Chart Beat
April 05, 2007,
Fred Bronson
AKON BREAKING CHART: Akon is the first artist to hold down the top two spots on The Billboard Hot 100 since... well, Akon. His "Don't Matter" (Konvict/Upfront) remains No. 1 for a second week, while "The Sweet Escape" (Interscope) by Gwen Stefani featuring Akon surges to a new peak position of No. 2.

It was just a little more than four months ago when Akon had his first lock on the top two spots. "I Wanna Love You" was in pole position the week of Dec. 2, 2006 and "Smack That" was in the runner-up slot. Akon was the lead artist on both tracks; Snoop Dogg was featured on the former and Eminem on the latter.

Akon has a total of six titles on the current Hot 100. "I Wanna Love You" rebounds 40-35 and "Smack That" rises 42-41. He is also featured on two debuts: "We Takin' Over" (Terror Squad) by DJ Khaled featuring T.I., Akon, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Lil' Wayne and Baby is a new entry at No. 75 and "I Tried" (Full Service) by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony featuring Akon opens at No. 82.

"The Sweet Escape" advances 6-2, making it the third top two single of Stefani's chart career. Her biggest hit to date is "Hollaback Girl," No. 1 for four weeks in May 2005. In August 2001, she was featured on Eve's "Let Me Blow Ya Mind," which peaked at No. 2.

"The Sweet Escape" had previously gone as high as No. 3. That happened the week of Feb. 24 and the song returned to that position the week of March 17. On the Pop 100, "The Sweet Escape" prevails, marching 5-1. It is Stefani's second No. 1 on this chart, following the eight-week reign of "Hollaback Girl."

TERM LIMITS: Akon's "Don't Matter" is the third consecutive chart-topper to have a two-week run at No. 1 and is thus tied with "This Is Why I'm Hot" by Mims and "Glamorous" by Fergie featuring Ludacris as the longest-running No. 1s of the year on the Hot 100.

Before this triumverate, the year started with two songs that each spent one week on top: "Say It Right" by Nelly Furtado and "What Goes Around...Comes Around" by Justin Timberlake.

AND FLY IT DOES: Tim McGraw may be looking at his fourth top 10 hit on the Hot 100. His latest single, "Last Dollar (Fly Away)" (Curb), takes a huge leap, bounding 81-13. McGraw's three turns in the top 10 were:

"It's Your Love," No. 7 (1997) [Tim McGraw with Faith Hill]
"Please Remember Me," No. 10 (1999)
"Over and Over," No. 3 (2004) [Nelly featuring Tim McGraw]

On Hot Country Songs, McGraw secures his 22nd No. 1, as "Last Dollar" glides 2-1. It's McGraw's first No. 1 since December 2004, when "Back When" spent a week in the penthouse.

"Last Dollar" is the lead-off track on McGraw's new album, "Let It Go." That CD debuts at No. 1 on Top Country Albums, giving McGraw his ninth chart-topper out of 10 entries. All of his albums have achieved pole position except for "Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors," which peaked at No. 2 in December 2002. The album that kept McGraw from going all the way was "Up!" by Shania Twain.

'TICKS' UP: Tim McGraw isn't the only country male making news on the Hot 100 this week. Brad Paisley has the highest-debuting song of his career, as "Ticks" (Arista) makes an entrance at No. 40.

That bests Paisley's previous highest debut, the No. 66 bow of "I'm Gonna Miss Her" (The Fishin' Song)," the week of May 4, 2002.

"Ticks" is the highest-debuting country song on the Hot 100 since the week of May 6, 2006, when the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready to Make Nice" opened at No. 28. It is also the highest debut for a solo country male since Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" entered at No. 16 in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"Ticks" is tied with "Year 3000" by the Jonas Brothers as the fourth-highest debut of 2007 on the Hot 100. The three songs that have had better first week starting spots are:

No. 2: "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race," Fall Out Boy (Feb. 3)
No. 5: "Girlfriend," Avril Lavigne (March 17)
No. 14: "Push It to the Limit," Corbin Bleu (Feb. 3)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY; SWEET 16: I didn't know what to get Elton John for his 60th birthday, so I hope he'll be happy with this report on his first top 10 album on The Billboard 200 in almost 10 years.

"Rocket Man: Number Ones" (Chronicles/Rocket/Island/Mercury) blasts onto the survey at No. 9. That ties the peak position of Elton's most recent top 10 set, "The Big Picture," which debuted and peaked at No. 9 the week of Oct. 11, 1997.

"Rocket Man" is only the third Elton John album to reach the top 10 in the last 30 years. In September 1992, "The One" sailed to No. 8.

Between his chart debut in October 1970 and the end of 1976, Elton had 13 top 10 albums, with 11 of them charting consecutively. That makes "Rocket Man" the 16th top 10 set of his career.

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