Chart Watch

Week Ending May 16, 2010: Battle Of The Home-State Anthems

Chart Watch

Katy Perry's "California Gurls" (featuring Snoop Dogg) enters Hot Digital Songs at #1, eight months after "Empire State Of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys reached the top spot. The pop confection enters the Hot 100 at #2. Perry sees "California Gurls" as a Golden State equivalent to that earlier valentine to the Big Apple. "California Gurls" sold 294,000 digital copies this week, which is more than "Empire State Of Mind" sold (205,000) when it topped Hot Digital Songs in September. ("Empire" sold 362,000 copies during Christmas week, when gift-cards cause sales to swell.) "California Gurls" still has a long way to go to catch "Empire State Of Mind" in total sales. The Jay-Z/Keys smash has sold 3,594,000 copies during its 36-week run.

"California Gurls" and "Empire State Of Mind" are likely to square off in the Grammy competition for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration when the nominations are announced in December. The home-state pride communicated in these two records is authentic. Perry was born in Santa Barbara, Calif. while Snoop is from Long Beach. Jay-Z is from Brooklyn, while Keys was born in the Hell's Kitchen section of Manhattan.

"California Gurls" is Perry's second #1 on Hot Digital Songs. Her debut hit, "I Kissed A Girl," topped the chart for six weeks in June and July 2008. But "I Kissed" never sold as many copies in any one week as "California Gurls" did this week. "I Kissed" sold 235,000 in its best week. This week's total is Perry's biggest first-week sales tally.

This is Snoop's second #1 on Hot Digital Songs as a featured artist. He provided support on Akon's "I Wanna Love You," which rang the bell in November 2006.

Pop Quiz: "California Gurls" is the fifth song whose title begins with the word "California" to reach the top 10 on the Hot 100 since that chart was introduced in 1958. (One song made it twice.) Name as many of the other four as you can. Extra credit: Name the 1924 "California" song that would have reached #1 if there had been a national chart in place at the time. (Despite the song's age, I'll bet you know it.) Answer below.

"California Gurls" enters Hot Digital Songs at #1 just one week after Eminem's "Not Afraid" debuted in the top spot. It's the first time in 15 months that songs have bowed at #1 in back-to-back weeks. "Not Afraid" also entered the Hot 100 at #1 last week. "California Gurls" nearly equalled that feat, but it was stopped short by "OMG" by Usher featuring will.i.am, which returned to #1 for a second week after yielding to Eminem.

Shameless Plug: The back-to-back high debuts for Eminem and Perry (and an expected high debut next week for Miley Cyrus' "Can't Be Tamed") puts a spotlight on the phenomenon of songs that get off to fast starts. On Friday, I'll have a Chart Watch Extra in which I list the song that entered the Hot 100 in the highest position in each year since 1955. The list holds many surprises. The artist with the highest-debuting song of 1975 wasn't Elton John or John Denver, but two-hit-wonder David Geddes. The artist with the highest-debuting song of 2001 never had another Hot 100 hit, before or since. But the list is also studded with legends. Elvis Presley and the Beatles each had the year's highest-debuting song five times. Check it out on Friday.

Quiz Answer: The four other songs whose titles begin with the word "California" to have made the top 10 on the Hot 100 are the Rivieras' "California Sun" (1964), the Beach Boys' "California Girls" (1965; brought back to the top 10 in 1985 by David Lee Roth), the Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreamin'" (1966) and 2 Pac's "California Love" (featuring Dr. Dre and Roger) (1996). Extra credit: The 1924 hit that would have hit #1 if there had been a national chart in place at the time was Al Jolson's "California, Here I Come."

In addition, some memorable California songs have made the top 10 that had the state's name deeper in the title. Key examples include Eagles' Hotel California (1977) and Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California" (2006).

Justin Bieber's My World 2.0 rebounds to #1 on The Billboard 200. This is the album's fourth week on top, which puts it in a tie with Lady Antebellum's Need You Now as the longest-running #1 album so far in 2010. The album also tops the 1 million mark in sales this week. It's only the third album to sell 1 million copies in 2010.

That's the good news. Here's the bad news: My World 2.0 sold just 60,000 copies this week, the second lowest weekly tally for a #1 album since Nielsen/SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991. The only album to sell fewer copies while it was ranked #1 was the Dreamgirls soundtrack (60,000 in January 2007). (I round off numbers to the nearest thousand, but the Dreamgirls tally was somewhat lower.)

Here's more bad news: Bob Marley & the Wailers' Legend regains the #1 spot on Top Catalog Albums with sales of just 5,000 copies. That's the lowest weekly sales tally for a #1 Catalog album in Nielsen/SoundScan history. This is the 111th week on top for Legend, which was first released in 1984. The album was most recently in the #1 spot one year ago this week. The album ranks #108 on The Billboard 200 this week. That's the lowest ranking for the week's #1 Catalog album since April 2007, when Guns N' Roses' Greatest Hits would have held the same spot (if catalog albums had been eligible to make The Billboard 200 at the time).

Lady Antebellum's Need You Now holds at #2 on The Billboard 200. It also holds at #1 on Top Country Albums for the 16th consecutive week. It's the first album to top that chart in each of its first 16 weeks since LeAnn Rimes' Blue in 1996.

The National's fifth full-length album, High Violet, debuts at #3 with sales of 51,000 copies. The band's previous album, The Boxer, debuted and peaked at #68 in 2007. It never sold more than 10,000 copies in any one week...The Dead Weather's sophomore album, Sea Of Cowards, bows at #5. This is a hair better than the group's debut album, Horehound, which reached #6 in July. Sea Of Cowards is the seventh top 10 album for musician Jack White. His top 10 history also includes three albums with the White Stripes and two with the Raconteurs.

Carole King/James Taylor's Live At The Troubadour drops from #4 to #6 in its second week. The album celebrates their days as leaders of the Laurel Canyon singer/songwriter scene of the '70s. This is the second time that King has had a hit album that paid tribute to an iconic phase of her career. In 1980, she saluted her days as a top Brill Building songwriter with Pearls-Songs of Goffin And King. It's rare for an artist to have two completely separate careers that become iconic. This fall, King marks her 50th anniversary on the charts. The Shirelles' "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," which she wrote with Gerry Goffin, entered the Hot 100 on Nov. 21, 1960. Billboard, fire up that special issue. Recording Academy, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is in order.

Charice, an 18-year old Filipino singer and YouTube sensation, opens at #8 with her eponymous debut album. Charice is the latest protégé of Grammy-winning producer David Foster. She has been featured on such hit albums as David Archuleta's Christmas From The Heart, Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel soundtrack and Hit Man: David Foster & Friends.

The Glee treatment of Rick Springfield's 1981 smash "Jessie's Girl" enters Hot Digital Songs at #10. This is the fifth time that a Glee cover version has made the top 10 on that chart. It follows the cast's versions of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" (#2 in May), Queen's "Somebody To Love" (#10 in October), Madonna's "Like A Prayer" (#10 in April) and Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" (#8 last week). Springfield's original recording of the song re-enters Hot Digital Songs at #116. It has sold 937,000 digital copies.

The week's second highest Glee entry is the cast's version of U2's "One," which enters Hot Digital Songs at #29. Only in Glee-land could a former soap opera hunk beat the most acclaimed band to emerge since the 1960s. But Glee, with its inclusive approach to music, is the great equalizer.

"Telephone" by Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce tops the 2 million mark in paid downloads this week. It's the first all-female collaboration to reach this sales plateau in the digital era. Back in the old days of physical singles, two all-female collabos were certified by the RIAA for sales of 2 million copies: "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer and "The Boy Is Mine" by Brandy & Monica.

"Telephone" is the sixth Lady Gaga song to top the 2 million mark in paid downloads, following "Just Dance" (featuring Colby O'Donis), "Poker Face," "Lovegame," "Paparazzi" and "Bad Romance."  The Black Eyed Peas are the only other act to amass six 2 million-selling digital hits as "lead artists" (not counting "featuring" credits).The Peas scored with "Let's Get It Started," "My Humps" and the first four hits from The E.N.D.

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

1. Justin Bieber, My World. 2.0, 60,000. The album rebounds from #5 to #1 in its eighth week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Eenie Meenie" (a duet with Sean Kingston), which dips from #12 to #15.

2. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, 54,000. The album holds at #2 in its 16th week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Need You Now" dips from #15 to #18. "American Honey" drops from #38 to #49.

3. The National, High Violet, 51,000. This new entry is the alternative group's first top 10 album. More than 29,000 copies were sold digitally, making it the week's #1 Digital Album. "Sorrow" enters Hot Digital Songs at #184.

4. AC/DC, Iron Man 2 soundtrack, 48,000. The soundtrack rebounds from #8 to #4 in its fourth week. This matches its entry position three weeks ago. The Robert Downey Jr. movie was #1 at the box-office for the second straight weekend. The first Iron Man movie spent two weekends at #1 in May 2008.

5. The Dead Weather, Sea Of Cowards, 45,000. This new entry is the group's second top 10 album in a row. It's the seventh top 10 album for the group's best-known member, Jack White.

6. Carole King & James Taylor, Live At The Troubadour, 44,000. The album drops from #4 to #6 in its second week.

7. Usher, Raymond V Raymond, 43,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #10 to #7 in its seventh week. This tops Usher's 2008 album, Here I Stand, which logged six weeks in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "OMG" (featuring will.i.am), which holds at #2.

8. Charice, Charice, 43,000. This new entry is the U.S. debut by the Filipino teen sensation.  "Pyramid" (featuring Iyaz) vaults from #158 to #32 in its third week on Hot Digital Songs.

9. Godsmack, Oracle, 43,000. The album drops from #1 to #9 in its second week. "Cryin' Like A B***h" drops from #152 to #173 on Hot Digital Songs. (I'm not sure if they're cryin' about the chart drop or the fact that Yahoo! won't print the word "B***h.")

10. As I Lay Dying, The Powerless Rise, 38,000. This new entry is the metal band's second top 10 album in a row. The band takes its name from a 1930 novel by William Faulkner. (I've been meaning to read it. But first I have to finish a People cover story on Justin Bieber.)

Four albums that debuted in the top 10 last week drop out after just one week. MercyMe's The Generous Mr. Lovewell dives from #3 to #23, the Deftones' Diamond Eyes drops from #6 to #18, Court Yard Hounds' Court Yard Hounds drops from #7 to #12, Toni Braxton's Pulse falls from #9 to #22.

Tenth Avenue North's second major-label album, The Light Meets The Dark, bows at #15. The Christian rock group's previous album, Over And Underneath, falls from #46 to #138. The latter album was #1 on the Catalog Albums chart for the past five weeks.

Keane's Night Train opens at #25. The English trio hit the top 10 with Under The Iron Sea (#4 in 2006) and Perfect Symmetry (#7 in 2008). Night Train enters the U.K. album chart at #1. It's Keane's fourth consecutive #1 album in its home country...Meat Loaf's Hang Cool Teddy Bear bows at #27. Mr. Loaf first charted in 1977 with Bat Out Of Hell, one of the best-selling debut albums in history.

We Are The Fallen's Tear The World Down debuts at #33. The group features former members of Evanescence and is fronted by Carly Smithson, who finished sixth on Season 7 of American Idol. Smithson is one of the few Idol contestants to form a group. The most famous example, of course, is Chris Daughtry.

Celine Dion has the top two titles on the Top DVD Music Videos chart. Taking Chances World Tour: The Concert debuts at #1. Through The Eyes Of The World bows at #2. Bon Jovi's Live At Madison Square Garden opens at #3. Barbra Streisand's One Night Only-Barbra Streisand and Quartet At The Village Vanguard drops from #1 to #4 in its second week. Dion's Taking Chances sold 26,000 copies and would have ranked #14 on The Billboard 200 if DVDs competed there.

Song Scorecard: Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" tops the 4 million mark in paid downloads in its 78th week. It's the 15th song to reach this plateau. Six of the 15 songs are by female artists. Lady Gaga accounts for two. Ke$ha, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and now Beyonce all account for one. "Single Ladies" won a Grammy for Song of the Year earlier this year. This is the second year in a row that the winner in that category has been a 4-million seller. Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" took the award the year before. So are the Grammys all about what was the biggest hit? Perish the thought! (But it never hurt...)

Two collabos top the 1 million mark in paid downloads this week: "Young Forever" by Jay-Z featuring Mr. Hudson and "OMG" by Usher featuring will.i.am.

Heads Up: Glee: The Music, Vol. 3: Showstoppers is expected to debut at #1 next week, with a total in the 115,000 range. A deluxe reissue of the Rolling Stones' 1972 classic Exile On Main St. will probably open at #2. Also due: The Black Keys' Brothers, Nas & Damian "Jr Gong" Marley's Distant Relatives, Band Of Horses' Infinite ArmsTalib Kweli & Hi-Tek's Revolutions Per Minute, Janelle Monae's The ArchAndroid and LCD Soundsystem's This Is Happening.

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