DEAR JERRY: One work-related site I often visit is Find Law for Corporate Counsel.
Surprisingly, I found this music news item there:
“RCA Records recording artist [Bo] Bice rewrites the chart history books as his “Inside Your Heaven” replaces Carrie Underwood's “Inside Your Heaven” at No. 1. It's the first time in the history of the sales chart that the same song, recorded by a different artist, succeeds itself at the top of the chart.”
Is the author of this statement aware of “Young Love,” and “Butterfly”?
Is there some loophole in my logic? If anyone can sort out the facts from the fiction, it is you.
Lester Cooper, Tacoma, Wash.
DEAR LESTER: I appreciate the vote of confidence, so let's get on with the sorting.
Loopholes abound here, as much depends on which charts are being used.
As for the Bice-Underwood feat, that paragraph simply refers to “the sales chart,” which can mean anything from dozens of different Billboard charts to Amazon.com's Top Sellers list.
On Billboard's Hot 100, when Underwood's “Inside Your Heaven” dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 (July 9, 2005) the tune replacing her at No. 1 is “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey. Bo Bice debuts at No. 2 on that chart.
However, if we move over to Billboard's Pop 100, Bo does follow Carrie at No. 1.
Similar chart shuffling is required in the case of both “Young Love” and “Butterfly.”
Sonny James reached No. 1 (February 1957) with “Young Love” on Cash Box and six different Billboard charts, but peaked at No. 2 on their Top 100. For that specific chart, only Tab Hunter's cover version held the top spot.
Yet, on the Most Played By [Disc] Jockeys chart for February 9, Sonny's “Young Love” is No. 1. The next week he is replaced by Tab Hunter's rendition an event exactly like “Inside Your Heaven” by the American Idol stars.
The upshot of all the hair splitting is that if they want to consider charts in 2005 other than the “Top 100,” then the same consideration must be given to Sonny James in 1957.
If the rules require sticking with only the Billboard Top 100 (a.k.a. Hot 100), then we are still waiting for back-to-back No. 1 hits of the same song by two different artists to occur.
As for Charlie Gracie's “Butterfly,” it hit No. 1 on Billboard's Most Played on Juke Boxes on April 13, 1957), while that week's Hot 100 chart ranks Andy Williams cover version at the top. But neither “Butterfly” flew in to replace the other at No. 1 on the same chart.
Now if I can only figure out what this trivia has to do with Law for Corporate Counsel.
IZ ZAT SO? Billboard's first Top 100 chart appeared in their November 19, 1955 issue. Before then, the top hits lists numbered either 20 or 25.
Chronologically, here are some interesting Billboard Top 100 firsts from that chart's earliest full year (1956):
First Top 10 Christmas song (1/7): “Nuttin' for Christmas” (Barry Gordon).
First No. 1 pop cover of an R&B recording (1/7): “I Hear You Knockin'” (Gale Storm). Original is by Smiley Lewis.
First Top 100 hit with “Rock and Roll” in the title (1/7): “Rock and Roll Waltz” (Kay Starr).
First No. 1 Rock-a-Ballad (2/18): “The Great Pretender” (Platters). This is also the first No. 1 for a black artist or group.
First time the Top 2 are both instrumentals (3/24): No. 1, “The Poor People of Paris” (Les Baxter) and No. 2, “Lisbon Antigua” (Nelson Riddle).
First Top 10 entry by a British artist (5/5): “Rock Island Line” (Lonnie Donegan).
First time two different versions of the same song are in the Top 5 (6/2): “Moonglow and Theme from Picnic.” No. 3, Morris Stoloff and No. 4, George Cates.
First No. 1 bona fide Rock and Roll record (9/15): “Don't Be Cruel” backed with “Hound Dog” (Elvis Presley).
First Top 5 Rock and Roll instrumental (10/13): “Honky Tonk” (Bill Doggett).
First time in the Top 3 for two different singles by the same artist (11/10): “Don't Be Cruel” and “Love Me Tender” (Elvis Presley).