This past week, Usher entered atop the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with "Looking 4 Myself" and logged a 10th week at No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with "Climax."
Usher, famously, was instrumental in launching the career of Justin Bieber. After Scooter Braun became Bieber's manager, he invited Bieber to sing for Usher. The result? The then-13-year-old Bieber joined Usher and Braun's Raymond Braun Media Group and began his rapid ascent to pop culture prominence. Currently in the Billboard Hot 100's top 10 for a 12th week with former No. 2 hit "Boyfriend," Bieber is set to make the year's splashiest bow on this week's Billboard 200 with his third studio album, "Believe."
Now, Bieber can take partial credit for the No. 1 song on the Hot 100. His viral video (above) of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" - co-starring Selena Gomez and Ashley Tisdale, the clip has racked more than 43 million YouTube views - and an endorsement of the song to his more than 20 million Twitter followers helped propel the song up the chart and on its way to No. 1.
Big Shoutout to @ carlyraejepsen for getting her first #1 on BILLBOARD HOT 100!! SO PROUD!! CANADA STAND UP!!!
- Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) June 13, 2012
@ Justinbieber ... What can I say? I believe you when you say NEVER SAY NEVER! Thanks for believing in me. Really, really :)
- Carly Rae Jepsen (@carlyreajepson) June 14, 2012
("Big Shoutout to @carlyraejepsen for getting her first #1 on BILLBOARD HOT 100!! SO PROUD!! CANADA STAND UP!!!," Bieber Tweeted on June 13. "@justinbieber ... What can I say? I believe you when you say NEVER SAY NEVER! Thanks for believing in me. Really, really :)," Jepsen beamed back.)
From Usher to Bieber to Jepsen, an artist's influence can help other acts garner greater popularity. Stars throughout the rock era, in fact, have long used their high profiles to help sway public opinion favorably toward developing acts in which they believe.
Surely consumers trusted Diana Ross' taste when she introduced the Jackson 5 on Aug. 11, 1969, on the stage of California club The Daisy. With the quintet's debut album titled "Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5," co-opting a name like Ross' - singer of 12 Hot 100 No. 1s between 1964 and 1969 with the Supremes - the new group wasn't quite so unfamiliar, after all.
"He won me over the first time I saw him," Ross told Newsweek of Michael Jackson, as cited in former Chart Beat author Fred Bronson's invaluable "Billboard Book of Number One Hits." "I saw so much of myself as a child in Michael. He was performing all the time. That's the way I was.
"He could be my son."
In 1989, Garth Brooks arrived with his first Billboard chart entry, as "Much Too Young (to Feel This Damn Old)" climbed to No. 8 on Hot Country Songs, marking his first of 36 top 10s on the tally. Thanks to a memorable lyric, the song also helped spur the recording career of a rodeo cowboy.
"A worn-out tape of Chris LeDoux, lonely women and bad booze seem to be the only friends I've left at all," Brooks sings in the song. At the time, country music fans might not have been too aware of LeDoux, as he'd placed just three titles on Hot Country Songs in 1979-80. None rose higher than No. 96 on the then-100-position chart.
LeDoux was, however, successful in his other career, becoming a collegiate and professional rodeo champion. After retiring from competition in 1980, he released a series of country albums independently, but none charted on Top Country Albums.
Brooks' hit helped LeDoux lasso widespread country music success at last. Rodeo fan Brooks (he even sent his single "Rodeo" to No. 3 on Hot Country Songs in 1991) successfully pushed for his label, Capitol, to sign LeDoux. His first album under the deal, "Western Underground," spent 54 weeks on Top Country Albums, rising to No. 36. Follow-up "Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy" gave LeDoux his first (and sole) Top Country Albums top 10 (No. 9), while the title cut likewise opened the gates for him to the Hot Country Songs top 10. Reaching No. 7 in 1992, the track features Brooks on backing vocals.
Brooks made one more very public ode to LeDoux following the latter's passing in 2004. His "Good Ride Cowboy" peaked at No. 3 on Hot Country Songs in 2005. "I knew if I ever recorded any kind of tribute to Chris, it would have to be up-tempo, happy ... a song like him ... not some slow, mournful song. He wasn't like that," Brooks told CMT.
"Chris was exactly what our heroes are supposed to be. He was a man's man. A good friend."
More recently, acts have employed multiple media, a la Bieber, when hoping to help another artist gain wider exposure. In an interview last year on pop radio station WRVW Nashville, Taylor Swift requested that the station play Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass." "I've been listening to it on repeat and I really freak my friends out because I can recite every single lyric to the rap," she boasted on-air (before bowing to DJ pressure and rapping a verse of the song).
In turn, Minaj later told pop station KIIS Los Angeles just how much Swift's impromptu campaigning helped the song soar to No. 3 on the Hot 100. "Swift did her little interview about 'Super Bass' and (it) took off. It's just really uncanny how all that stuff happens. We didn't plan it like that."
- Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) February 3, 2011
Also last year, Swift Tweeted that she was a "superfan" of the Civil Wars: "@CivilWars show. Belcourt Theatre. They RULE live!" By this February, the duo - John Paul White and Joy Williams - was taking home Grammy Awards for best folk album ("Barton Hollow") and best country duo/group performance. Swift and the twosome's collaboration "Safe & Sound," from the soundtrack "The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond," reached No. 30 in a 17-week chart run on the Hot 100 this year.
Civil Wars are grateful for Swift's support, as well as to Adele, for whom they've opened on tour. Civil Wars' reaction to Adele helping them reach new audiences? "We told her to stop using us to further her career," White joked at the Grammy Awards.
From Ross and Usher to Bieber and Swift, celebrity continues to sell.
Even other celebrities.