring Buffett, makes a change in chart latitude from No. 3 to 1.

While Buffett first appeared on Country Songs the week of May 12, 1973, he didn’t notch his first leader until “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” with Alan Jackson, began an eight-week rule on the Aug. 9, 2003, chart. The song’s command is tied with the eight-week reign of Lonestar’s “Amazed” (1999) for the chart’s longest since 1966, when David Houston’s “Almost Persuaded” led for nine frames.

“Deep” marks Zac Brown Band’s seventh Country Songs No. 1. Of its eight single releases dating to “Chicken Fried” in 2008, the group fell shy of the summit only with “Whatever It Is,” which peaked at No. 2 in July 2009.

Like Buffett, Zac Brown Band also has shared space atop Country Songs with Jackson. The group’s “As She’s Walking Away,” featuring Jackson, spent two weeks at No. 1 last November.

Just how confident is Buffett that his career benefitted from departing our ranks?

“I spent two years working for Billboard and bummin’ around,” he told “Stereo Review” in 1974, according to “The Jimmy Buffett Scrapbook” by Mark Humphrey and Harris Lewine. “Couldn’t get nothing recorded.

“Got depressed, got pissed off, got divorced and left.

“Best move I ever made.”

ALL HER ‘GLORY’: Lady Gaga logs the fastest sprint from an act’s first Dance/Club Play Songs No. 1 to its 10th, as “The Edge of Glory” jumps 3-1.

The coronation completes a span of just two years, five months and three weeks since she first led with “Poker Face” on the Feb. 21, 2009, chart.

Lady Gaga has since reigned with “LoveGame,” “Paparazzi,” “Bad Romance” (2009), “Telephone,” “Video Phone” (both collaborations with Beyonce), “Alejandro” (2010), “Born This Way” and “Judas” (2011).

She passes the four-year, five-month stretch between Rihanna‘s first leader, “Pon De Replay” (Oct. 8, 2005) and her 10th (of 14 total), “Hard” (March 6, 2010).

Lady Gaga is the 12th artist to total at least 10 Dance/Club Play Songs No. 1s. Here is a look at the list’s most common visitors to the summit:

Total No. 1, Artist, No. 1 Span
40, Madonna, 1983-2009
19, Janet Jackson, 1986-2010
16, Kristine W, 1994-2011
15, Beyonce, 2003-11
15, Mariah Carey, 1991-2009
14, Rihanna, 2005-10
14, Donna Summer, 1976-2010
13, Whitney Houston, 1987-2009
10, Deborah Cox, 1996-2009
10, Lady Gaga, 2009-11
10, Jennifer Lopez, 1999-2011
10, Pet Shop Boys, 1986-2009

Dating to her first week in charge with “Poker Face,” Lady Gaga boasts the most No. 1s among all artists. Beyonce and Katy Perry follow with seven No. 1s each in that span.

COSBY SHOWS: A legend makes his first appearance on the Comedy Albums chart (which launched in 2004), as Bill Cosby debuts at No. 13 with the best-of compilation “Icon.”

Cosby had last graced a Billboard album chart when “Hello, Friend: To Ennis With Love” reached No. 24 on Traditional Jazz Albums in 1997.

While the new set gathers several of his best-loved routines from the early ’70s, the track “The Invention of Basketball” is as timely as ever, as Cosby considers the differences between one pro sport that just ended a lockout (football) and one currently amid one (basketball).

“So, Dr. Naismith was in the barn and he was saying, ‘I must invent a game’ and he had a football. And he bounced it and said, ‘well, that’s not the ball for it.’

“Just think about that: if he hadn’t, you’d have had to play basketball with a football. Look at that kind of dribbling. Clonk, and it’s up in the stands!

“That’d be a ridiculous game.”