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On the Charts: Tony Bennett Hits Number One With a Little Help From His Friends

Plus: Can Ke$ha sound-alike Dev turn YouTube hits into sales?

September 28, 2011 4:20 PM ET
tony bennett duets compilation aarp
Tony Bennett performs during AARP's Drive To End Hunger Benefit Concert in Los Angeles.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

WINNER OF THE WEEK: The moral to this week's column is: The music business is simple! All you have to do to hit Number One is perform relentlessly high-quality material for almost 70 years, never yield to fads or trends, become a beloved pop icon, then fly to studios around the world to make a duets album with Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Carrie Underwood, John Mayer, Amy Winehouse just before she dies at age 27 and other gigantic superstars less than a third of your age. That was Tony Bennett's formula, and it worked perfectly. The 85-year-old singer's Duets II hit Number One by selling 179,000 copies – fewer than his first Duets collection, in 2006, which racked up 202,000. Interestingly, he wasn't quite as smooth on iTunes, hitting just Number Four; Demi Lovato's Unbroken was Number One over there, and Adele and NeedtoBreathe's Reckoning beat him out as well. (Side note on NeedtoBreathe, the Seneca, South Carolina, rock band: We saw the boys open for Taylor Swift in Denver, and they did something pretty innovative, giving every CD buyer at a Section 104 merch table a pass to meet the band personally after their set at an undisclosed location in the Pepsi Center. Oh, and both Swift and Justin Bieber tweeted nice things about the band last week.)

LOSER OF THE WEEK: We'll put ourselves in this category. But just for a week. Our comparison of Lady Antebellum's Number One album last week to fellow country star Eric Church's Number One album a few weeks back overlooked a crucial wrinkle. Our point was that Lady A hit the top spot without the help of a single – but one of the band's publicists pointed out to us that "Just a Kiss" came out earlier this year and hit Number One on the country charts and Number Seven on Billboard's Hot 100. So it wasn't exactly out of nowhere, in Church style. But, Lady, what else you got? The band's Own the Night dropped 64 percent this week, to 125,000 and Number Two; on iTunes, it dropped to Number Six. We know, country moves slow and steady, but don't take too long.

SPRINGSTEEN NEVER DANCED IN THE DARK LIKE THIS: Dev's "In the Dark" is in full viral mode, jumping 15 spots on BigChampagne's Ultimate Chart, which measures Internet criteria like Facebook likes and YouTube views. Dev's video, with hands in black leather gloves everywhere, including various key spots all over her naked body, as well as glimpses of scary spiders and snakes, has notched more than 21.2 million views since early July – and you know the music business is paying close attention, since this Vevo video is festooned with ads from top companies. The single was Number 14 on the latest Ultimate Chart and made a more modest jump on Billboard's Hot 100, from Number 20 to Number 18. So who is this Dev? Discovered on MySpace, she was the Ke$ha soundalike in Far East Movement's 2010 smash "Like a G6," leading major label Universal Republic to scoop her up quickly. We're not sure exactly why her single suddenly took off, but some of it undoubtedly has to do with remixes by 50 Cent and Flo Rida, as well as a Universal Republic push before her album comes out in early November.

LAST WEEK: Lady Antebellum Gets Comfortable at the Top

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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