The four acts each boast multiple top 20 hits this week. Do they set a record? Plus, Selena & Celine's top hits and more
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SEEING DOUBLE: IGGY, ARIANA, SAM & CHARLI XCX
On this week's Billboard Hot 100 (dated Aug. 23), it jumps out at me that four acts each have at least two hits in the top 20.
As "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea, featuring Charli XCX, holds at No. 3, "Problem" by Ariana Grande, featuring Azalea, moves 5-6. That means that Azalea still has (her first) two hits in the Hot 100's upper tier. As Charli XCX rises 11-10 with her own hit "Boom Clap," she herself doubles up in the top 10.
Moreover, as "Bang Bang" by Jessie J, Grande and Nicki Minaj slips 6-9, Grande also doubles up in the top 10. Plus, Grande keeps at No. 18 with "Break Free," while Azalea passes her with a 19-15 jump for "Black Widow," featuring Rita Ora. So, Grande and Azalea both triple up in the top 20.
Unluckily for Sam Smith, Charli XCX pushes Disclosure's "Latch," featuring his vocals, 10-11. Thus, Smith just misses out on keeping his double-top 10 status for another week. But, hey, he still has two songs in the top 11!
Therefore, my question: Four artists each have multiple top 10 hits simultaneously in the Hot 100's top 20 … is that unprecedented?
I'll also note that these artists are all fairly new to the music scene, yet look at what they're accomplishing.
All the best,
The Isle of Wight, England (a foreign follower!)
Thanks for following the U.S. charts from afar! As several record label executives and radio programmers pointed out in our look at how so many hits by non-U.S. acts are currently ruling the Hot 100's upper ranks, the digital age has made foreign lands feel much closer.
As for the stat, Azalea, Grande, Charli XCX and Smith each boast at least two songs in the Hot 100's top 20 at the same time. Is it a record that four acts so double up at once?
No. In fact (and I didn't realize until researching), it's happened 12 times already this year, including four weeks featuring the quartet. Most recently before those four acts, Azalea and Smith shared the honor with Jason Derulo and Katy Perry (July 5). And, the week of June 7, five artists each doubled up in the top 20: Azalea, Derulo, Perry, Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake.
Most obviously, the proliferation of featured acts has made such simultaneous bunch-ups fairly common. Still, on April 13, 2013, five artists each charted two titles in the top 20, with four in lead roles: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Timberlake.
In researching the Hot 100's top 20 week-by-week beginning with its launch on Aug. 4, 1958, such groupings were extremely rare early on. As many as three acts each held two simultaneous top 20 ranks on Dec. 6 and 13, 1958: Tommy Edwards, Rick Nelson and Elvis Presley (Dec. 6 and 13, 1958). Even then, a caveat: two of those three did so via songs on the A and B sides of the same 45. (Edwards was the only artist of the three to chart with songs on separate single releases.)
For the next 35 years, however, no other trio of acts sent two titles apiece into the top 20 at the same time. The drought ended on Nov. 13, 1993, thanks to Toni Braxton ("Breathe Again," "Another Sad Love Song"), Mariah Carey ("Dreamlover," "Hero") and Janet Jackson ("Again," "If"). On Feb. 12, 1994, a new record was born when five acts did so: Carey, Jackson, Bryan Adams, Ace of Base and Salt-N-Pepa, and with all sporting lead credit. (Jackson edged into the group thanks to a 22-20 lift that week for "Because of Love," joining "Again," which fell 8-17.)
Still, five isn't a record. Neither is six, or seven. On the chart dated Jan. 15, 2005, in immense eight acts each placed two songs in the Hot 100's top 20: 50 Cent, Ashanti, Ciara, Destiny's Child, Lil Jon, Ludacris, T.I. and Usher. (None were at No. 1, however: that prestige belonged to Mario with "Let Me Love You.")
While an act, like Azalea, Charli XCX, Smith or new Billboard cover artist Grande, placing multiple songs in the top 20 at once is ultimately a sign of success, it could potentially spur a problem at radio. As stations like to separate songs by the same artists to avoid repetition, too much of any act could lead to a station backing off plays. Mostly, though, a station will gladly bend the rules if audience demand clearly exists. (The Beatles, after all, monopolized the Hot 100's entire top five on April 4, 1964.)
"There is no issue with more Ariana on Z100," WHTZ (Z100) New York program director Sharon Dastur says of spinning "Problem," "Bang Bang" and "Break Free." "We have all three songs in rotation.
"A hit is a hit."