NICKI OF TIME: Nicki Minaj 's "Pink Friday" ascends to the Billboard 200  summit in its 11th week, marking the steadiest climb to No. 1 since Ray Charles ' "Genius Loves Company" reached the top spot in its 25th week dated March 5, 2005.
Billboard associate director of charts/retail Keith Caulfield notes the rarity of such a rise, as the majority of chart-topping albums begin their chart lives at No. 1.
In 2010, 30 albums occupied the Billboard 200's penthouse for the first time, but just one - Lil Wayne 's "I Am Not a Human Being" - rose to the top from a lower rank the previous week. (That set debuted at No. 2 the week of Oct. 16 as a digital exclusive, fell to No. 16 and vaulted to No. 1 in its third frame, following its physical release).
Of the 505 albums that first topped the Billboard 200 since it began employing Nielsen SoundScan data the week of May 25, 1991, only 71 did not debut at No. 1. And, "Pink Friday" is just the 18th title in that span to have reached the apex after more than 10 weeks:
Weeks To No. 1, Artist, Title, Year Reached No. 1
63, Soundtrack, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," 2002
52, Live, "Throwing Copper," 1995
49, No Doubt , "Tragic Kingdom," 1996
46, Norah Jones, "Come Away With Me," 2003
44, Hootie & The Blowfish, "Cracked Rear View," 1995
31, Toni Braxton, "Toni Braxton," 1994
28, Celine Dion , "Falling Into You," 1996
27, Eric Clapton, "Unplugged," 1993
26, Shaggy, "Hotshot," 2001
25, Ray Charles, "Genius Loves Company," 2005
18, Santana , "Supernatural," 1999
17, Ace Of Base, "The Sign," 1994
15, Alanis Morissette , "Jagged Little Pill," 1995
15, Mariah Carey , "Music Box," 1993
14, Spice Girls, "Spice," 1997
14, Nirvana, "Nevermind," 1992
13, Fugees, "The Score," 1996
11, Nicki Minaj, "Pink Friday," 2011
Notably, patience pays. The albums above represent some of the longest-reigning and top-selling sets of the last two decades.
Among the elite efforts, "Jagged Little Pill" spent 12 weeks atop the Billboard 200 and has sold 14.7 million copies, according to SoundScan. "Supernatural" also led for 12 weeks and has shifted 11.7 million units.
The sets rank as the third- and seventh-best-selling albums in SoundScan's archives.
'BLACK AND YELLOW' (AND P!NK): Chart Beat reader and frequent contributor Pablo Nelson of Berkeley, Calif., points out a coincidence that's not meant to be, at least this week.
While Minaj's "Pink Friday" rules the Billboard 200, the artist P!nk  falls short of topping the Billboard Hot 100 , as "F**King Perfect" descends 2-4 after charging to the runner-up spot last week from No. 11.
Two other colors, however, appear in the Hot 100's top rung, as Wiz Khalifa 's "Black and Yellow" roars 4-1. Despite the Steelers' loss to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV (Feb. 6), the Pittsburgh anthem gained enough radio, retail and online momentum in the week leading up to the game to spur its coronation.
The song is the seventh Hot 100 leader to sport (no pun intended) the word "black" in its title. The previous two such songs were recorded by Jackson siblings:
Title, Artist, Date reached No. 1, Weeks at No. 1
"Paint It, Black," the Rolling Stones, June 11, 1966, two
"Black & White," Three Dog Night, Sept. 16, 1972, one
"Black Water," the Doobie Brothers, March 15, 1975, one
"Black Velvet," Alannah Myles, March 24, 1990, two
"Black and Yellow," which led Rap Songs for two weeks, is just the third No. 1 with "yellow" in its title. "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" by Brian Hyland (beach-)blanketed the Aug. 13, 1960, Hot 100 and "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando began a four-week command the week of April 21, 1973.
(And you thought Wiz Khalifa and Tony Orlando would've had nothing in common).
SINCE MINOT DOESN'T HAVE AN NFL FRANCHISE ...: Never mind Tony Orlando. Wiz Khalifa also shares common ground with ... Lawrence Welk .
Larry Cohen of Trumbull, Conn., e-mails that while the rapper resides in Pittsburgh, he was born in Minot, N.D., Sept. 8, 1987, making him just the third act from North Dakota to top the Hot 100.
Late legendary bandleader Welk was born in Strasburg, N.D., March 11, 1903. (He passed away in 1992). His instrumental "Calcutta," billed as by Lawrence Welk and His Orchestra, led for two weeks beginning, coincidentally, exactly 50 years ago this week, on the chart dated Feb. 18, 1961.
Reader Blair Buchta of Winnipeg remembers the other chart-topping North Dakota native, who also led in 1961. Fargo-born Bobby Vee spent three weeks at No. 1 beginning that September with "Take Good Care of My Baby."
(While Welk never sent a song with "black" in its name onto the Hot 100, he did do so with a "yellow"-tinged title. "Yellow Bird" peaked at No. 71 in July 1961).
THRILLING: Thanks, in part, to a cover of the King of Pop, the "Glee"  cast is now just one title away from tying the King of Rock and Roll for most Hot 100 appearances in the chart's 52-year history.
The ensemble inks three new entries with songs unveiled on Sunday's post-Super Bowl episode. Its cover of Lady Antebellum 's "Need You Now" starts at No. 72, followed by its Michael Jackson/Yeah Yeah Yeahs  mashup "Thriller / Heads Will Roll" (No. 75) and its take on Destiny's Child 's "Bills, Bills, Bills" (No. 79).
Now with 107 Hot 100 hits on its resume - all since June 2009 - the "Glee" cast trails Elvis Presley  by just one song for most placements.
Presley totaled 108 entries between the chart's launch in 1958 through 2003. (His career predated the list's inception; he scaled various Hot 100 predecessor song charts beginning in 1956).
Following a full week of sales, the three debuting "Glee" songs are expected to soar on next week's Hot 100. With the five songs premiered on Tuesday's (Feb. 8) episode due to join the trio of tracks next week, the "Glee" cast is set to claim the record for most Hot 100 appearances.
Billboard.com will provide extensive coverage of the milestone next week.
FOREVER YOUNG: Dwarfing Minaj's 11-week climb to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Chris Young 's "Voices" reaches the Country Songs  summit (3-1) in its 51st week, completing the longest ascent to the top in the chart's 67-year history.
The song snares the longevity record courtesy of two chart runs. It debuted at No. 60 in June 2008 on its way to an initial No. 37 peak over 20 weeks.
Following Young's first two No. 1s - "Getting' You Home" (one week, 2009) and "The Man I Want to Be" (three weeks, 2010) - RCA believed in "Voices" enough to re-release it. The cut re-entered Country Songs at No. 56 on the July 24, 2010, chart and tops the tally in the 31st week of its second chart visit.
(Tracy Lawrence 's "Find Out Who Your Friends Are" retains the mark for longest uninterrupted trip to the top perch, having reached No. 1 in its 41st frame the week of June 23, 2007).
Billboard senior chart manager Wade Jessen adds that "Voices" is the first re-released title to reign over Country Songs spanning two chart lives since Randy Travis ' "On the Other Hand" in 1986.
The traditional country song had first peaked at No. 67 in 1985 before its re-release resulted in Travis' first of 16 Country Songs No. 1s.
- Chart Beat