Chart Watch

Week Ending March 13, 2011: Songs: Spears’ Second Act

Chart Watch

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Britney Spears lands her 10th top 10 hit as "Till The World Ends" jumps from #20 to #9 in its second week on the Hot 100. Remarkably, Spears has amassed more top 10 hits in the past four years than she did in the first eight years of her career (when she was at her peak) as a record-seller and pop-culture icon.

Many people wrote Spears off in 2007 when she was going through a hard time in her personal life. In September of that year, after a much mocked performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, Entertainment Weekly ran a cover story: "Oh, The Horror! Is Britney's Comeback Already Over? Or Does She Have A Prayer?" The headline inside was even worse: "Down For The Count?"

But a funny thing happened on the way to her predicted demise. Spears proceeded to land one of her biggest hits, "Gimme More," which reached #3 in October 2007. And she has since amassed five more top 10 hits:  "Womanizer," "Circus," "3," "Hold It Against Me" and now "Till The World Ends."

By contrast, from 1998 to 2006, Spears notched just four top 10 hits: "...Baby One More Time," "(You Drive Me) Crazy," "Oops!...I Did It Again," and "Toxic."

How to explain this? It may be that fans' relationship with Spears deepened when she went through her troubles. They have seen her through highs and lows; triumphs and humiliations. This is a shift from the way things used to be, when stars when to great lengths to sanitize their images. Karen Carpenter never went public with her battle with anorexia, which made her death in 1983 such a shock to fans. Freddie Mercury finally acknowledged that he had AIDS just one day before his death from AIDS-related complications in 1991.

Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" tops the Hot 100 for the fifth straight week. It's the first song to debut at #1 and remain on top for five or more weeks since Elton John's "Candle In The Wind 1997"/"Something About The Way You Look Tonight" achieved the feat in 1997. (It held the top spot for its first 14 weeks.) Gaga and Elton teamed to open the 52nd annual Grammy Awards in February 2010. And of course Gaga has the most gay-friendly hit of all time and Elton is the biggest gay star of all time. So there you go.

Katy Perry's "E.T." (featuring Kanye West) jumps from #8 to #3. It's vying to become the fourth #1 hit from Perry's Teenage Dream album. The song is already #1 on Hot Digital Songs. It sold 216,000 copies this week. Perry previously topped that chart with "I Kissed A Girl," "California Gurls" (featuring Snoop Dogg)," "Teenage Dream" and "Firework."

Rihanna's "S&M" dips from #3 to #4. This isn't the first time that "S&M" has been high on the charts. Metallica hit #2 in 1999 with a live album by that title, on which it was backed by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Metallica's S&M music video collection headed the Top Music Videos chart for four weeks in 2000.

Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 songs.


1. Lady Gaga, "Born This Way." The song logs its fifth straight week at #1. Digital sales rank: #3 (176K).

2. Cee Lo Green's "F**k You (Forget You)." The song holds at #2 for the fourth straight week in its 29th week on the chart. This is its sixth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #6 (157K).

3. Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, "E.T." The song jumps from #8 to #3 in its fifth week on the chart. This is its third week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #1 (216K).

4. Rihanna, "S&M." The song dips from #3 to #4 in its ninth week on the chart. This is its fifth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #4 (168K).

5. Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull, "On The Floor." The song holds at #5 for the second week in its third week on the chart. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. Digital sales rank: #2 (215K).

6. P!nk, "F**kin' Perfect." The song drops from #4 to #6 in its 11th week on the chart. This is its seventh week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #8 (124K).

7. Bruno Mars, "Grenade." The former #1 song dips from #6 to #7 in its 24th week on the chart. This is its 16th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #17 (88K).

8. Enrique Iglesias featuring Ludacris & DJ Frank E, "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)." The song rebounds from #9 to #8 in its 16th week on the chart. This is its 12th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #22 (70K).

9. Britney Spears, "Till The World Ends." The song jumps from #20 to #9 in its second week on the chart. This marks the second time that Spears has had back-to-back top 10 hits. She previously scored in 2008-2009 with "Womanizer" (#1) and "Circus" (#3). Digital sales rank: #5 (158K).

10. Ke$ha, "Blow." The song drops from #7 to #10 in its eighth week on the chart. This is its second week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #7 (140K).


Katy Perry's "Firework" drops from #10 to #14, ending an 18-week run in the top 10.

"Coming Home" by Diddy-Dirty Money featuring Skylar Grey leaps from #22 to #11, reaching a new chart peak in its 16th week on the chart. (It originally peaked at #12.) What took it so long? Its quality and commerciality were immediately obvious..."Moment For Life" by Nicki Minaj featuring Drake drops from #13 to #17. It tops Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for the fifth straight week.

The pundits are dumping all over the Black Eyed Peas. Their album isn't selling as well as past efforts. Their Super Bowl gig was too slick. Their last hit leaned too heavily on a Dirty Dancing classic. It seems the only people who like the Peas are the fans. "Just Can't Get Enough" jumps from #38 to #22 in its fourth week. It's the group's 14th consecutive top 40 hit on the Hot 100. Billboard's Gary Trust points out that the Peas are the first group or duo to land 14 consecutive top 40 hits since Eagles had 14 in a row from 1975 ("Best Of My Love") to 1995 ("Love Will Keep Us Alive" on the Hot 100 Airplay chart).

Four more Glee tracks enter the Hot 100 this week. Gwyneth Paltrow sings lead on three of them: versions of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" (#23), Joan Jett & the Blackhearts' "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)" (#57) and Prince & the Revolution's "Kiss" (#83). The other Glee arrival is a version of Neon Trees' "Animal" (#62).

You may be surprised to learn that Fleetwood Mac's original 1975 version of "Landslide" was never released as a single. The group pulled three 20 hits from its smash Fleetwood Mac album and then moved on to Rumours, which quickly became one of the best-selling albums of all time. (The group finally released a live version of "Landslide" from The Dance in 1998.) Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" has sold 849K digital copies (and returns to Hot Digital Songs this week at #175). Dixie Chicks' 2002 cover version reached #7 on the Hot 100. It has sold 620K digital copies (and also returns to Hot Digital Songs this  week at #114).

"Don't You Wanna Stay" by Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson holds at #34. It tops Hot Country Songs for the third straight week...Wiz Khalifa has two songs that are streaking up the Hot 100. "Roll Up" jumps from #74 to #54 in its fifth week. "The Race" bows at #66.

The Eli Young Band's "Crazy Girl" debuts at #59. Eric Church's "Homeboy" bows at #86. Both songs are closing on the top 40 on the country chart..."Price Tag" by Jessie J featuring B.o.B jumps from #78 to #58 in its sixth week. The song spent two weeks at #1 in the U.K. in February.

"Beautiful Lasers (2 Ways)" by Lupe Fiasco featuring MDMA opens at #70. It's the follow-up to "The Show Goes On," which dips from its #39 peak to #40 this week. The hip-hopper's album, Lasers, debuts at #1 this week. But you already know that if you read Chart Watch: Albums. If you missed it, here's a link.

Bruno Mars' "Lazy Song" leaps from #98 to #72 in its third week. Could Mr. Mars be headed for his fifth top 10 hit? Time will tell...Seether's "Country Song" bows at #74. The hard rock band cracked the top 20 in 2004 with "Broken" (featuring Amy Lee from Evanescence)..."Boom" by Snoop Dogg featuring T-Pain bows at #76. The two artists have amassed a combined total of 25 top 10 hits. (Snoop has had 11. T-Pain has had 14.)

Adele's "Someone Like You" is #1 in the U.K. for the fourth straight week. It's the first song to top the U.K. chart for four weeks since Lily Allen's "The Fear" scored two years ago.

"Sexy Chick" by David Guetta featuring Akon tops the 3 million mark in paid downloads this week. The song reached #5 on the Hot 100 a year ago. It's Guetta's best-seller as an artist. Akon previously topped 3 million with "Smack That" (featuring Eminem), which is up to 3,079,000.

Nielsen/SoundScan classifies "Sexy Chick" as the #1 "dance/electronic" hit in digital history. Here's the rest of their top five in that category: Cascada's "Everytime We Touch" (2,283,000), La Roux's "Bulletproof" (2,049,000), Cascada's "Evacuate The Dance Floor" (1,741,000) and Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina's "Stereo Love" (1,500,000).

Rihanna's "S&M" tops the 1 million mark in paid downloads this week. So do two current collaborations: "I Need A Doctor" by Dr. Dre featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey and "Down On Me" by Jeremih featuring 50 Cent.

The A Team: Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, who have written some of the best pop songs of the past half century, will receive the Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony on June 16. Mann & Weil are the second married couple to win the award, which is the organization's top honor. They follow Alan & Marilyn Bergman, who won in 1997.

Mann & Weil's biggest hits include "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," which was a classic #1 hit in 1965 for the Righteous Brothers; "On Broadway," which has reached the top 10 for both the Drifters and George Benson; and "Here You Come Again," which was Dolly Parton's pop breakthrough.

R.I.P.: Nate Dogg, who teamed with Warren G. for the 1994 smash "Regulate," died yesterday. He was 41. "Regulate" spent three weeks at #2 and brought Nate Dogg a Grammy nomination (the first of three). The rapper returned to the top 10 as a featured artist on 50 Cent's "21 Questions" and Eminem's "Shake That."

Top 10 Pop Hits 1940-2010 is the latest addition to Joel Whitburn's first-rate line of chart books based on the Billboard charts. The book lists, by artist, every top 10 hit from July 1940 (the date of Billboard's first national top 10 popular songs chart) through January 2011. That takes us from the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra's "I'll Never Smile Again" (which featured a star-making vocal by a 24-year old Frank Sinatra) to Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me." (I'll leave it to you to decide if that's progress.)

At the back of the book, Joel lists the 50 acts with the most top 10 hits. Bing Crosby is the champ, with 77 top 10 hits. Elvis Presley is the top rock artist with 38. Madonna is the top female artist with 37. The Beatles are the top group with 34. The Andrews Sisters are the top female group with 30. Janet Jackson is the top R&B artist with 29. Jay-Z and Ludacris are the top rap artists with 17 each. Daryl Hall & John Oates are the top duo with 16.

The book lists 16 top 10 hits for Ludacris, but he has since added to his total (as has Rihanna, who also made the list). The charts never stop! Here's a link to Joel's site.

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