Billboard has lifted a ban on including catalogue tracks on the Hot 100, which has allowed several Whitney Houston tracks to re-enter this week.
Previously catalogue or recurrent tracks were not allowed to appear in the Hot 100, irrespective of their sales or airplay performance, so freeing up space for contemporary releases. But, with a number of Houston’s s tracks selling very strongly on download in the wake of her death, Billboard has decided to re-write the chart rules so if a catalogue track has sold enough copies to appear in the Top 50 of the chart it will now be allowed to do so.
As a result I Will Always Love You, which originally spent a record 14 weeks at number one between 1992 and 1993, re-enters at number seven after selling 195,000 downloads, while 1987 chart-topper I Wanna Dance With Somebody returns at 35 and Greatest Love Of All at 41. There is a good chance they will be joined by other Houston titles next week as sales for this week’s Hot 100 only went up to last Sunday, the day it was announced she had died aged 48.
This is not the first time Billboard has changed its chart rules as a result of the death of a big star. It ran into controversy when Michael Jackson died in June 2009 as rules then in place for the Billboard 200 albums chart excluded albums two or more years old from charting once they had dropped out. This meant a number of Jackson titles were not listed. These included the retrospective Number Ones, which was the biggest-selling album in the US in the wake of Jackson’s death but was not listed on the main albums chart because it was a catalogue title. That November the rules were re-written so all albums became eligible for the Billboard 200 chart, however old.