Bette Midler Bootleg Betty

The Midler/Raitt Connection

There’s a connection between two albums that debut on The Billboard 200 this week – a fragile connection, but a connection nevertheless.

Bette Midler has her highest-ranking title in 12 years, as “Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook” (Columbia) enters at No. 14. Midler hasn’t been this far up the chart since “Some People’s Lives” peaked at No. 6 in January 1991. Produced by her old compatriot Barry Manilow, Midler’s latest album features remakes of songs made famous by the legendary Clooney, who passed away on June 29, 2002.

One of Clooney’s biggest hits interpreted by Midler is “Hey There,” which spent six weeks at No. 1 in 1954. “Hey There” is from the Broadway musical “The Pajama Game,” which starred John Raitt.

Also debuting on this week’s Billboard album chart is the latest release by John Raitt’s daughter. “The Best of Bonnie Raitt 1989-2003” collects Bonnie’s hits on the Capitol label. After a long stint on Warner Bros., Bonnie moved over to Capitol in 1989 with the “Nick of Time” album, which spent three weeks at No. 1.

(Bette Midler’s version of “Hey There” will be featured on The Billboard Radio Countdown for the week ending Oct. 18, to be posted Monday (Oct. 13) on billboardradio.com.)

Fred Bronson

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