Ask Billboard: They Are Women, Hear Them 'Roar'

A look at eras in which female vocals have dominated the Hot 100, plus Drake's latest achievement and Kelly Clarkson's career sales

As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20

DRAKE'S PERFECT AT-TEN-DANCE

Hi Gary,

How about some Hot 100 trivia regarding Drake? Especially, his and other artists' endurance in appearing in the top 10. It's a category that I've long been intrigued by: acts that have peaked at each position of the Hot 100's top 10.

Of the numerous artists to have scored a dozen or more top 10s, e.g., the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Rihanna (who ups her Top 10 status this week), etc., only four had accomplished the peculiar feat of having peaked at each of Nos. 1-10: Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Madonna and Ludacris (the latter three also having peaked at No. 11). Now, Canadian rapper/singer Drake has joined the ranks, assuming that "Hold On, We're Going Home" (featuring Majid Jordan) doesn't reverse course and rise higher than No. 4.

Allow me to run down each artist's top 10 accomplishments.
 
Beginning with the 1963 No. 10 peak of "Pride and Joy," Gaye tallied his 18th and final top 10 with his sole No. 3, perhaps the only consolation that 1982's "Sexual Healing" didn't go to No. 1. Same for the No. 2 peak of the classic "What's Going On." That is to say, I wish "What's Going On" had gone to No. 1, but by it having peaked at the runner-up position, its peak helped Gaye achieve the "occupy-all-10" feat.

Franklin became the second member of the club between 1967 and 1974, from the No. 9-peaking of "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" through "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)." She totals 17 top 10 hits, capping with the No. 1 George Michael duet "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" in 1987. "Respect" was her first No. 1, 20 years earlier.

Madonna's top 10 history started with 1984's No. 10 "Borderline." In 1995, she filled out her top 10 resume's lone vacant spot, No. 6, with "You'll See." It's her only No 6 hit, just as 1991's "Rescue Me" is her only No. 9-peaking song. Her 38 top 10s are the most among all artists.

More about Madonna: 1998's "The Power of Good-Bye" became her sole No. 11, akin to Aretha's sole – soul? – No. 11, 1970's "Don't Play That Song" (with the Dixie Flyers). Regarding Madonna's first visit to the top tier resulting in a No. 10 peak, so did her most recent one, last year's "Give Me All Your Luvin'," featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.

Meanwhile, Ludacris managed to peak at each top 10 position, from 2002's "Move B***h," featuring Mystikal and Infamous 2.0 (No. 10) through his featured turn on Jason Aldean's No. 7 hit "Dirt Road Anthem" in 2011 (Luda's most recent top 10). The rapper has 18 top career top 10s.

Now, another rap artist, Drake, has gained admittance to this notable crew. In fact, whether as a lead, co-billed or featured artist, he's even set a record for the fastest amount of time in which an act has peaked at each top 10 rank. Besting Franklin, who did so in six years, nine months and three weeks, Drake accomplished the honor in just four years, three months and one week. He first reached the top 10 with the No. 2 hit "Best I Ever Had" in 2009.

Other notes about acts familiar with the Hot 100's top tier: the Beatles lack a No. 9 peak, although John Lennon peaked at No. 9 with the perfectly titled "#9 Dream" and Ringo Starr did so with "Back Off Boogaloo." Stevie Wonder is missing only a No. 6 hit; Elton John lacks a No. 10; the Beach Boys haven't peaked at Nos. 4 and 10; Chicago, Nos. 2 and 8; Elvis Presley, Nos. 7 and 10; Michael Jackson, Nos. 8 and 9 (including chart entries with his brothers in the Jackson 5); and, the Rolling Stones can say "miss you" only to a No. 4 peak.

In terms of artists which could be most likely to achieve an all-top 10 peak performance, perhaps Taylor Swift, who's missing only a No. 5 hit; Rihanna (Nos. 4 and 10); Lil Wayne (Nos. 2 and 4); or Jay Z (No. 9).

Or, some other consis-TEN-t charter.

Pablo Nelson
Oakland, California

Thanks as always, Pablo, for your at-TEN-tion to chart details.

Ultimately, the feats of Drake and the other artists who've peaked at each position in the Hot 100's top 10 point to incredible catalogs of hits. That Drake has joined the list (with the aid of featured turns, a byproduct of the modern rap era) and so quickly puts his place among Hot 100 hitmakers in notable perspective.

In addition to your guesses as to who might go on to boast hits that peak at each rank in the Hot top 10, Mariah Carey has, amazingly, peaked in the top five with all but one of her 27 top 10s. Her most recent, 2009's "Obsessed," reached No. 7. And, a full two-thirds of those (18 of 27) hit No. 1.

Janet Jackson's top 10 record is incredibly similar, with all but three of her 27 top 10s having reached top five (with 10 having hit No. 1). Jackson peaked at No. 8 with "You Want This"/"70's Love Groove" (1994) and No. 10 with the Luther Vandross duet "The Best Things in Life Are Free," with BBD and Ralph Tresvant (1992), and "Because of Love" (1994).

Meanwhile, with 12 top 10s, Lady Gaga has yet to peak at only Nos. 7, 8 and 9, with her new "Applause" having become her first No. 4 hit. Perhaps further songs from "ARTPOP" – due tomorrow (Nov. 11) – can add her to the list of acts with peaks at every spot in the Hot 100's top 10.

And, as noted in this week's "Chart Moves" recap, Gaga's "Applause" spends its 12th week in the Hot 100's top 10 (7-10), encompassing its entire chart life. That marks her longest such streak for a top 10-debuting song; 2011's "Born This Way" spent its first nine frames in the top 10.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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