Kenny Chesney Lands Ninth No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart With ‘Here and Now’

Country superstar Kenny Chesney captures his ninth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as his latest studio effort, Here and Now, bows atop the tally. Notably, he ties Garth Brooks for the most No. 1s among country acts in the chart’s history.

The set earned 233,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending May 7, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. That’s the largest week for any country album in over a year-and-a-half, since Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty bowed at No. 1 with 266,000 units (Sept. 29, 2018-dated chart).

Here and Now is also the first country album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in nearly six months. Luke CombsWhat You See Is What You Get was the last to do so, when it opened at No. 1 on the Nov. 23, 2019 chart. Here and Now was released on May 1 via Blue Chair/Warner Music Nashville.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new May 16-dated chart (where Here and Now debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s website on May 12.

Here and Now’s start of 233,000 equivalent album units comprises 222,000 in album sales, 10,000 SEA units (equaling 13.4 million on-demand streams of the set’s songs during the tracking week) and 1,000 in TEA units.

Here and Now’s sales launch of 222,000 is the third-biggest sales week of the year for an album, trailing only the debuts of BTSMap of the Soul: 7 (347,000; March 7-dated chart) and The Weeknd’s After Hours (275,000; April 4). Here and Now’s debut was largely powered by sales generated from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer with Chesney’s upcoming tour. After Hours also had a ticket/album redemption offer in play with its first week (in addition to more than 80 merchandise/album bundle sales that helped drive sales). Map of the Soul: 7 had neither a ticket/album redemption offer or merchandise/album bundles.

With Here and Now’s arrival at No. 1, Chesney ties Brooks for the most No. 1s on the Billboard 200 by a country act. Both have nine leaders. Among all artists, Chesney now has as many No. 1s as Brooks, Drake, Madonna, The Rolling Stones and Kanye West. Ahead of them: The Beatles, with the all-time record of 19 No. 1 albums; Jay-Z, with 14; Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand, each with 11; and Eminem and Elvis Presley, each with 10.

All told, Here and Now is Chesney’s 16th top 10 album on the Billboard 200 — and all have reached the top five. Since 2010, all eight of his charting albums have either debuted at Nos. 1 or 2.

Chesney’s last release, 2018’s Songs for the Saints, debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the Aug. 11, 2018-dated chart with 77,000 units earned in its first week. It bowed behind Drake’s Scorpion, which was in its fifth and final week at No. 1 (after debuting on top), with 145,000 units.

Speaking of Drake, his surprise-released Dark Lane Demo Tapes opens at No. 2 on the new Billboard 200 chart, with 223,000 equivalent album units earned. It marks his 12th top 10 effort — the entirety of his charting releases. The new collection of stray tunes is Drake’s 12th top 10 effort, and follows another odds n’ ends release, Care Package, which opened at No. 1 on the Aug. 17, 2019-dated list with 109,000 units earned.

Drake announced Dark Lane Demo Tapes via an Instagram post a few hours before it dropped on May 1. He describes the set as “songs people have been asking for (some leaks and some joints from SoundCloud and some new vibes).” Drake also said that his “6th studio album” will be released this summer.

Dark Lane Demo Tapes’ debut week was largely fueled by streaming activity. Of its 223,000-unit launch, 201,000 are in SEA units. That SEA sum equates to 269.1 million on-demand streams of the set’s songs — making it the biggest streaming album of the week, by far; the third-largest streaming week of 2020; and the second-biggest debut streaming frame of the year. As for the rest of Dark Lane Demo Tapes’ first-week unit total, album sales comprise nearly 19,000, while TEA units total a little under 4,000.

The only album with larger streaming weeks in 2020 than Dark Lane Demo Tapes is Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake, which launched with 400.4 million (March 21-dated chart) and then nabbed a second-week haul of 348.7 million (March 28) after the set was reissued with an array of bonus tracks in its second week of availability.

Bucking the trend of many new releases, Dark Lane Demo Tapes’ first-week did not benefit from any merchandise/album bundles, nor a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer. It also didn’t have any physical album formats to purchase in its first week — just the digital album. (Drake’s Care Package had the same roll-out: no ticket offer, no merch bundles, and no physical album.)

With Here and Now and Dark Lane Demo Tapes both earning more than 200,000 units, this week marks just the second time in the last two years — and the second time in just over three months — that two albums have earned north of 200,000 in a single week. It most recently happened in on the chart dated Feb. 1, 2020, when Eminem’s Music to Be Murdered By and Halsey’s Manic debuted at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, with 279,000 and 239,000 units earned.

A common thread between the Chesney/Drake and Eminem/Halsey weeks is that the albums from Drake and Eminem were surprise releases, while Chesney and Halsey had announced their release dates weeks in advance. As noted above, Drake’s album was announced a few hours before it premiered at 12:00 a.m. EST on May 1, and Eminem dropped his set with zero warning before it arrived on streaming services and digital retailers on Jan. 17.

At No. 3 on the new Billboard 200, Lil Baby’s former No. 1 My Turn rises two rungs with 100,000 equivalent album units in its 10th week on the chart. The set is up 147 percent in units for the week, thanks to its reissue on May 1 with six additional tracks. Lil Baby continues the trend of R&B/hip-hop albums getting a reissue with bonus material soon after their release. Other titles that have gotten a reissue boost in 2020 include Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake and The Weeknd’s After Hours. Even NAV’s new Good Intentions, which was released on May 8, is slated to receive a deluxe reissue just two days later, on May 10.

A trio of former No. 1s line up at Nos. 4-6: DaBaby’s Blame It On Baby falls from No. 2 to No. 4 in its third week (48,000 equivalent album units earned, down 14 percent), Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake dips 3-5 (45,000 units; down 8 percent) and The Weeknd’s After Hours slips 4-6 (44,000 units; down 7 percent).

Megan Thee Stallion’s Suga hits a new peak on the Billboard 200, as the album climbs 10-7 with 39,000 equivalent album units (up 43 percent). The rise eclipses its previous high of No. 10, first achieved in its debut week (March 21 chart). Suga benefits from activity surrounding its hit single “Savage,” which got a boost on April 29 thanks to a new remix featuring Beyoncé. On the most recently published Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, dated May 9, the tune vaulted from No. 14 to No. 4.

Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding slides 6-8 with 38,000 equivalent album units earned (though up less than 1 percent).

Doja Cat’s Hot Pink zooms to its first week in the top 10, flying 19-9 with 37,000 equivalent album units earned (up 79 percent). Like Suga, Hot Pink is profiting from interest in its top 10-charting Hot 100 single “Say So” and a new remix. On May 1, a new version of the track boasting Nicki Minaj was released. Hot Pink reaches the top 10 in its 27th week on the chart, the longest climb to the region since Elton John’s hits set Diamonds took an 82-week stroll to the top 10 (reaching No. 7 on June 15, 2019).

Closing out the new top 10 of the Billboard 200 is Bad Bunny’s YHLQMDLG, which falls from No. 7 to No. 10 with 36,000 equivalent album units earned (though up 6 percent).

Katy Perry Talks Pregnancy Hormones and Gaining the ‘COVID 30′ in Quarantine

Expectant mother Katy Perry is experiencing the joys and challenges of being pregnant while in quarantine.

In an interview for SHEIN Together, a virtual event held on Saturday (May 9) to benefit the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (WHO), Perry admitted that pregnancy hormones are in full effect.

“I would say I have five good days and two days where I just, I cry when I look down at my toes or I cry when just doing simple tasks,” she said, speaking to her laptop, which she casually mentioned was sitting on top of a trash can viewers couldn’t see. “I also think a lot of that is probably hormonal.”

“And I’m not used to being around so many people all in a confined space for so long,” added Perry, who is engaged to Orlando Bloom. “I’m used to kind of going all the time. I like my own kind of alone time, and there’s not really anywhere to go for that besides my car. I go to my car a lot — it’s parked outside my house.”

Perry, who said she’s embracing a boho look as her body changes, kept it real as she pointed out “some of us are gaining the COVID 15 or losing the COVID 15. I might be gaining the COVID 30 ’cause I’m eating for two. So every week, I’m like, you know, different.”

See her interview and watch her perform three of her singles — “Firework,” “Roar” and “Never Really Over” — from home in the clip below.

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From Don Omar to Gabriela, Here Is Every Collab on Bad Bunny’s Surprise New Album

Bad Bunny’s unexpected Mother’s Day release, Las Que No Iban a Salir – which translates to “the ones that weren’t going to be released” — compiles unfinished tracks that were wrapped up on the fly, many of them with some of reggaetón’s biggest names.

Here is every collaboration on the album, including the grand finale — “En Casita” — which features girlfriend Gabriela and was recorded during the lockdown due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

“Pa’ Romperla” with Don Omar

If there was going to be one mega banger in this set, it makes sense that it would come along with banger king Don Omar. “Pa’ Romperla” is one of those irresistible, reggaetón tracks that are impossible not to dance to. “Que se juntó el rey con el rey,” says Bad Bunny. (Translation: “The king got together with the king.”) Indeed. Thank you for this.

“Más de Una Cita” with Zion & Lennox

Bad Bunny is great at writing breakup/relationship songs. “Más de Una Cita” begins with a totally relatable premise: The girl drops out of sight, including on social media. Now she’s back and the guy has to work hard at getting her back. (“To woo her., you need more than just a date.”) From the melodic intro to the party break, it’s a great combo.

“Canción con Yandel” with Yandel

Don’t be fooled by the mellow, soulful ballad-like music. This is a love song, yes, but a pretty graphic one, its melancholy contrasting with lyrics that tread the verge of raunchy and, at the very last minute, become romantic. Yandel has always been the melodic side of Wisin & Yandel, and that’s what he does here as well, opening the song. But Benito (aka Bad Bunny) can sing too. His deep tenor contrasts with Yandel’s in this song about love and lust.

“Bad Con Nicky” with Nicky Jam

Stay with this track past the two-minute mark to get to the aha moment. The cool but seemingly predictable reggaeton track suddenly morphs into a club tune, the tempo doubling and arrangement punctuated by disco era-like effects. Fun!

“Como Se Siente Remix” with Jhay Cortez

An amped-up version of Cortez’s original love note to his sex goddess becomes a duet with Bad Bunny, which means everything gets taken up a notch.

“En Casita” with Gabriela

If you watched Bad Bunny’s now legendary marathon Instagram session last week (the same session that inspired this album), you saw him with girlfriend Gabriela. Now you get to hear him sing with her, performing this quarantine-inspired trap that, in its Bad Bunny way, exhorts people to stay home.

John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Ledisi & More Pay Tribute to Betty Wright

The music community is mourning the loss of legendary soul and R&B singer Betty Wright.

Music stars like John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Ledisi, DJ Khaled and many more took to social media Sunday (May 10) to pay tribute to Wright, who recently died after a battle with cancer. She was 66.

“I loved being around Ms Betty Wright,” Legend tweeted. “She was always so loving and giving to younger artists. Always engaged, always relevant. She will be missed.”

Wright is known for such classic hits as “Tonight Is the Night” and “Clean Up Woman,” and she took home a Grammy Award for “Where Is the Love” in 1975.

R&B singer Ledisi paid tribute to Wright on social media, thanking her for being a “master teacher” and “one of the greatest soul singers in our industry.”

“Thank you for being a master teacher, a friend and one of the greatest female soul singers in our industry,” Ledisi tweeted. “You were so much more than your music. We were blessed to be around royalty. Thank you. I will never forget. #BettyWright!”

See more tributes to below.

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Thank You For Saying Yes To Me. I Love You Betty.

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Betty Wright’s Biggest Billboard Hits: ‘Clean Up Woman,’ ‘Tonight Is the Night’ & More

In her nearly 50-year chart career, R&B legend Betty Wright stretched across generations with a soul, funk and disco catalog that made her one of the genre’s most consistent hitmakers in the 1970s and early 1980s, and, in later years, as a frequently sampled presence in hits by Beyoncé, DJ Khaled and others.

The singer-songwriter, born Bessie Norris, died at age 66 of cancer in Miami.

Wright’s Billboard chart career began on Aug. 3, 1968, as “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do” debuted on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Rhythm and Blues Singles (today’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart). The single became Wright’s first top 40 hit on both rankings, reaching No. 33 on the former and No. 15 on the latter. Younger listeners may know the tune more than they realize: Its opening drum and horn section was sampled in Beyoncé’s “Upgrade U” (featuring Jay-Z), a No. 11 hit on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in 2007.

The R&B realm yielded Wright’s biggest successes, with 39 of her tracks reaching the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 1968-2016. Her most prolific period was the ’70s, when she earned all four of her top 10s on the tally: “Clean Up Woman” (No. 2), “Dance With Me” (No. 5), Baby Sitter” (No. 6) and “Let Me Be Your Lovemaker” (No. 10).

Here is a recap of Wright’s 10 biggest hits on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs:

Song Title, Peak Position, Peak Date
1. “Clean Up Woman,” No. 2, Dec. 25, 1971
2. “Dance With Me,” with Peter Brown, No. 5, April 8, 1978
3. “Baby Sitter,” No. 6, Nov. 18, 1972
4. “Let Me Be Your Lovemaker,” No. 10, Nov. 3, 1973
5. “No Pain, No Gain,” No. 14, June 4, 1988
6. “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do,” No. 15, Sept. 21, 1968
7. “Secretary,” No. 12, Aug. 17, 1974
8. “It’s Hard to Stop (Doing Something When It’s Good to You),” No. 11, May 26, 1973
9. “Where Is the Love,” No. 15, May 24, 1975
10. “Tonight Is the Night (Pts. 1 & 2), No. 11, Nov. 11, 1978

Betty Wright’s Biggest Billboard Hits are based on actual performance on the weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, through May 9, 2020. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at lower ranks earning lesser values. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, certain eras are weighted to account for different chart turnover rates over various periods.

Although Wright’s best Hot 100 rank as an artist is a No. 6 high for “Clean Up Woman,” she played a noteworthy role in a No. 2 hit: Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up.” The 1991 single sampled the bass section and looping background vocal, “I know you not gonna sing that song!,” from a live version of “Tonight Is the Night, Pts. 1 & 2.” It gave Wright no artist billing nor writing credit, however, and she successfully sued the group for its illegal sample and walked away with 35% of the track’s royalties. (Wright tells the saga’s full story at the start of the above clip.)

Beyond “Sex” and the aforementioned “Upgrade U,” Wright’s catalog influenced several other chart hits. In 1990, “Tonight” was also sampled in Candyman’s “Knockin’ Boots,” which climbed to No. 9 on the Hot 100.

Meanwhile, R&B trio SWV borrowed parts of “Clean Up Woman” for its 1993 hit “I’m So Into You.” Curiously enough, the original and makeover share the same chart fates: No. 2 highs on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 6 bests on the Hot 100.

Wright’s last major chart appearance to date remains a featured turn on 2016’s “Holy Key” by DJ Khaled, whom she described as “like my son” to The New Yorker in 2014. The track, also with Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar as guest acts, reached No. 29 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 84 on the Hot 100.

In 1976, Betty Wright Won Her Only Grammy in a Major Upset

The Grammys have always been unpredictable. Look no further than Betty Wright, who died today (May 10) at age 66.

The first time Wright was nominated for a Grammy, she seemed to have an excellent chance of winning. At the 15th Annual Grammy Awards, which were presented on March 3, 1973 at the Tennessee Theatre in Nashville (the only time they were not held in Los Angeles or New York), she was nominated for best R&B vocal performance, female for her sassy smash “Clean Up Woman.” which had been a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

But Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin was simply unbeatable in that category at that time. Franklin won for the sixth year in a row for her album Young, Gifted & Black. (Albums and singles often competed against each other in performance categories in those years.)

Wright was nominated again three years later, but this time, she seemed to have little chance of winning. Her dance/disco hit, “Where Is the Love” (which she co-wrote with Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch of KC & the Sunshine Band, plus Willie Clarke) was nominated for best rhythm & blues song. But unlike “Clean Up Woman,” “Where Is the Love” was not a big crossover hit. It had stalled at No. 96 on the Hot 100.

And the competition that year was fierce. Casey and Finch were nominated with two songs that had been No. 1 hits on the Hot 100 for their red-hot group: “Get Down Tonight” and “That’s The Way (I Like It).” Barney Perry was nominated for writing The Blackbyrds’ “Walking in Rhythm,” a lilting, jazz-accented song that had made the top 10 on the Hot 100. (That group was fronted by jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd.)

Charlie Smalls rounded out the category with “Ease on Down the Road,” a showstopper from the Broadway musical The Wiz, which in April 1975 won a Tony Award for best musical. A disco group, Consumer Rapport, took the song to No. 42 on the Hot 100 — not a home run, but still 54 positions higher than “Where Is the Love.”

If you were handicapping that race, you’d probably start by striking “Where Is the Love.” Against this competition, it seemed to have very little chance. But when the winners were announced at the 18th Annual Grammy Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on Feb. 28, 1976, it was Wright’s minor hit that emerged victorious.

How did it win? Some of it may have been a make-up award, due to a prevailing sense that Wright really should have won for the irresistible “Clean Up Woman.” Another possible factor: The two KC & the Sunshine Band smashes may have split that group’s vote. Finally, it seems possible that at least some out-of-touch Grammy voters (yes, they existed back then and likely still do) saw the title “Where Is the Love” and mixed it up with the classic Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway smash — an entirely different song — from three years before.

Wright wasn’t nominated again for another Grammy for more than 30 years, but she amassed four nominations in the last 13 years of her life. Three of those nods were for collaborations with current hot stars who may have been paying their respects to an artist who had inspired them.

In 2007, she and Angie Stone were nominated for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals for “Baby,” a track from Stone’s album The Art of Love & War. In 2008, Wright was nominated for album of the year as one of five featured artists on Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III, that year’s best-selling album. Wright was featured on the track “Playing with Fire.”

In 2010, Wright was nominated for best traditional R&B vocal performance for the live track “Go.” She was nominated again in that category again the following year for “Surrender,” a collab with The Roots from their joint album Betty Wright: The Movie. That album dented the Billboard 200 albums chart in 2011.

Wright’s Grammy wasn’t for her most memorable and identifiable record, but at least she got one.

Ariana Grande, Drake & More Musicians Send Heartfelt Messages on Mother’s Day

As people are hunkered down during the global coronavirus pandemic, not too many of us are able to surprise Mom with a sweet gift, enjoy a delicious brunch together or give in-person hugs for Mother’s Day this year — and that goes for musicians as well.

But just like us, many are sharing heartfelt messages of love on social media for both the women who brought them up and nurtured their talents, as well as the ladies who gave birth to their children.

Among those posting sweet messages for the special women in their lives are Ariana Grande, who shared a beautiful black-and-white throwback pic of the artist herself and mom Joan, as well as a photo with grandma, and a final one with her pup on Instagram. “i luv u forever,” captioned the singer, who just released new collaboration “Stuck With U” with pal Justin Bieber on May 8.

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everything @joangrande i love u forever

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Drake also revisited the past with a sweet photo of himself as a toddler with his mother. He captioned the Instagram image: “Happy Mother’s Day to all the big time women out there doing the hardest work on gods green earth.”

See what other artists had to say to celebrate the moms in their lives.

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Happy mother's. Day @bosslady_ent

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Happy Mother’s Day Ma Rest In Peace ❤️

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