RETURN OF THE KING: The late King of Pop makes a triumphant return to Billboard's charts.
While "Michael" arrives at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 behind Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" (2-1) and Susan Boyle's "The Gift" (1-2), Michael Jackson's posthumous set claims top honors on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
The album is Jackson's eighth No. 1 on the R&B/hip-hop album tally:
Peak Year, Title, Weeks at No. 1
1979, "Off the Wall," 16
1983, "Thriller," 37 (the longest reign in the chart's 45-year history)
1987, "Bad," 18
1992, "Dangerous," 12
1995, "HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book 1," two
2001, "Invincible," four
2009, "Michael Jackson's This Is It" (soundtrack), four
2011, "Michael," one
Jackson ups his total to 94 cumulative weeks atop R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, the most among solo acts. Only the Temptations (109) have spent more time at the summit. Jackson has spent an additional 39 weeks at No. 1 with five leading albums as a member of the Jackson 5.
The arrival of "Michael" spurs a 65-39 jump on the Billboard Hot 100 for the set's first radio single "Hold My Hand," with Akon. The song is Jackson's 38th top 40 hit on the Hot 100, breaking a tie with Neil Diamond. Among male artists, Jackson trails only Elvis Presley (80), Elton John (57), Stevie Wonder (46), James Brown (44), Marvin Gaye (41), Lil Wayne (41; see below) and Frankie Valli (39) for most top 40 charted titles among solo males.
"Hold My Hand" is Jackson's first song to ascend to the Hot 100's top 40 since "Butterflies" took flight to No. 14 in January 2002. With the new track's advance, Jackson becomes the first artist to reach the top 40 on the Hot 100 in each of the '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s and '10s.
The song also grants Jackson the longest span of top 40 hits on the Hot 100. At 39 years and two months, Jackson passes the 38-year, one-month span of top 40 placements logged by Santana.
Here is a look at three most impressive spans of appearing in the top 40 in the Hot 100's 52-year history:
"Got to Be There," 89-39, Nov. 6, 1971
"Hold My Hand," featuring Akon, 65-39, Jan. 1, 2011
39 years, two months
"Evil Ways," 61-40, Feb. 7, 1970
"Into the Night," featuring Chad Kroeger, 36-40, March 8, 2008
38 years, one month
"Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody," 43-39, Nov. 25, 1961
"A Rose Is Still a Rose," 33-34, May 16, 1998
36 years, five months, three weeks
'SEX' SELLS: Jackson collaborator Akon makes additional headlines atop Comedy Digital Tracks, as Lonely Island's "I Just Had Sex," featuring Akon, debuts at No. 1. The song's video premiered on "Saturday Night Live" Dec. 18.
Lonely Island consists of "Saturday Night Live" cast member Andy Samberg and writer Akiva Schaffer, plus Jorma Taccone. The troupe previously led Comedy Digital Tracks for 45 weeks with "I'm on a Boat."
"To be honest, I'm surprised she even wanted me to do it," confesses a rapping Samberg in the trio's new No. 1. "Best 30 seconds of my life!"
Another TV show impacts Comedy Digital Tracks. The "Family Guy" cast's "All I Really Want for Christmas" begins at No. 25. The song premiered on the series' holiday episode, "Road to the North Pole," Dec. 12.
THERE AIN'T NOTHING WRONG WITH THE 'RADIO': Reba McEntire collects her 24th No. 1 on Country Songs, as "Turn On the Radio" rises 2-1. McEntire trails only Dolly Parton (25) for most No. 1s among women in the chart's 67-year history.
With this week's Billboard charts dated Jan. 1 (what better date to lead a survey than 1/1/11?), McEntire scores the first Country Songs No. 1 of 2011. She notched 2010's first leader, "Consider Me Gone."
Davis is the mother of Lady Antebellum co-lead singer Hillary Scott.
P!nk ties Daughtry, matchbox twenty, Rob Thomas (solo) and Train for second-most No. 1s among all acts dating the chart's March 16, 1996, launch. Only Nickelback (five) has more leading tracks.
Perry could again tie P!nk for most Adult Pop Songs toppers among women. "Firework," the follow-up to Perry's No. 1s "California Gurls" and "Teenage Dream," shoots 11-8 as the chart's Greatest Gainer.
YES, WE HAVE 'BANANA': Lil Wayne bounds onto the Hot 100 at No. 9 with "6 Foot 7 Foot," featuring Cory Gunz.
(Chart Beat reader Pablo Nelson of Berkeley, Calif., notes that Gunz adds to an already explosive top 10 featuring "Firework" at No. 1 and Bruno Mars' "Grenade" at No. 2).
Lil Wayne's new track samples the "6 foot 7 foot" lyric and melody of the Jamaican folk song "Banana Boat (Day-O)/the Banana Boat Song."
The traditional composition appears on the Hot 100 for the first time. Six versions of "Banana Boat (Day-O)/the Banana Boat Song" reached the top 25 of multiple Billboard charts in 1957, with Harry Belafonte's rendition rising the highest (No. 5) on the Hot 100's predecessor chart, the Top 100.