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Week Ending Oct. 2, 2011. Songs: Gone But Not Forgotten

Chart Watch

What recording by an artist who has passed away has sold the most digital copies? Some good guesses would be Michael Jackson's "Thriller," which has sold 2,796,000 digital copies, Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (written and sung by the late Freddie Mercury), which has sold 2,609,000 copies, and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" (co-written and sung by the late Ronnie Van Zant), which has sold 2,498,000 copies. As I said, they're all very good guesses, but they're all wrong. The best-selling digital hit by an artist who is no longer with us is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"/"What A Wonderful World," which this week tops the 3 million mark in digital sales.

The Hawaiian singer and ukulele player died in June 1997, four years after the release of his album Facing Future, which contained this medley. He was 38. Kamakawiwo'ole's medley has never appeared on the Hot 100, but it has been featured in several hit movies, including Finding Forrester, Meet Joe Black, 50 First Dates and Madagascar.

(Let me note that I'm confining this to solo artists or key members of groups or duos. Another artist who has passed away had an even bigger digital hit, but he wasn't the lead artist on the recording. Static Major died in February 2008, just one month before the release of Lil Wayne's "Lollipop," on which he was featured. It has sold 4,289,000 copies as of this week.)

Kamakawiwo'ole's medley is the second-oldest recording to top the 3 million mark in digital sales. The oldest is Journey's 1981 hit "Don't Stop Believin,'" which has sold 4,771,000 digital copies.

The two songs in the medley are far and away the oldest songs to hit the 3 million plateau. Judy Garland introduced "Over The Rainbow" in the 1939 movie The Wizard Of Oz. Louis Armstrong introduced "What A Wonderful World" in 1967.

Rihanna this week becomes the only the second artist in Hot 100 history to amass 20 top 10 hits before reaching age 24. Rihanna, who is 23 years and seven months old, achieves the feat as "We Found Love" (featuring Calvin Harris) jumps from #16 to #9 in its second week on the chart.

The only other artist to achieve this feat is George Harrison who was slightly younger (23 years and six months) in August 1966 when the Beatles landed their 20th top 10 hit, "Yellow Submarine."

Want to know which artists are next in line? Paul McCartney was 24 years and two months old when "Yellow Submarine" hit the top 10. Elvis Presley was 25 years and three months old in April 1960 when "Stuck On You" became his 20th top 10 hit. John Lennon was 25 years and 10 months old when "Yellow Submarine" hit the top 10.

Rihanna is the 14th artist to land 20 or more top 10 hits in the rock era. She's only the fifth female solo artist to achieve the feat. She trails Madonna (37 top 10 hits), Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson (27 each) and Whitney Houston (23).

"We Found Love" is one of seven collaborations in this week's top 10. It's almost becoming a rarity for an artist to put out a record without an assist.

Adele's "Someone Like You" returns to #1 on the Hot 100 for a second week. The resurgence follows the arrival of the song's music video. Adele has topped the chart for nine weeks so far this year, which puts her in a tie with Katy Perry. (That's using Billboard issue dates. Using Nielsen SoundScan "week ending" dates, which run 13 days earlier, Perry loses two weeks at #1 of her year-bridging smash "Firework", which gives Adele the sole lead.)

"Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock dips from #4 to #5. This is its 17th consecutive week in the top five. The song tops the 4 million mark in digital sales this week. It's the third song to reach that level so far this year. Five songs topped the 4 million mark in digital sales in 2010. Four songs reached that level in 2009.

LMFAO's follow-up, "Sexy And I  Know It," jumps from #10 to #6. This is the latest example of a pop song which plays male sexual bravado for laughs. The most obvious example is Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy," a #1 hit from 1992, but don't forget Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?," a #1 hit from 1979, and David Lee Roth's "Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody," #3 hit from 1985.

"Strange Clouds" by B.o.B featuring Lil Wayne enters the Hot 100 at #7. It's the first single (and title track) from B.o.B's second studio album, which is expected in early spring. This is his fourth top 10 hit. All have been collabos. He has teamed with a fellow newcomer (Bruno Mars), two group members (Hayley Williams of Paramore and Rivers Cuomo of Weezer) and now a superstar rapper.

"Without You" by David Guetta featuring Usher jumps from #15 to #9. This is Guetta's second top 10 hit as a lead artist. "Sexy Chick" (featuring Akon) hit #5 in February 2010. It's Usher's third top 10 hit as a featured artist. He and Loon were featured on P. Diddy's "I Need A Girl (Part One)," which hit #2 in 2002. He and Ludacris were featured on Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz's "Lovers & Friends," which hit #3 in 2005.

Shameless Plug: Burt Bacharach and Hal David are the fourth recipients of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, following Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and Paul McCartney. This makes Bacharach & David the first songwriters to win the prize who primarily wrote for other artists. To mark the occasion, I have written a Chart Watch Extra in which I rank and discuss the 30 songs written by Bacharach and/or David that have made the top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 (or its predecessor pop chart). They made magic together, but they both wrote fine songs with other collaborators as well. This will probably go up on Thursday. I'm "Wishin' And Hopin'" you enjoy it.

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

1. Adele, "Someone Like You." The song returns to #1 in its 13th week on the chart. This is its fifth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #1 (222K).

2. Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera , "Moves Like Jagger." The former #1 song drops to #2 in its 15th week on the chart. This is its 10th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #2 (198K).

3. Foster The People, "Pumped Up Kicks." The song holds at #3 for the sixth week in its 23rd week on the chart. This is its eighth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #4 (177K).

4. Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine , "Stereo Hearts." The song jumps from #5 to #4 in its 16th week on the chart. This is its fifth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #7 (140K).

5. LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock, "Party Rock Anthem." The former #1 song dips from #4 to #5 in its 28th week on the chart. This is its 20th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #9 (124K).

6. LMFAO, "Sexy And I Know It." The song jumps from #10 to #6 in its fifth week on the chart. This is its second week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #5 (161K).

7. B.o.B featuring Lil Wayne, "Strange Clouds."  This new entry is the fourth top 10 hit for B.o.B; the 17th for Lil Wayne. Digital sales rank: #3 (197K).

8. David Guetta featuring Usher, "Without You." The song jumps from #11 to #8 in its fifth week on the chart. Digital sales rank: #8 (125K).

9. Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris, "We Found Love." The song jumps from #16 to #9 in its second week on the chart. This is the 20th top 10 hit for Rihanna; the first for Harris. Digital sales rank: #6 (147K).

10. Cobra Starship featuring Sabi, "You Make Me Feel..." The song dips from #9 to #10 in its 12th week on the chart. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #12 (87K).

Three songs drop out of the top 10 this week. "Lighters" by Bad Meets Evil featuring Bruno Mars drops from #6 to #11. Digital sales rank: #16 (62K); Rihanna's "Cheers (Drink To That)" drops from #7 to #13. Digital sales rank: #10 (96K); Lady Gaga's "You And I" drops from #8 to #12. Digital sales rank: #11 (95K). "You And I" tops the 1 million mark in digital sales.

Jason Derulo's "It Girl" jumps from #24 to #19 in its eighth week. It's Derulo's fifth straight top 20 hit. In the song, Derulo sings that a woman's love means "much more than a Grammy Award." "It Girl" isn't the first top 20 hit that mentions a Grammy. "King Tut" by Steve Martin and the Toot Uncommons, which hit #17 in 1978, included a line, "He coulda won a Grammy." (If they gave a Grammy for Oddest Chart Item, I think this would probably take it.)

"She Will" by Lil Wayne featuring Drake jumps from #28 to #27 in its seventh week. It moves up to #1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles. It's the seventh #1 R&B hit for both artists.

Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain" debuts at #28. It's the first single from the upcoming soundtrack to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1. Nickelback's "When We Stand Together" bows at #45. It's the first single from the band's upcoming album Here And Now. Mars and Nickelback have each amassed six top 10 hits (Mars in much less time).

Two high-powered collabos make big moves. "Ni**as In Paris" by Jay-Z/Kanye West jumps from #45 to #35 in its eighth week...."Fly" by Nicki Minaj featuring Rihanna jumps from #52 to #43 in its sixth week.

Toby Keith's "Made In America" holds at #41 in its 17th week. The song moves up to #1 on Hot Country Songs. It's Keith's 20th #1 country hit; his first since 2009.

"5 O'Clock" by T-Pain featuring Wiz Khalifa & Lily Allen bows at #62. It's the third single from T-Pain's upcoming album RevolveR. The song samples Allen's 2009 song "Who'd Have Known," hence her credit...Jason Aldean's "Tattoos On This Town" jumps from #81 to #66 in its second week.

"Somewhere" by Lea Michele and Idina Menzel bows at #75. This is the fourth time the classic song from West Side Story has hit the chart (following versions by P.J. Proby, Len Barry and Barbra Streisand). (Darren Criss' version of "Something's Coming" from the same musical failed to chart. The song has never reached the Hot 100 in all these years. How puzzling.)

Eric Church's "Drink In My Hand" jumps from #96 to #78 in its second week..."Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)" by Lloyd featuring Andre 3000 of OutKast bows at #81. It's the third single from Lloyd's album King Of Hearts...Jason Derulo's "Fight For You" debuts at #83. The song contains an interpolation of Toto's "Africa," a #1 hit in 1983.

Blink-182's "After Midnight" bows at #88. It's the band's follow-up to "Up All Night." Both songs are from the band's new album Neighborhoods, which enters The Billboard 200 at #2 this week. You already know that if you read Chart Watch: Albums. If you missed it, here's a link.

Luke Bryan's "I Don't Want This Night To End" bows at #90. It's the follow-up to his hit "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)." That song has sold more than 1 million copies, but it didn't quite reach #1 on Top Country Songs. It peaked at #4.

Lil Wayne's "How To Love" tops the 2 million mark in digital sales this week. The ballad was a convincing change-of-pace for the rapper.

"Remind Me," a duet by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. It's the fourth million-seller for Paisley; the eighth for Underwood (a tally topped, among country artists, only by Taylor Swift, with 13). The two stars will co-host the Country Music Assn. Awards for the fourth straight year. This year's edition airs on Nov. 9 on ABC.

Brad Paisley/Carrie Underwood photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images

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