Scoreboard: Ed Sheeran Sweeps and Remembering Chuck Berry

March 20, 2017
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Ed Sheeran has the year’s biggest album week while maintaining his #1 grip on the Hot 100; Scoreboard pays tribute to Chuck Berry.

Billboard Artist Top 10

For the magazine dated March 25, 2017

See the full chart at http://www.billboard.com/charts/artist-100

Billboard Artist Top 10 Name Billboard 200 Album Rank Billboard Hot 100 Singles Highest Charting Single
1 Ed Sheeran 1 13 1: Shape Of You
2 Bruno Mars 3 2 3: That’s What I Like
3 Future 4 & 5 7 20: Cold
4 Metallica 2
5 Weeknd 7 4 12: I Feel It Coming
6 Rihanna 18 2 5: Love On The Brain
7 Chainsmokers 30 3 7: Paris
8 Drake 16 3 23: Fake Love
9 Migos 6 3 2: Bad And Boujee
10 Adele 22 1 43: Water Under The Bridge

 

It’s good to be Ed Sheeran. His “Shape Of You” has spent seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, blocking the efforts of Zayn and Taylor Swift to reach the top. This week’s Billboard charts finally reflect the arrival of his new album ÷ (Divide), which is the year’s biggest debut, though it’s only March and total sales come in below J. Cole‘s latest from December 2016. Besides @teddysphotos, @metallica surges back to #2 on the Billboard 200 thanks to a bundling of the band’s 2016 album Hardwired…To Self-Destruct with tickets to the band’s 2017 tour. Read Scoreboard’s take on Metallica’s new album from December here.

24k Magic World Tour. We on our way!

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Despite big chart moves by Ed Sheeran and Future over the last month, @brunomars stays in the top three of the Artist 100 for the fourth week in a row

Ed Sheeran Divides And Conquers

Ed Sheeran’s attack on 2017 started in early January when he released current Billboard #1 “Shape Of You” and “Castle Of The Hill,” which lurks at #39 on this week’s chart. Now that ÷ has arrived we have 14 more @teddysphotos tracks in addition to the pre-released singles. Ed still tries to rap, this time on opener “Eraser,” which serves as the most rocking track on the album. As discussed eight weeks ago here on Scoreboard, Sheeran’s big bucks have come from ballads and on ÷ there are multiple attempts to recreate the magic of “Thinking Out Loud.” There is “How Would You Feel (Paean),” dedicated to Sheeran’s childhood friend and current girlfriend Cherry Seaborn. On it Sheeran coos “How would you feel / If I told you I loved you?” with John Mayer romantically strumming the guitar. In addition, @teddysphotos channels singer-songwriter vibes on “Perfect,” “Dive,” “Happier,” “Save Myself,” “Supermarket Flowers,” and “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here.” You’re welcome, Lite FM stations.

If I were to rearrange the tracks on ÷, “Eraser”/”Castle On The Hill” would be at one end and the Soft Rock tracks would be at the other. Sheeran’s happy pop would be in the middle, and that is where the new album does best. There is “Shape Of You” and clunkier “Barcelona” bringing out tropical vibes. “What Do I Know?” is pleasant, except for the mumbo-jumbo about “exponential growth and the stock market crashing” on the chorus. Save that for children’s album, Ed. But the two biggest surprises come from “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan,” which update Irish Folk music to today’s pop and easily become the album’s most joyful moments just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Over on the Official British Singles Chart, all 16 of ÷‘s 20 tracks made the Top 20 after the album was released. @teddysphotos certainly knows his audience and we will hear a lot more from him in 2017.

My first Rolling Stone cover, everywhere friday x

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About time @teddysphotos has made the cover of Rolling Stone

R.I.P. Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

The first class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was inducted in 1986 and included 11 performers. The passing of Chuck Berry on Saturday, March 18, at age 90, reduces the list of living performers from that group to four (Little RichardJerry Lee LewisFats Domino, and Don Everly). Berry was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and got his big break in 1955 in Chicago with Chess Records. “Maybellene,” the demo track that Berry played for Leonard Chess, went to #5 and became the first of seven top 10 hits Berry would earn on the Billboard Hot 100. That same year Bill Haley & The Comets officially kicked off Billboard’s Rock Era with “Rock Around The Clock,” and Berry became the most prominent African-American performer of early rock and roll. Hits like “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Rock & Roll Music,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” became rock standards and influenced future rock giants such as The BeatlesThe Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen.

Like many rock careers, Berry’s most influential time period was short, from 1955 to 1958, though he continued to record and perform into his late eighties. He reached the top of the Billboard 100 in 1972 with “My Ding-A-Ling,” a live performance from Britain described by Billboard writer Fred Bronson as “a forgettable rude novelty song.” Yet some of Berry’s legend is rooted in rudeness and being a bad boy. He went to jail twice, first for transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes (for a few years in the 1950’s Berry owned a club in St. Louis where the victim worked the hat check) and then for tax evasion (Berry was notorious for demanding to be paid in cash). Nonetheless, he made it to 90 and has been married to his wife for nearly 70 years. For his 60th birthday, rock and roll friends including Keith Richards and Eric Clapton held a celebratory concert, which was recorded and released in 1987 as Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll. To pay tribute to this rock legend, check out Berry’s performance of “Nadine” from that film. At the 1:22 mark you can see his legendary “duck walk.”

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