Ask Billboard: A Supersized Mailbag in Honor of Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus' Record Run Atop the Hot 100

Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Stagecoach
Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X attend Day 3 of the Stagecoach Music Festival on April 28, 2019 in Indio, Calif. 

Plus, Christina Aguilera's career album sales.

Submit questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, tweet @gthot20

Dear Gary,  

Of the record 19 weeks that Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" topped the Billboard Hot 100, the first week that it spent at No. 1 was without Billy Ray Cyrus, who was then credited for the next 18 weeks, as its remix took over as the song's dominant version.

So, it's interesting to me that Billy Ray technically totaled 18 weeks at No. 1 with the song, while Lil Nas X logged all 19.

Thanks,

Jesper Tan
Subang Jaya, Malaysia

Hi Jesper,

Just as Lil Nas X's debut hit is historic, its run also makes Cyrus unique in the history of Billboard's signature song and album charts. As Cyrus spent 17 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with his breakthrough LP Some Gave All in 1992, he is the only artist with a title that spent as many as 18 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 (via a featured role, of course) and 17 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Let's look at the elite seven artists with No. 1 Hot 100 songs and No. 1 Billboard 200 albums that each led for 10 weeks or more:

Billy Ray Cyrus
18 weeks at No. 1 on Hot 100, as featured on Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" (2019)
17 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard 200, Some Gave All (1992)

And:

Adele
10 weeks at No. 1 on Hot 100, "Hello" (2015-16)
24 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard 200, 21 (2011-12)
10 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard 200, 21 (2015-16)

Mariah Carey
16 weeks at No. 1 on Hot 100, "One Sweet Day" (1995-96)
14 weeks at No. 1 on Hot 100, "We Belong Together" (2005)
11 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard 200, Mariah Carey (1991)

Drake
11 weeks at No. 1 on Hot 100, "God's Plan" (2018)
10 weeks at No. 1 on Hot 100, "In My Feelings" (2018)
10 weeks at No. 1 on Hot 100, "One Dance," feat. WizKid & Kyla (2016)
13 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard 200, Views (2016)

Whitney Houston
14 weeks at No. 1 on Hot 100, "I Will Always Love You" (1992-93)
20 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard 200, The Bodyguard (1992-93)
14 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard 200, Whitney Houston (1986)
11 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard 200, Whitney (1987)

Elton John
14 weeks at No. 1 on Hot 100, "Candle in the Wind 1997"/"Something About the Way You Look Tonight" (1997-98)
10 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard 200, Greatest Hits (1974)

Santana
12 weeks at No. 1 on Hot 100, "Smooth," feat. Rob Thomas (1999-2000)
10 weeks at No. 1 on Hot 100, "Maria Maria," feat. The Product G&B (2000)
12 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard 200, Supernatural (1999-2000)

Especially impressively, Santana is the only act with a No. 1 Billboard 200 album that led for double-digit weeks and two singles released from it that did the same on the Hot 100.

By the way, happy birthday tomorrow (Aug. 25), Billy Cyrus!

MOST WEEKS AT NO. 2 ON HOT 100

What songs have had the longest stays at No. 2 on the Hot 100, including songs that did and didn't reach No. 1? I remember "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" by Whitney Houston hanging at No. 2 for many weeks after debuting at No. 1.

DOF @80schartsfan

Good memory! Houston's "Exhale" holds the record for the most weeks overall spent at No. 2 on the Hot 100. The song debuted at No. 1 on Nov. 25, 1995, and then spent the next 11 weeks at No. 2.

As for songs with uncommon longevity in the Hot 100's upper reaches, here's a look at the entries to spend the most weeks at No. 2 (with No. 2-peaking hits noted in italics). So far, Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy" has tallied nine weeks at No. 2, a record wait until its coronation at last this week. Thus, on its way down, it could challenge Houston's record for the most time that a song has spent at the runner-up spot.

Weeks at No. 2, Title, Artist, Peak Date
11, "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)," Whitney Houston, Nov. 25, 1995 (plus 1 week at No. 1)

10, "That's What I Like," Bruno Mars, May 13, 2017 (plus 1 week at No. 1)
10, "Work It," Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, Nov. 16, 2002
10, "Freak Me," Silk, May 1, 1993 (plus 2 weeks at No. 1)
10,"Waiting for a Girl Like You," Foreigner, Nov. 28, 1981

9 (to date), "Bad Guy," Billie Eilish, Aug. 24, 2019 (plus 1 week at No. 1 to date)
9, "Sorry," Justin Bieber, Jan. 23, 2016 (plus 3 weeks at No. 1)
9, "Poker Face," Lady Gaga, April 11, 2009 (plus 1 week at No. 1)
9, "You're Still the One," Shania Twain, May 2, 1998
9, "I Love You Always Forever," Donna Lewis, Aug. 24, 1996
9, "Always Be My Baby," Mariah Carey, May 4, 1996 (plus 2 weeks at No. 1)
9, "Gangsta's Paradise," Coolio feat. L.V., Sept. 9, 1995 (plus 3 weeks at No. 1)

Bill(y/ie)board:  Billie Eilish, meanwhile, follows Billy Ray Cyrus (and Lil Nas X) to No. 1 on the Hot 100. Updating an "Ask Billboard" angle from May, while nine male artists named Billy have topped the Hot 100 (including Cyrus), Eilish is, as of this week, the first Billie to reign. As an artist, that is: two songs with "Billie" in their titles have claimed topping billing on the Hot 100: "Ode to Billie Joe," by Bobbie Gentry (1967), and "Billie Jean," by Michael Jackson (1983). One hit with "Billy" in its title has led the list: "Billy, Don't Be a Hero," by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods (1974).

20 YEARS OF CHRISTINA AGUILERA

Hi Gary,

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Christina Aguilera's debut album, we, her fighters (her fans) would love an update of her album sales.

Thank you in advance. Have a great rest of summer!

Carlos Mella
Spain

Hi Carlos,

Thanks, you too!

Here is a rundown of Aguilera's U.S. album sales, according to Nielsen Music (through Aug. 22).

Christina Aguilera's Album Sales
8.3 million, Christina Aguilera / 4.4 million, Stripped / 1.7 million, Back to Basics / 1 million, My Kind of Christmas / 779,000, Burlesque (soundtrack) / 614,000, Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade of Hits / 489,000, Mi Reflejo / 332,000, Bionic / 303,000, Lotus / 129,000, Just Be Free / 100,000, Liberation

Aguilera's career U.S. album sales (including the Burlesque soundtrack) stand at 18.3 million.

In a May 2018 Billboard cover story, Aguilera gave … her reflection … of her first two decades in the spotlight, and how she's evolved. "When I'm onstage, there's not a bigger high, when I'm in connection with my voice and my heart and my soul," she mused. "But, at the end [of a performance], I want to wipe it all off, get in my sweatpants, make silly noises with my kids and have someone comfort and cuddle me."

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