Adult Programming Boosts Pop Vets

Reuters, Dec 20, 2003 3:41 pm PST
The year 2003 marks a time in popular music where many adult artists were banished to the confines of adult contemporary radio.

The format gave the primary support to such mainstays as Phil Collins , Celine Dion and Faith Hill , who have all posted huge hits at top 40 in the past.

Among adult top 40 artists, meanwhile, Matchbox Twenty may have felt "Unwell" in 2003, but the Atlantic group certainly had a healthy year. Its song "Unwell" is the No. 1 song of 2003 on the year-end Adult Top 40 Titles chart. The song is also one of the year's biggest multi-format hits, scoring at mainstream top 40 and AC.

The song, from the Atlantic album "More Than You Think You Are," also helps make Matchbox Twenty the top adult top 40 act of the year. The enduring group, led by singer/songwriter Rob Thomas , is currently on a major U.S. tour.


Collins ranks as the top artist of the year in the recap of the Adult Contemporary Artists chart, thanks to three hits, led by "Can't Stop Loving You" from his Atlantic album "Testify." That song runs in the same vein as his Oscar-winning "You'll Be in My Heart" from the movie "Tarzan," which was the No. 1 AC song of the year in 2000.

"Can't Stop," which has been on the weekly chart for more than a year, is the runner-up song on the year's Adult Contemporary Titles chart, behind "The Game of Love" by Santana and Michelle Branch .

Dion is the year's No. 2 AC artist. Her single "A New Day Has Come" was No. 2 on the AC recap in 2002; the past year she charted six AC hits. Of those, one appears on the year-end AC chart: her signature ballad "Have You Ever Been in Love." It ranks at No. 8 for the year.

Hill, whose success at AC this year surpassed her chart prowess at top 40 and country, is the No. 3 singles artist in the format. The title track from her Warner Bros. disc "Cry" is No. 6 on the AC titles recap.

Newcomer Vanessa Carlton is the year's No. 4 AC artist, thanks to the enduring appeal of "A Thousand Miles," a formidable hit at mainstream and adult top 40 radio. The song finishes for 2003 at No. 4 on the AC title tally.

Carlton also places as a guest artist on Counting Crows' remake of "Big Yellow Taxi," the year's No. 13 AC song and No. 9 adult top 40 track. Carlton's sophomore album on A&M;/Interscope is expected in early 2004.

The fifth most popular AC artist is Santana, thanks to "The Game of Love," which already has spent more than a year on the weekly chart, in addition to his success at mainstream and adult top 40 radio. Arista continues to work singles from Santana's "Shaman" album as the new year begins.

Uncle Kracker Featuring Dobie Gray pulls off the year's most surprising feat on the AC chart. The remake of "Drift Away" set a new record for the most weeks at No. 1 -- 25 -- squashing Dion's record set in 2002 for "A New Day Has Come" at 21 weeks.

"Drift Away" finishes for the year at No. 3 on the AC recap, garnering Lava artist Kracker the No. 10 AC artist-of-the-year spot.

The song is also the No. 2 hit for the year at adult top 40, earning Uncle Kracker the No. 5 slot among the year's adult top 40 acts.

The biggest AC hit that also scored on top 40 is RCA singer Christina Aguilera 's "Beautiful." A No. 1 hit on the Hot 100, the song is the No. 5 AC song of the year.

At adult top 40, the runner-up to Matchbox Twenty as artist of the year is John Mayer . His four charted hits during 2003 included the No. 7 adult top 40 hit for the year, "Your Body Is a Wonderland." Mayer split his hits between his debut album -- the Grammy-winning "Room for Squares" -- and follow-up "Heavier Things."

3 Doors Down on Republic/Universal mimicked its Hot 100 success in the past year as the third-place adult top 40 artist, with "When I'm Gone" ranking at No. 4 on the year's adult top 40 recap. The group ended the year with the release of its live EP, "Another 700 Miles."

Like the other top five artists on adult top 40 radio, Avril Lavigne finishes with more than one song in the year-end recap and parallel success at mainstream top 40. Her biggest, "I'm With You," is the No. 6 adult top 40 song of the year. La-vigne is currently in the studio working on her second album for Arista, again with hit-making production team the Matrix.

Aside from his AC success, Santana finishes 2003 with two songs in the top 10 at adult top 40: "The Game of Love," with Michelle Branch, at No. 8, and "Why Don't You & I," with Alex Band or Chad Kroeger , at No. 10. Branch also charts with the Maverick/Warner Bros. release "Are You Happy Now?," which is No. 14 for the year.

Newcomer Jason Mraz also completes the chart year with a song in the top 10 at adult top 40, with "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)," No. 5, helping earn him a place as the No. 8 artist of the year on the format.

Counting Crows, with its comeback remake of "Big Yellow Taxi" featuring Carlton, round out the top 10, at No. 9 on the adult top 40 artist recap.


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