John Legend takes over the Billboard Hot 100 at last, as his piano ballad "All of Me" unseats Pharrell Williams' "Happy," which reigned for 10 weeks. Meanwhile, Ariana Grande blasts in at No. 3 with "Problem" (featuring rap newcomer Iggy Azalea), which narrowly misses bowing at No. 1 itself. The song is one of two that Azalea places in the top five, as her "Fancy" (featuring Charli XCX) flies 7-4.
With so much action packed into this week's Hot 100, and the top for spots alone, let's dig in to the bevy of numbers behind the chart's upper ranks, as we do each Wednesday. (I.e., make yourself comfortable for this one.)
Legend's coronation is noteworthy on so many levels that let's break down the highlights one at a time:
And the winner is …: Legend by a nose! "All of Me" beats out "Happy" with a mere .009 percent higher points total. ("All" actually drops by 6 percent in overall points, while "Happy" decreases by 11 percent.) Legend, who'd spent six weeks at No. 2 below Williams, wins the tightest race for a new No. 1 over No. 2 since Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" replaced Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" by a slightly narrower margin on the Feb. 18, 2012, chart. (Read on to see how close Grande's "Problem" came to debuting at No. 1 this week.)
At last, part one: Legend collects his first Hot 100 No. 1 almost 10 years to the week of his first appearance on the chart (May 22, 2004). That's the longest wait for an act's first No. 1 (from a first chart appearance) since Snoop Dogg waited 10 years and 10 months before finally leading with "Drop it Like It's Hot" (featuring Williams) on the Oct. 2, 2004, chart. (The record? Santana spanned almost exactly 30 years between the group's first Hot 100 visit with "Jingo" (Oct. 25, 1969) and its first No. 1, "Smooth" (featuring Rob Thomas), which began its 12-week command on the Oct. 23, 1999, chart.)
At last, part two: "All of Me" reaches the top of the Hot 100 in its 30th week, marking the third-longest climb to No. 1 in the chart's 55-year history. Los Del Rio's "Macarena'" took 33 weeks (1995-96), while Lonestar's "Amazed" needed 31 (1999-2000). Like those two songs, "All" has logged a non-continuous route to the top; it debuted on the Sept. 21, 2013 chart, then departed after its first frame; re-entered on Oct. 26 and stayed on the next week; then, after one more week away, it's placed on the chart continuously since Nov. 16.
Still, "All" completes the longest ascent to No. 1 for a song over one release cycle. "Macarena" ruled only once its Bayside Boys remix, released in 1996, gave new life to the song, which had peaked at No. 45 in its first run in late 1995; "Amazed" hit the top of the Hot 100 after a two-month break, in between its run at country radio and its subsequent crossover (and label promotion) to pop and adult formats.
Label love: Speaking of record labels, Legend and Williams are both Columbia Records releases. When had the label last notched back-to-back Hot 100 No. 1s? February 2000, when Mariah Carey's "Thank God I Found You," featuring Joe and 98 Degrees, replaced Savage Garden's "I Knew I Loved You."
Keys to success: And, while no Hot 100 No. 1s featured only vocals and piano for the chart's first 53 years, three have done so since: Adele's "Someone Like You" (2011), Bruno Mars' "When I Was Your Man" (2013) and now "All." ("All has also been powered by its uptempo Tiesto remix, which many pop radio stations are favoring.) Trace the history of hit piano ballads on the Hot 100 in this analysis from when Mars reached No. 1 last year.
Stats-wise on this week's Hot 100, "All of Me" reaches No. 1 despite drops in the chart's three metrics (airplay, sales and streaming). It rules the Radio Songs chart for a second week (193 million audience impressions, down 2 percent, according to Nielsen BDS); holds at its No. 2 peak on Streaming Songs (7.6 million U.S. streams, down 2 percent, according to BDS); and slips to No. 4 after eight weeks at its No. 2 highpoint on Digital Songs (161,000 downloads sold, down 14 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan). The track does, however, log a 1 percent gain to 2.8 million on-demand U.S. streams, yet drops 1-2 after five weeks atop On-Demand Songs.
"All of Me" concurrently takes over atop the sales/airplay/streaming-based Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, where it's also his first No. 1. Williams' "Happy" had led the list for 12 weeks.
On the Hot 100, Legend halts the 10-week domination of "Happy" (1-2). The latter song spends a third week at No. 1 on Streaming Songs (8.6 million, up 2 percent); stays at No. 2 on Radio Songs, which it led for eight weeks (163 million, down 15 percent); and falls 1-3 after 11 weeks atop Digital Songs (174,000, down 16 percent). Up next for Williams: Columbia has announced that "Come Get It Bae" will be the next single from his album "G I R L." The song goes to pop, rhythmic and R&B/hip-hop radio on May 20.
After all this news about two male artists in the Hot 100's top two spots, the next two rankings belong to women: Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea (ok, three, including Charli XCX).
Grande rockets onto the Hot 100 at No. 3 with "Problem" (featuring Azalea), which instantly becomes each act's highest-ranking hit. Grande had previously charted as high as No. 9 with her debut, "The Way," featuring Mac Miller, last year. (Keep reading for more on Azalea.)
As previously reported, "Problem" earns the eighth-largest debut ever for a download, as it starts at No. 1 on Digital Songs with 438,000 sold. It's also the biggest arrival for a song this year, and the best sum since Katy Perry's "Roar" debuted with 557,000 (Aug. 31, 2013). "Problem" additionally splashes onto Streaming Songs at No. 9 (4.4 million), while just missing entering Radio Songs (24 million).
(UPDATED: Incredibly, "Problem" almost nabs the top spot on the Hot 100: it boasts just a 1.3 percent lower points total than "All of Me.")
Still, a No. 3 debut for "Problem" nabs it a piece of Hot 100 history: it's the highest-ever debut for a collaboration of only female soloists. It bests the No. 13 (Super Bowl-aided) debut of Madonna's "Give Me All Your Luvin'," featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I. A. (Feb. 18, 2012). ("Problem" is the top starter of 2014 and highest since Eminem's "The Monster," featuring Rihanna, also began at No. 3 on the Nov. 16, 2013 chart.)
Now, more Azalea (who's blooming in springtime, naturally). The Australian rapper charges 7-4 on the Hot 100 with her first Hot 100 hit, "Fancy," which triples up with top Sales, Streaming and Airplay honors. The song roars 6-2 on Digital Songs (221,000, up 104 percent), 8-4 on Streaming Songs (6.6 million, up 59 percent) and 35-14 on Radio Songs (55 million, up 48 percent), while surging to the top of the subscription services-based On-Demand Songs chart (5-1; 3 million, up 57 percent). As previously reported, Azalea becomes only the sixth artist to occupy the top two slots of Digital Songs at the same time.
On the Hot 100, how rare is it for a female artist to place her first two Hot 100 hits in the top five simultaneously? Azalea is just the third to achieve the feat: Ashanti did so on the March 30, 2002 chart courtesy of her featured turns on Ja Rule's "Always on Time" and Fat Joe's "What's Luv?," while music fans of a certain age might recall that Dee Dee Sharp doubled up in the top five in her first two Hot 100 visits: with Chubby Checker on "Slow Twistin' " and her "Mashed Potato Time" for three weeks in April 1962. Azalea is also the first female rapper ever to double up in the Hot 100's top five.
With the jump for "Fancy," Charli XCX also claims her best Hot 100 rank. She reached No. 7 a year ago with her sole prior chart entry, Icona Pop's "I Love It," on which she's featured.
With so many highlights in the Hot 100's top four (and in fear of stretching Billboardbiz bandwidth any further), let's quickly run down the rest of the more stable top 10. Katy Perry's former four-week No. 1 "Dark Horse," featuring Juicy J, drops 3-5; Jason Derulo's No. 3-peaking "Talk Dirty," featuring 2 Chainz, slides 4-6; and DJ Snake and Lil Jon's "Turn Down for What" regresses to No. 7 from its No. 5 peak. It crowns Hot Dance/Electronic Songs for a sixth week.
Justin Timberlake's "Not a Bad Thing" returns to its No. 8 Hot 100 peak (9-8); Idina Menzel's No. 5 hit "Let It Go" falls 6-9, as its parent album, the soundtrack to Disney's "Frozen," notches a 13th week atop the Billboard 200; and Bastille's "Pompeii" descends 8-10 while leading Hot Rock Songs for a 12th week. It peaked at No. 5 on the Hot 100 for three weeks.
Visit Billboardbiz tomorrow (May 8), when all rankings, including the Hot 100, Digital Songs, Radio Songs, Streaming Songs and On-Demand Songs will refresh, as they do each Thursday. The latest charts will also appear in the next issue of Billboard magazine (on sale on Friday, May 9).