It's hard to comprehend just how many musical achievements Rihanna has tied her name to prior to her 25th birthday on Wednesday (Feb. 20). Aside from the dozens of hit singles, the Barbadian superstar is responsible for some of the most memorable moments in pop culture over the past seven years, from sold-out arena tours to amazing (and controversial) collaborations to bold artistic choices that no fan could have anticipated. Rihanna is constantly innovating, one album, one single, and one day at a time, and love her or hate her, she should be celebrated for that.
In honor of Rih's 25th birthday, check out this breakdown of her 10 biggest music moments, from "Pon De Replay" to the #777tour. And after perusing this overview of her impossibly successful musical career, sound off on your favorite Rihanna moments in the comments below.
Rihanna Breaks Through with "Pon De Replay"
In 2004, 16-year-old Rihanna was an unsigned artist trying to catch the ear of the music world from her native country of Barbados. The highlight of her first demo tape was a reggae-infused dance track called "Pon De Replay," "play it again" in Rih's native Bajan Creole tongue. Rihanna auditioned the song in Jay-Z's Def Jam office and impressed him enough to score a deal. A year later, "Pon De Replay" ascended all the way to No. 2 on the Hot 100 and spent 12 weeks in the top 10. Ironically, when Jay-Z first heard "Replay," he feared, "when a song is this big, it's hard (for a new artist) to come back from."
"SOS" Marks Rihanna's First No. 1 Hit
In 2006, Rihanna followed up her debut album "Music of the Sun" with a new record titled "A Girl Like Me." It's first single was the thumping, "Tainted Love"-sampling dancepop song "SOS" which replaced Rihanna's reggae influence with a more traditional American club vibe. "SOS" went on to top the Hot 100 for three consecutive weeks, giving Rihanna her first No. 1 hit.
"Umbrella" Starts "Good Girl Gone Bad"'s String of Hits
Rihanna introduced 2007's "Good Girl Gone Bad," her third studio album, with one of her most critically acclaimed songs and biggest breakthrough hits. The famed "Umbrella" video found Rihanna strutting her new, edgily cut tresses and defiantly working a stylish black umbrella into her dance routine while she and her ensemble got poured on. The Jay-Z collab bested "SOS" by staying atop the Hot 100 for seven weeks and opened the door to a string of high profile hits from "Good Girl," including "Don't Stop the Music" and "Shut Up and Drive." Fans couldn't get enough and a year later, the album was reissued featuring two more No. 1 hits: "Disturbia" and "Take a Bow."