For the third time in four weeks, the lead for the most No. 1s in the history of Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 chart changes hands, as Rihanna's "S&M" rises 2-1 to become her record eighth topper on the tally.
The coronation breaks Rihanna out of a tie with Lady Gaga and Pink for most No. 1s dating to the Nielsen BDS-based pop radio airplay ranking's Oct. 3, 1992, launch.
The three-way deadlock between the female superstars didn't last long. Lady Gaga notched her seventh No. 1, "Born This Way," two weeks ago. That track had displaced Pink's "F**kin' Perfect," which had reigned the prior two weeks.
(Rihanna also fell just shy of the summit with three titles that peaked at No. 2: her debut chart entry "Pon De Replay" in 2005; "Unfaithful" in 2006; and, "Umbrella, featuring Jay-Z, in 2007).
"S&M" propels Rihanna to the honor of most Mainstream Top 40 No. 1s after the song had already granted her the mark for most top 10s four weeks ago. The track is her 18th Pop Songs top 10; Mariah Carey ranks second with 17.
Here is a recap of Rihanna's unprecedented eight Mainstream Top 40 chart champions:
Year, Title, Weeks at No. 1
2006, "SOS" (one)
2008, "Take a Bow" (three)
2008, "Disturbia" (three)
2008, "Live Your Life" (two) (T.I. featuring Rihanna)
2010, "Rude Boy" (two)
2010, "Love the Way You Lie" (two) (Eminem featuring Rihanna)
2010, "Only Girl (In the World)" (three)
2011, "S&M" (one, to-date)
As previously reported, "S&M" last week became Rihanna's record-setting fifth consecutive No. 1 on the all-format Hot 100 Airplay chart, besting streaks of four each by Destiny's Child (2000-01) and Usher (2004).
Surely helping the song's future chart fortunes, Island Def Jam has serviced radio and iTunes with a remix (or, "Rih-mix," as the label has dubbed it) of "S&M" featuring Britney Spears singing a verse and adding other vocals. "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show" premiered the new version of the song just after 6 o'clock this morning on WHTZ (Z100)/New York.
All charts, including the Billboard Hot 100, where "S&M" has bulleted the last two weeks at No. 2 below Katy Perry's "E.T.," featuring Kanye West, will be refreshed Thursday (April 14) on Billboard.biz.