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On the Charts: How Do You Spell Fun.?

New York pop band up, Madonna down, Adele forever

Nate Ruess, Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost of Fun visit fuse Studios in New York.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images
February 29, 2012 1:03 PM ET

WINNER OF THE WEEK: Having spent the morning listening to New York pop band Fun.'s second album Some Nights, which hit Number Three this week, selling 70,000 copies, we feel confident in saying the album (warmed-over Queen) isn't as good as the single. "We Are Young," co-starring the great Janelle Monae, is perfect as the backing track to that Chevy Sonic commercial in which crazy stuntmen send their cars hurtling through the air. It has that sprightly pop-novelty feel and seems on its way to a "Pumped Up Kicks" type of year, hitting Number One on both Billboard's digital-songs chart (where it sold 291,000 downloads) and iTunes' singles chart. Possible flaw in our theory: Last week's Ultimate Chart, which came out almost a week ago, had "We Are Young" dropping three places, to Number Five, although it seems to have rebounded since then on iTunes.

LOSER OF THE WEEK: Madonna. Two weeks after the Grammy Awards, Adele's 21 remains dominant, landing at Number One on the Billboard charts for a 22nd straight week, the longest streak since Prince's "Purple Rain" soundtrack in 1984 – and her "Set Fire to the Rain" single lingers at Number Five (or Number Six on iTunes), with "Rumour Has It" about to take off, jumping 54 spots on BigChampagne's Ultimate Chart. And while Adele had the advantage of a Whitney Houston-fueled Grammy broadcast of 39 million viewers, Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show drew 111 million. Yet poor Madge's lead-off single "Give Me All Your Luvin'" dropped out of both the Billboard and iTunes Top 10s, plopping 23 spots down the Ultimate Chart, which measures online criteria like YouTube views and Facebook likes, to Number 29.

LINGERING GRAMMY AFTERTASTE: The only Grammy phenomenon to keep its momentum two weeks after the broadcast is Whitney Houston, whose Whitney – The Greatest Hits decreased in sales by just 1 percent, to 174,000, enough for Number Two. And while the "I Will Always Love You" single dropped from Number Two to Number 13 on Billboard's digital-songs charts, her other albums are exploding (Whitney Houston went from Number 37 to Number Nine, and The Bodyguard soundtrack jumped from Number 38 to Number Six (which should please veteran singer-songwriter Nick Lowe's bank account, as he wrote "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding," covered on that album by pop schlockmeister Curtis Stigers.) Also dropping this week: Civil Wars, Katy Perry and pretty much every other Grammy star, including Chris Brown, whose "Turn Up the Music" didn't receive much of a Rihanna-cameo boost.

Last week: 730,000 New Adele Fans

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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