Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.

BASIA'S BACK

Hi Gary,

I can't believe that Basia has returned to the music business! She was the 'second Sade' in the late '80 and early '90s. I fondly remember her smooth jazz hits like "Time and Tide" and "Cruising for Bruising."

Now she's back with her first album in 15 years, "It's That Girl Again." Can you offer any insight about the album's promotion in the U.S.? Is there any chance that Basia is not forgotten by U.S. radio?

Thanks,

Pawel Kasa
Cracow, Poland

Hi Pawel,

Thanks for e-mailing from Basia's native country.

Our Smooth Jazz Songs chart this week proves that radio is warmly welcoming Basia back to the airwaves. The new album's first single, "Blame It on the Summer," debuts at No. 29, the artist's first Billboard chart ink in four years. "It's That Girl Again" was released in the U.S. this week and represents her first album on the E1 (formerly Koch) label. It will be eligible to chart on next week's album lists.

The unique pop/jazz artist, born Barbara Trzetrzelewska, has fared well on the Billboard 200. Her debut "Time and Tide" reached No. 36 in 1988, and "London Warsaw New York" rose to No. 20 in 1990. Her third effort, "The Sweetest Illusion," debuted and peaked at No. 27 in 1994.

On Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, she has a lot to live up to with her new set: "Time and Tide" and "London Warsaw New York" each reigned for two weeks. She charted a third time on the list in 2005 as a featured artist on "Matt's Mood" by Matt Bianco, the group in which Basia got her start before leaving with keyboardist Danny White to embark on her solo career. Their partnership endures, as Basia and White share production and writing credits on the new album.

Basia enjoyed a string of hits at radio, as well. She placed six songs on the Adult Contemporary chart from 1988 to 1990, led by "New Day for You" and "Cruising for Bruising," both of which reached No. 5. Her biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit was the title cut from "Time and Tide," which rose to No. 26 in October 1988.

Basia owns one additional Billboard No. 1: the single "Drunk on Love" topped Hot Dance Club Play in 1994.

WHO'S THE BOSS?

Hi Gary,

Could you please provide total album sales for Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen? A student of mine is interested in finding out who has sold more units.

Thanks,

Wayne R. Lahr
Librarian, Upper Moreland High School
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania

Hi Wayne,

In the battle of New Jersey rock icons, let's first look at the top five selling albums by each artist, including Jon Bon Jovi's solo works and Springsteen's releases with the E Street Band, dating to the inception of Nielsen SoundScan data in 1991.

Bon Jovi/Jon Bon Jovi:
"Cross Road" (1994), 4,709,000
"Slippery When Wet" (1986), 3,106,000
"Crush" (2000), 2,071,000
"Keep the Faith" (1992), 1,591,000
"Have a Nice Day" (2005), 1,552,000

Bruce Springsteen/E Street Band:
"Greatest Hits" (1995), 4,092,000
"The Rising" (2002), 2,163,000
"Born in the U.S.A." (1984), 1,463,000
"Human Touch" (1992), 1,168,000
"Magic" (2007), 1,054,000

Combining sales of each act's albums, the winner is ...

Bruce Springsteen. It's an astonishingly close race, however. In the Nielsen SoundScan era, Springsteen totals 19,968,000 million in album sales, just ahead of Bon Jovi's 19,922,000.

Springsteen pulled into the lead with his latest album, "Working on a Dream." The set has sold 484,000 copies since its January release.

(Special thanks to Nancy Wagner at Nielsen Entertainment for providing valuable assistance).

HE'S IN LOVE WITH THE GIRL

Hi Gary,

I thoroughly enjoy your column. I have also noticed that you and Keith Caulfield are collaborating on Billboard's Chart Beat column - nice job, both of you!

I have been a fan of Trisha Yearwood since I heard "She's in Love With the Boy" for the first time. I've bought every CD she's released, including a couple of imports containing songs unavailable in the U.S.

At one point, it seemed that Trisha enjoyed at least one major hit per album, and often more. Now, even her best songs rarely make it to the top 20 on Hot Country Songs. Have her album sales declined, as well? I'm especially interested in the figures of her latest original album, which I thought was one of her strongest yet.

Thanks so much, and thanks for such a great column!

Tommy Marx
Greensboro, North Carolina

Hi Tommy,

Thank you for reading Ask Billboard and Chart Beat. Glad you're enjoying them both!

I, too, am a Trisha Yearwood fan and agree that her most recent album, "Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love," ranks among her best. I thought the cut "Cowboys Are My Weakness" could have been a big country hit had it been released as a single. It's so catchy, with a unique melody and clever lyrics ("A little bit of outlaw / A little bit of Jesus / Cowboys are my weakness").

Mrs. Garth Brooks' first two albums in 1991 and 1992 each produced four top 20 hits, a feat she repeated just once more, in 1998-99. From 1991 through 1999, she charted 21 top 20 hits on Hot Country Songs, third-best among women in that span, trailing only Reba McEntire (33) and Patty Loveless (22). Five of those songs reached No. 1. This decade, Yearwood's notched six top 20 titles.

Still, every first single released from each of her 10 studio albums has reached the top 20, including the title cut from "Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love." The song reached No. 19 in 2007.

On the Top Country Albums chart, Yearwood has been remarkably consistent. Nine of her studio albums have reached the top 10; she missed only with the No. 12-peaking "Hearts in Armor" in 1992. In fact, she's enjoyed her biggest successes on the album tally this decade, when she's earned both of her No. 1 studio albums: "Inside Out" (2001) and "Jasper County" (2005). (She scored her first and only other chart-topper with the retrospective "Songbook (A Collection of Hits)" in 1997.

Here is a look at the sales of Yearwood's studio sets, according to Nielsen SoundScan:

"Trisha Yearwood" (1991), 1,727,000
"Hearts in Armor" (1992), 999,000
"The Song Remembers When" (1993), 686,000
"Thinkin' About You" (1995), 567,000
"Everybody Knows" (1996), 360,000
"Where Your Road Leads" (1998), 692,000
"Real Live Woman" (2000), 378,000
"Inside Out" (2001), 434,000
"Jasper County" (2005), 481,000
"Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love" (2007), 180,000

Her best-seller is "Songbook (A Collection of Hits)," which has shifted 2,936,000 units. Her entire catalog totals 10,156,000 in sales.

You can hear the two-time Country Music Assn. Female Vocalist of the Year's most recent work on Chris Isaak's new album, "Mr. Lucky." The two duet on "Breaking Apart." Isaak wrote the song with Diane Warren, whose enormous catalog of hit songs includes two top 10s on Hot Country Songs for Yearwood: "How Do I Live" and "I'll Still Love You More."

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