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Weekly Chart Notes: Zac Brown Band, ‘Glee,’ Lady Gaga

Zac Brown band makes history, as, for the first time in the chart's 54 years, two country bands have led the Billboard 200 in the same year.

GOT COUNTRY?: For the first time in its 54-year history, two country bands have led the Billboard 200 in the same year. That’s the same amount of the genre’s groups that topped the tally from its launch in 1956 through last year.

Zac Brown Band becomes the second country band to begin atop the Billboard 200 this year, as its sophomore major label set, “You Get What You Give,” arrives at No. 1 (and begins atop Country Albums, while lead single, “As She’s Walking Away,” featuring Alan Jackson, rises 13-12 on Country Songs). The trio’s prior effort, “The Foundation,” peaked at Nos. 9 and 2 on the Billboard 200 and Country Albums, respectively.


Lady Antebellum became the first country group to command the Billboard 200 in 2010 when “Need You Now” bowed at No. 1 in February.

No country bands ruled the Billboard 200 until the Dixie Chicks entered at No. 1 with “Fly” the week of Sept. 18, 1999. The trio reigned again with “Home” (2002) and “Taking the Long Way” (2006).

Rascal Flatts claimed its first Billboard 200 No. 1 the week of Oct. 16, 2004, with “Feels Like Today.” Since, the group’s subsequent studio sets have started at the summit: “Me and My Gang” (2006), “Still Feels Good” (2007) and “Unstoppable” (2009).

(Duos, such as Sugarland, or non-core country groups, such as the Eagles, were not considered in analyzing prior Billboard 200 No. 1s).

Zac Brown Band has cultivated its rise in popularity almost solely on the strength of core country support, while Lady Antebellum topped Adult Contemporary and Adult Pop Songs, and reached No. 2 on Pop Songs, with the title cut from “Need You Now,” after the ballad topped Country Songs.

This week, “Need You Now” spends a 59th week on the Billboard Hot 100, marking the list’s seventh-highest sum. Only two country songs have logged more time on the chart: LeAnn Rimes’ “How Do I Live” (69 weeks, 1997-98) and Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” (64 weeks, 2006-07).

COLOUR BY NUMBERS: While Zac Brown Band begins on the Billboard 200 at No. 1, Maroon 5 enters at No. 2 with “Hands All Over.”

Chart Beat reader, and ever-insightful contributor, Pablo Nelson of Berkley, Calif., notes the rather “hue-morous” coincidence of the colors brown and maroon appearing in the chart’s top two positions.

Nelson points out that another Brown – Chris Brown – leads R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with “Deuces” for a fifth frame. The song jumps 19-15 on the Hot 100, where Cee Lo Green rises 35-27 with “F**k You (Forget You)” (which includes some colorful language …) and Auburn bullets at No. 70 with “La La La,” featuring Iyaz.

On the Billboard 200, the Black Keys rank at No. 42, joined by the Black Eyed Peas (No. 52), Black Country Communion (No. 54) and the Black Angels (No. 154). At No. 114, Pink places with “Funhouse.”

Additionally ranking on Billboard surveys: the Black Crowes, Black Label Society, Black Milk, Blonde Redhead, Eighth Blackbird, Evans Blue, Goldfrapp, David Gray, the Green Band, Liquid Blue, Pink Floyd, Pink Martini, Plain White T’s, RedOne, Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, Ultraviolet Sound and the White Tie Affair.

Oh, and three more Browns: Chuck Brown, Divine Brown and Norman Brown.THE ‘EMPIRE’ STRIKES BACK: As previously reported, the “Glee” cast roars back onto the Hot 100 following the Fox series’ second-season premiere Sept. 21.

McKinley High’s New Directions glee club sends five songs onto the list, upping its count to 69 chart entries since it first appeared on June 6, 2009. The troupe passes Elton John (67) to claim the sixth-highest total of Hot 100 hits in the chart’s 52-year history.

Here is a comparison of the Hot 100 performances of the five debuting “Glee” covers and their originals, as well as any previous charted versions. Thanks to the new “Glee”-make, “Empire State of Mind” appears on the chart in a third variation this year:

“Empire State of Mind”
No. 1 (five weeks) Jay-Z + Alicia Keys, 2009
No. 76, “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down,” Alicia Keys, 2010
No. 21, Glee Cast, 2010

No. 3, Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce, 2010
No. 23, Glee Cast, 2010

No. 4, Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars, 2010
No. 28, Glee Cast, 2010

No. 61, Beyonce, 2007
No. 38, Glee Cast, 2010

“What I Did for Love”
No. 51, Glee Cast, 2010 (first charted appearance; from the Marvin Hamlisch/Edward Kleban musical “A Chorus Line”)

Lady Gaga’s debut album “The Fame” notches its landmark 100th week on the Billboard 200.

The set debuted at No. 17 the week of Nov. 15, 2008. After dipping as low as No. 83, the set has ranked within the top 30 each week since Jan. 17, 2009. The album peaked at No. 2 on the Jan. 16, 2010, chart.

Placing at No. 23 this week, “The Fame” is the Billboard 200’s highest-ranking album with 100 chart weeks or more since Taylor Swift‘s self-titled debut set surged 38-21 in its 129th frame the week of April 25, 2009.

‘BARN’ STORMS: Original Byrds singer/guitarist Chris Hillman teams with fellow Desert Rose Band member Herb Pedersen on “At Edwards Barn,” which bows on Top Bluegrass Albums at No. 7.

Hillman placed 16 songs on the Hot 100 with the Byrds between 1965 and 1970. On Country Songs, he charted three solo singles (including one with Byrds partner Roger McGuinn) and 15 with the Desert Rose Band between 1984 and 1993.

“At Edwards Barn” features an update of the Byrds’ 1965 Hot 100 No. 1 “Turn Turn Turn (to Everything There Is a Season),” which Hillman has dubbed “the first song that ever made the top 40 that came straight out of the Bible.”

CHART BEAT BITS: 78-year-old country legend Mel Tillis‘ first comedy collection, “You Ain’t Gonna Believe This,” debuts at No. 11 on Comedy Albums (nestled between contemporaries Flight of the Conchords and Robin Williams). Tillis charted 41 sets on Country Albums and 77 singles on Country Songs between 1958 and 1989 …

Last week, gospel icon Mavis Staples celebrated her highest rank on the Billboard 200 when “You Are Not Alone” bowed at No. 69. This week, she logs her first No. 1 on Gospel Albums, where the new set rises 2-1 …

UB40 debuts on Reggae Albums at No. 13 with “Labour of Love IV,” continuing the group’s covers series that began in 1983 with “Labour of Love,” which included the act’s signature song, “Red Red Wine,” a Hot 100 No. 1 in 1988. The new installment is the first without lead singer Ali Campbell (who’s been replaced by his older brother Duncan) …

Both the biggest jump to No. 1 and the steepest drop from the summit materialize on Jazz Songs. Jazzmasters vault 8-1 with “Touch and Go,” their second leader following “Free as the Wind” in 2006. Conversely, Steve Oliver’s “Fun in the Sun” plunges 1-7. Still, the latter song holds the mark for most weeks – eight – tallied atop the list this year …

If “Turn Turn Turn (to Everything There Is a Season)” did not sport its parenthetical subtitle, it would stand alongside such prior smashes whose names consist solely of one repeated word, from the Beach Boys‘ “Fun, Fun, Fun” to Destiny’s Child‘s “Bills, Bills, Bills” (and, even more notably, Major Lance’s “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um,” a No. 5 Hot 100 hit in 1964). My Chemical Romance makes all those titles seem brief with “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na),” which enters Alternative Songs at No. 36. The track previews the group’s fourth studio album, “Danger Days: the True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys,” due Nov. 22.