Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

Does Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me" having reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 (Jan. 29) gain her entrance to the list of artists who've hit No. 1 in three decades?

How many artists have achieved that honor?


Roderic David
New York, New York

Hi Roderic,

As readers choose sides between Lady Gaga's just-released "Born This Way" and Spears' latest dance/pop smash, Spears is one of just seven artists to top the Hot 100 in three decades.

Here's the elite list:

'90s, '00s, '10s
Britney Spears


'80s, '90s, '00s
Janet Jackson

'70s, '80s, '90s
Michael Jackson
Elton John
(*Billboard includes Dionne (Warwick) & Friends' 1986 No. 1 "That's What Friends Are For" among John's solo chart history)

'60s, '70s, '80s
Stevie Wonder

Additional acts belong in the discussion. The Beatles banked 18 of their record 20 No. 1s in the '60s and their last two leaders in 1970. George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, however, all topped the Hot 100 as solo acts in the '70s and '80s. Thus, while not under the same billing throughout, the three singers did score No. 1s in three decades if we combine their group and solo careers.

The same goes for the Supremes (12 No. 1s in the '60s) and Diana Ross solo (six in the '70s and '80s).

And, Cher charted three No. 1s in the '70s and one ("Believe") in the '90s. Adding Sonny & Cher's 1965 No. 1 "I Got You Babe," she also qualifies when mixing group and solo chart histories.

(Elvis Presley narrowly missed authoring a three-decade No. 1 stretch. "A Big Hunk O' Love" reigned in 1959 and six of his songs did so in the '60s. His last leader, "Suspicious Minds," topped the Nov. 1, 1969, Hot 100, thus leaving the King of Rock and Roll two months shy of a No. 1 streak spanning the '50s, '60s and '70s).

With the '10s still young, 10 other acts could join Spears and Usher in collecting No. 1s in each decade beginning with the '90s.

Janet Jackson and Madonna are both one 2011-19 leader away from admission to the excusive club, as the icons are the only artists with No. 1s in the '80s, '90s and '00s. (A No. 1 in the next nine years would also make either singer the first to command the list in four decades).

With Hot 100-topping titles in the '90s and '00s, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Destiny's Child (currently inactive), Diddy, Enrique Iglesias, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez and Santana (plus Rob Thomas/matchbox twenty combined) could also each run their No. 1 streaks to three consecutive decades with a No. 1 anytime before the Hot 100 to be dated Jan. 4, 2020.