Clay AIken's 'Solitaire' / 'The Way' leads U.S. singles sales for seventh straight week
By Wade Paulsen, 05/07/2004
If Shakespeare had written about Clay Aiken instead of Richard III, we might have had the line, "Airplay! Airplay! My kingdom for some airplay!"
Clay, the American Idol 2 runner-up, continues to have the #1 single on the Nielsen SoundScan U.S. Singles Sales chart for the week ended May 2 with his two-sided hit 'Solitaire' / 'The Way.' This is the seventh straight week at #1 for Clay's second commercial single. The single also records its third straight week at #2 on the Nielsen SoundScan Canadian Singles Sales chart (all three weeks behind Usher's 'Yeah'), after spending three weeks at #1 (with 'Yeah' #2 each week).
However, on the airplay-driven Billboard Hot 100, 'Solitaire' -- which opened at #4 due to its huge sales -- has continued to slide. 'Solitaire' drops another 17 places to #97 on the Hot 100 in its seventh week -- and it does not place on ANY of Billboard's other airplay-driven charts, including the Adult Contemporary and the Adult Top 40 charts. So much for the theory that 'Solitaire' would gain traction on the charts after RCA's promotional people began working it.
Why is this single continuing to outsell everything else but generating no airplay? We think the album sales charts may offer a clue, since the top two artists in sales are rappers Eminem (through his D12 band) and Usher -- both of whom feature sex-and-profanity-driven lyrics on the opposite side of the cultural divide from Clay's songs. Usher's songs also dominate the airplay charts. Meanwhile, Clay has been "typecast" by radio as a 2004 version of the Osmonds.
However, Clay's strong sales numbers have continued to provide new recording opportunities for him. In the latest, his performance of 'Proud of Your Boy' -- a song written for but cut from the 1992 Disney movie Aladdin -- will be featured on Disney's upcoming two-DVD set of Aladdin, which is scheduled for release on October 5.
The ballad, written by the Oscar-winning team of the late Howard Ashman (lyrics) and Alan Menken (music), was cut from the movie when former Disney animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg (now head of DreamWorks) rejected the movie's original story treatment and cut the character of Aladdin's mother -- to whom Aladdin was supposed to direct the song. Since Ashman died from AIDS before he was able to compose lyrics for the revised treatment, this song represents one of his final efforts.
We hope that the announcement of the song, which was timed for Mother's Day, gives Clay fans something to look forward to ... because unfortunately it doesn't seem like they'll be hearing Clay's new songs on the radio anytime soon.