On Billboard Chart, No Longer Lonely At Top

Hip hop artist T.I. is currently sitting atop the Billboard singles chart. He's taking up a lot of room, too. He's got the No. 1 and No. 2 songs in the country. It's a rare feat — accomplished by the Beatles in 1964 and the Bee Gees at the height of disco. Andrea Seabrook spins a few hot hits and examines the phenomenon.

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ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

But let's move farther up that chart for our next story. Something pretty noteworthy is happening up at the top. The number one song in the land right now is by hip hop artist T.I. It's called "Live your Life."

(Soundbite of song "Live your Life")

Mr. T.I.: (Singing) So live your life, ay ay ay. You steady chasing that paper, Just live your life. Oh, ay.

SEABROOK: T.I. also holds the number two spot with the song called "Whatever you Like."

(Soundbite of song "Whatever You Like")

Mr. T.I.: (Singing) Stacks on deck. Patron' on ice. And we can pop bottles all night. Baby, you can have whatever you like, You like.

SEABROOK: The same artist, number one and number two on the hot 100. T.I., is in pretty rare company there. The Beatles did it in 1964. As a matter of fact, there was one week where they held down the top five spots. That's so money.

(Soundbite of song "Can't Buy Me Love")

THE BEATLES: (Singing) Money can't buy me love.

SEABROOK: OK, it's so loved whatever. At the height of the disco craze, the Bee Gees were number one and number two with "Night Fever" and that other song that just wouldn't die.

(Soundbite of song "Staying Alive")

BEE GEES: (Singing) Staying alive, staying alive.

SEABROOK: Yeah, that one. After the Bee Gees, though, it took 24 years for another artist to claim the top two spots on the Billboard Hot 100.

(Soundbite of song "Hot in Here")

NELLY: (Singing) I said it's gettin' hot in here So hot. So take off all your clothes. I am getting' so hot, I wanna take my clothes off. Oh.

SEABROOK: That's Nelly with a tasteful little number called "Hot in Here." He'd follow that with a song "Dilemma." That was in 2002. Since then, holding the top two spot has become almost common - Outkast did it, then Mariah Carey, then Akon, and now T.I. We're not even counting the times performers appear on other people's records. So, why does it happen all the time now? We asked Silvio Pietroluongo, he manages the charts for Billboard magazine.

Mr. SILVIO PIETROLUONGO (Chart Manager, Billboard Magazine): Back when 45 singles were the mode of purchasing choice, record labels really released one song physically, you know, every few months.

What's happened since then with the advent of digital downloads, the consumer has the choice to purchase any song from an album. So you're seeing really superstar-type artists have more than one song selling extremely well, and it brings those songs to top of the chart, and it leaves them there for a little bit longer at times.

SEABROOK: Plus, about a decade ago, Billboard changed the way it counts radio airplay. Before, it only used top 40 radio to figure out the pop chart. Now, it measures all radio stations, and that makes it easier to deliver the one-two punch. So, does all this take the luster off T.I.'s achievement?

Mr. PIETROLUONGO: It's still very rare. I mean, you know, the last time it happened was two years ago, so it's not happening every week. It's certainly an impressive feat, and, you know, all the artist and songs in question, I think, are still going to remain popular for years to come.

SEABROOK: That's Silvio Pietroluongo of Billboard magazine.

(Soundbite of song "Whatever You Like")

Mr. T.I.: (Singing) Anytime you want to pick up the telephone. You know it ain't nothin to drop a couple stacks on you. Wanted you could get it my dear. Five million dollar home, drop Bentley's I swear. Yeah I want 'cho body, I need yo body long as you got me you won't need nobody. You want it I got it, go get it I buy it. Tell 'em other broke niggas be quiet. Stacks on deck. Patron' on ice.

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