THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO: Ahead of multiple benefit concerts planned in honor of the 70th anniversary of the birth of John Lennon, including tribute shows from New York to Los Angeles, the late legend and his widow Yoko Ono each occupy Billboard chart summits this week.
The Beatles bow at No. 1 on Top Music Video Sales with “The 4 Complete Ed Sullivan Shows Starring the Beatles.” The in-depth volume presents the band’s fab four visits to the program’s stage in 1964-65, complete with footage of such fellow guests as original Broadway cast members of “Oliver,” which featured then-future Monkee Davy Jones.
The new retrospective marks the Beatles’ fifth No. 1 on the survey. They had last reigned with “First U.S. Visit” in 2004.
Ono concurrently notches her seventh, and fifth consecutive, leader on Dance/Club Play Songs with “Wouldnit (I’m a Star).” Included in her No. 1 streak is a 2008 update of Lennon’s first Billboard Hot 100 entry apart from the Beatles, “Give Peace a Chance,” which, in its original form as a Plastic Ono Band release, peaked at No. 14 on the Hot 100 in 1969.
As previously reported, this week’s Adult Contemporary chart further showcases the Beatles’ songbook, as Santana debuts at No. 25 with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” featuring India.Arie and Yo-Yo Ma. The arrival marks the George Harrison-penned song’s second visit to a Billboard chart. It was 20 years ago this week (to paraphrase the band) that the Jeff Healey Band peaked at No. 7 on Mainstream Rock with its version of the song, which featured Harrison on backing vocals.
Santana’s new single marks the first appearance of a song originally recorded by the Beatles since their own “Free as a Bird” rose to No. 19 in 1995. Earlier that year, Ben Taylor (James Taylor and Carly Simon’s son) reached No. 39 on the list with a remake of “I Will,” which, like “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” was first released on the Beatles’ 1968 self-titled collection, most commonly known as “the White Album.”
Perhaps surprisingly, despite the Adult Contemporary chart having launched in 1961, only one Beatles song graced the list during the ’60s. “Something” reached No. 17, becoming the first of only seven songs by the act to appear on the chart. In its early days, the ranking was largely dominated by more soothing balladeers such as Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand.
This week, however, the rap superstar inks his first top 10 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs as a lead artist in eight years, as “Love the Way You Lie,” featuring Rihanna, bounds 14-8 as the chart’s Airplay Gainer award winner. Eminem had last ranked in the top tier as a lead act with the No. 4-peaking “Lose Yourself” in 2002. He notched sole other top 10 as a featured act, with Kanye West and Lil Wayne, on Drake‘s “Forever” (No. 2) last year.
“Love the Way You Lie” marks Rihanna‘s sixth top 10, a sum that includes three rap tracks for which she’s provided vocals, following T.I.‘s “Live Your Life” (No. 2, 2008), on which she guested, and “Run This Town” with Jay-Z and West (No. 3, 2009).
Eminem’s “Recovery” leads R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for an 11th week, extending his longest command of the chart. “The Eminem Show” ranks second with six weeks in charge in 2002, followed by “The Marshall Mathers LP” (four weeks, 2000).
COMING AROUND AGAIN: Though born in 1990, Sean Kingston has built a chart history dotted by updates of classic pop smashes.
His debut Hot 100 entry, “Beautiful Girls,” which led the chart for four weeks in 2007, samples the bass line of Ben E. King‘s “Stand by Me.” Follow-up “Me Love,” which climbed to No. 14, incorporates the melody of Led Zeppelin‘s “D’yer Mak’er.”
This week, Kingston debuts on the Hot 100 with “Dumb Love,” a reinvention of the Dell-Vikings‘ “Come Go With Me,” which originally peaked at No. 5 on the Top 100, the Hot 100’s predecessor survey, and No. 4 in sales (on the erstwhile “Best Sellers in Stores” tally) in 1957.
While Kingston re-works the song’s verses, “Come Go With Me” charted twice before, as covered more faithfully by Dion (No. 48, 1963) and the Beach Boys (No. 18, 1982). Kingston performed his version of the evergreen doo-wop composition Friday (Sept. 10) on the Disney Channel series “The Suite Life on Deck.”
Kingston’s other title currently on the Hot 100 samples a much newer song. “Letting Go (Dutty Love),” which features Nicki Minaj and rises 44-37, revises “Te Amo,” a track on Rihanna’s most recent studio album, “Rated R.”
WILLOW AND THE FAMILY TREE: An artist not even half Sean Kingston’s age nabs the Hot Shot Debut on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, as nine-year-old Willow blooms at No. 60 with “Whip My Hair.”
The multi-talented performer is the daughter of rapper and Academy Award and Grammy Award nominee Will Smith. She launched her acting career alongside her father in the 2007 film “I Am Legend.”
“I’m not even gonna say she is gonna be dope, ’cause she’s already dope,” says B.o.B, among other elder colleagues praising Smith.
The young singer is the second of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s two children to appear on a Billboard chart this year. 12-year-old Jaden reached No. 33 on the Hot 100 in June as a featured artist on Justin Bieber‘s “Never Say Never.”
Will Smith’s children are making their famous father look lazy. Smith last appeared on the Hot 100 in 2005 and R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in 2002.
(Perhaps “lazy” is a stretch. Since 2005, Smith’s work in the movies “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “I Am Legend,” “Hancock” and “Seven Pounds” – all subsequent No. 1s on Billboard’s Top DVD Sales survey – have yielded $1.7 billion in worldwide box office receipts).