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On the Charts: Amy Winehouse's Sad Return

'Back to Black' reaches Number Nine after Winehouse's death

July 27, 2011 3:50 PM ET
amy winehouse charts
Amy Winehouse
Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

WINNER OF THE WEEK: This is one week it would be nice to change the paragraph heading. Amy Winehouse, the British soul diva who died Saturday at age 27, made the saddest surge back into the Top 10 since we've been writing this column, as her 2007 album Back to Black jumps 3,140 percent, selling 37,000 copies, winding up at Number Nine. As with Michael Jackson in 2009, this is mostly an old-school album-buying phenomenon – Back to Black is also Number Two on iTunes, second only to Adele's unshakable 21, but "Rehab" hasn't taken off (again) as a single. (We'll see tomorrow, when the new BigChampagne chart arrives, whether Winehouse singles have turned into a YouTube or Facebook viral phenomenon, but it's unlikely.) "Rehab" did hit Number 46, with 38,000 paid downloads, on Billboard's Digital Songs chart. Some say the old music-business axiom that stars sell tons of records after they die is cynical and unfeeling. We believe fans need to mourn, and why not do so by listening to music?
 
LOSER OF THE WEEK: "Hey! Where did everybody go?" Now that NBC's The Voice is over for a couple of months, suddenly the contestants and judges are sufficiently cooled off – the only survivor on the iTunes albums chart is country star Blake Shelton, whose Red River Blue lingers at Number 10. However, Billboard reports that he dropped from Number One to Number Six, selling just 60,000 copies, a decline of 60 percent. He's the only Voice star left standing on last Thursday's BigChampagne Ultimate Chart, too, with "Honey Bee" at 19 and "God Gave Me You" at 43. For Shelton, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green, the new season, which begins in September, can't come soon enough. We'll see if the show's chart power perseveres.
 
DEMI GOES VIRAL: Suddenly-adult singer Demi Lovato's barren video for "Skyscraper" launched her to Number Two on BigChampagne's latest Ultimate Chart, which measures online criteria such as YouTube views and Facebook hits in addition to traditional sales. What's interesting is that the single made its debut on Billboard's Hot 100 at just Number 10, which means Something is Going On online. The video's more than five million views on Vevo/YouTube are a clue, but also, Lovato's website reports that she posted the song's image and title in mid-July, "instantly becoming a worldwide Twitter Trend drawing over 2 million impressions on Facebook within 24 hours." We're not totally sure what that mumbo-jumbo means, but it certainly would seem to add up to "people like to check out Demi's stuff online for free." Whether Lovato and her Disney-owned record label can turn the Internet fan excitement into cash, through concert tickets, merchandise or what-not, remains to be seen. But she's off to a good start.

LAST WEEK: Rock Roars Back

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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