The Year in Chart Headlines, Part 1
From the arrival of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" to the "Glee" cast's toppling of a King (of Rock & Roll) to Katy Perry matching an achievement by another King (of Pop), 2011 brought several notable chart records. In part one of Chart Beat's look back at the biggest Billboard chart headlines of the year, we recall the top highlights of January through June.
On the first Billboard Hot 100 of '11, Michael Jackson 's "Hold My Hand," featuring Akon, roared 65-39, granting the late King of Pop the longest span of top 40 hits in the chart's 52-year history. At 39 years and two months, Jackson passed the 38-year, one-month span of top 40 hits logged by Santana. Jackson first reached the top 40 as a solo act the week of Nov. 6, 1971, when "Got to Be There" rocketed 50 spots to No. 39. (He had already banked seven top 40 entries with the Jackson 5 by then).
Lady Gaga scored the landmark 1,000th No. 1 in the Hot 100's history, as "Born This Way" blasted in at the summit. The song arrived by setting the marks for highest audience total (78.5 million, according to Nielsen BDS) for a debuting title and opened as the best-selling first-week download (448,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan) by a female artist. "I'm humbled and overwhelmed at the reception to 'Born This Way'," Lady Gaga told Billboard. "Between Billboard and the radio numbers, I couldn't be more blessed to have the fans I have."
The same week, the "Glee" cast dethroned the King of Rock and Roll for most Hot 100 entries. Despite having first graced the chart as recently as June 2009, the Fox TV troupe passed Elvis Presley's 108 appearances. (Presley's career predated the Hot 100's 1958 launch; he had scaled numerous Hot 100 predecessor song charts beginning in 1956). To-date, the cast's Hot 100 haul stands at 179 charted titles.
Lady Gaga's "The Fame" became the first album to spend 100 weeks at No. 1 on Dance/Electronic Albums, eventually tallying 106 frames in charge. With the chart having launched June 30, 2001, "The Fame" has reigned for 20% of the list's history. The set first reached summit the week of Nov. 15, 2008. Gnarls Barkley's "St. Elsewhere" ranks second with 39 weeks at No. 1 in 2006-07.
Gnarls Barkley member Cee Lo Green 's "F**k You (Forget You)" reached the Pop Songs radio airplay chart pinnacle in its 25th week, completing the longest journey to the summit in the ranking's 18-year history. The song passed the 23-week climb to No. 1 for P!nk's "U + Ur Hand" in 2006-07. "The key was that 'F**k You' never stopped selling, so we couldn't just walk away," Roadrunner Records senior VP/promotion Mike Easterlin told Billboard. "I am proud of our staff for never giving up (and) we're thankful to radio."
For the third time in four weeks, the lead for the most No. 1s in the history of Pop Songs changed hands, as Rihanna 's "S&M" whipped 2-1 to become her record eighth topper on the tally. The coronation broke a tie with Lady Gaga and P!nk. The three-way deadlock between the female superstars didn't last long. Lady Gaga had notched her seventh No. 1, "Born This Way," two weeks earlier. That track had displaced P!nk's "F**kin' Perfect," which had reigned the prior two weeks.
Despite a fall to No. 2 for "E.T.," featuring Kanye West, Katy Perry rewrote the record for most consecutive weeks - 49 - in the Hot 100's top 10. Perry passed Ace of Base, which logged 48 straight weeks in the top tier in 1993-94. Perry eventually upped her streak to 69 weeks, courtesy of next smash "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)."
Taylor Swift had the last laugh on the brand of critic she skewers in her Country Songs top 10 "Mean." When the song lifted 12-9, Swift had reached the chart's top 10 with all 13 of her singles (excluding holiday fare) promoted to country radio. She joined Carrie Underwood as the only women to begin their chart histories with as many consecutive top 10s dating to the survey's 1944 launch. Prior to the pair, Connie Smith had held the record among women with 12 straight career-opening Country Songs top 10 singles in 1964-68. (Swift and Underwood have each since extended their career-opening top 10 streaks on Country Songs to 14).
After winning the 10th season of "American Idol" May 25, Scotty McCreery burst onto Country Songs at No. 32 with coronation track "I Love You This Big." The bow marked the highest launch for a brand new artist's first single since the chart converted to BDS data the week of Jan. 20, 1990. Among new artists (unaccompanied by established acts), another musical reality program champion previously held the mark for highest Country Songs launch on an initial try. Brad Cotter, winner of the second season of "Nashville Star," charged in at No. 42 with "I Meant To" the week of May 22, 2004.
By debuting (at No. 100) on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Adele 's "Rolling in the Deep" became the first song by a solo female to have appeared on that survey and Rock Songs, where it reached No. 15. As the multi-format smash also topped the Hot 100, Adult Pop Songs, Adult Contemporary and Triple A and appeared on Dance Airplay and even Latin Pop Songs, it's no surprise that "Deep" earned the honor of Billboard's top song of the year and parent set "21" went on to become Billboard's top album of 2011.
Michael Jackson bookended 2011's first-half chart highlights, leading Dance/Club Play Songs for the first time in almost 16 years with "Hollywood Tonight." With the rise, the late King of Pop collected his eighth solo No. 1 on the survey, then-tying him with Enrique Iglesias for most leaders among men in the chart's 35-year history.