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On the Charts: Justin Timberlake Holds Fast to Number One

Lil Wayne grabs second spot

Justin Timberlake performs in London, England.
Christie Goodwin/Redferns via Getty Images
April 3, 2013 12:00 PM ET

WINNER OF THE WEEK: Justin Timberlake. Again. The 20/20 Experience had the biggest sales debut of the year, then dropped 67 percent in its second week – 318,000 sales, although easily still ahead of Lil Wayne's I Am Not a Human Being II, at 217,000.  Sixty-seven percent is the Statistic of Doom these days (give or take) in the record industry. One Direction's Take Me Home sold 540,000 copies in its first week last November, then dropped, yes, 67 percent in its second week; Taylor Swift's Red sold 1.2 million in its first week last October, then dropped a bit more than 67 percent (72, to be exact) in the following week. What does this tell us about hit albums in today's music business? Hype works. But only for one week. After that, make more hits. Or tour.

Justin Timberlake Confirms Second '20/20 Experience' Album

LOSER OF THE WEEK: "Harlem Shake." I'd like to say, for the record, that I still like "Gangnam Style" and I still think "Harlem Shake" videos are funny. (The good ones, anyway.) But it appears that Baauer's out-of-nowhere 2012 dance smash, which inexplicably created a DIY video craze beginning in February, is finally ending its reign on Billboard's Hot 100. The most recent chart has Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop" leapfrogging it to Number One. Interestingly, "Harlem Shake" is the only major beneficiary of Billboard's recent rule change to allow YouTube views as part of the data determining Hot 100 placement – the rest of the singles chart involves sales-driven pop hits, from Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" to Rihanna's "Stay."

AND SHE DIDN'T EVEN HAVE TO REMOVE MOST OF HER CLOTHING AND SWING ON A ROPE HIGH ABOVE A CITY TO DO IT: Speaking of Macklemore, "Thrift Shop" may still be Number One on the Hot 100, but digital-sales-wise, it finally fell to Number Two last week – Pink's "Just Give Me a Reason" vaulted past it, and stays at Number One this week with 286,000 sales. It was a good week for digital songs, as Pink's sales surged 18 percent and "Thrift Shop," despite dropping on the charts, actually increased 21 percent, with 282,000 sales. It has also been a good couple of weeks for Pink, whose recent single strength has contributed to album sales; her underrated 2012 album The Truth About Love launched to Number Five last week, and, while dropping to Number Seven this week, increased sales by 34 percent.

Last week: Justin Timberlake Has Best Sales Week Ever

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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