Can Katy Perry Pass Michael Jackson For Hot 100 History?
After joining the King of Pop in making Billboard Hot 100 history, can Katy Perry do him one better?
Perry last week became the first woman, and second artist overall after Michael Jackson, in the 53-year history of the chart to send five songs from one album to No. 1, as "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" became the fifth chart leader from her Capitol Records set "Teenage Dream." "Friday" followed "California Gurls" (featuring Snoop Dogg), the title cut; "Firework"; and, "E.T." (featuring Kanye West) to the summit.
Jackson had been the sole prior artist to mine five Hot 100 No. 1s from one album when "Bad" yielded the toppers "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (with Siedah Garrett); the title track; "The Way You Make Me Feel"; "Man in the Mirror"; and, "Dirty Diana" in 1987-88.
Now that Perry has equaled Jackson's chart achievement, can she become the first artist in the Hot 100's archives to score six No. 1s from one set?
The road to such uncharted (literally) waters would begin with Capitol. When asked by Billboard, however, the label was undecided about whether it plans to promote a sixth song from "Dream" to pop radio. ("We want to savor five right now, but in the world of Katy, you never know," says Greg Thompson, executive VP/marketing and promotion. "This historic achievement just speaks to Katy's hard work").
As the label considers its next step in the "Dream" sequence, if there is one, here are a few options that the label could pursue:
- Release a sixth single. The catchy, uptempo "Hummingbird Heartbeat" is perhaps best in line with the album's five No. 1s. The midtempo "The One That Got Away" and "Pearl" could also be single candidates. Ballad "Not Like the Movies," which Perry performed at the 53rd Grammy Awards in February, would offer a change of pace and likely find support at adult radio. The cheeky "Peacock," a No. 1 on Dance/Club Play Songs, would be a tough go at pop radio due to its risqué lyrics.
- Repackage "Teenage Dream," adding new music. In recent years, Rihanna rereleased "Good Girl Gone Bad," in its "Reloaded" form, tacking on new singles "Take a Bow" and "Disturbia," both of which topped the Hot 100. (As Billboard merged listings for the releases into one chart entry, they count, for historical purposes, as No. 1s from the same album as "Umbrella," the lead single from "Good"; similar to "Don't Forget About Us," which gave Mariah Carey a second No. 1 from "The Emancipation From Mimi," following "We Belong Together," after the album was reissued. If Capitol released a Perry album containing enough new material to chart as its own release, i.e., such bridge efforts as Ke$ha's "Cannibal" or Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster," Billboard would not consider any singles from the set as from "Dream," but instead from that new album).
- Go out on a high note. Give Perry, and even her fans, a break from her constant stream of hit singles over the past year, avoiding the risk of overexposure for her music.
One of the main drivers in Perry's "Dream" domination has been radio, with all five promoted singles having reached No. 1 on the all-format Radio Songs ranking and the mainstream top 40-based Pop Songs tally.
What advice for Capitol do programmers have? A majority of mainstream and adult pop PDs polled by Billboard favor the label affording Perry the chance at earning an honor that eluded even the format's late King.
"Katy Perry and the team at Capitol have achieved something that only Michael Jackson has, so how could they not go for at least one more single to break the record?" asks MoJoe Roberts, program director of Citadel-owned KHOP (@95-1)/Modesto, Calif. "There are still a few tracks on 'Dream' that could reach the top spot, so I say go for it."
"Perry continues to research well for most pop stations, so one would assume that the label could probably take a shot at a sixth single," echoes Chase Murphy, PD of Entercom's WFBC (B937)/Greenville, S.C. "Radio embraces artists that supply quality songs for the format, so I don't think that overexposure would be an issue.
"Unless Capitol is planning on rolling out a bunch of new artists in the fourth quarter, why the heck not go for a sixth single?" ponders Murphy. "It would most likely research faster than most songs because of the familiarity of her sound and the exposure of the album.
"Records are meant to be broken."
Clear Channel WXKS (Kiss 108)/Boston PD Dylan Sprague theorizes that, "'Peacock' is a great song - it stands out on the CD - but I would question its pop radio viability. We would have a tough time playing that. I don't feel like that song leaves much to interpretation."
Still, says Sprague, the five smashes from "Dream" "aren't any more or any less burned out in research than other hits from the same period.
"Would I love another Katy track for the fall? Absolutely."
Rich Davis, operations manager of Clear Channel's Nashville, Tenn., cluster, which includes WRVW (107.5 the River), votes for a "repackaged album with bonus cuts," adding that his research for the "Dream" singles doesn't reveal listener fatigue for the project. "I think it's because all the singles are different enough in sound that it hasn't been like hearing the same song in five different releases," Davis says.
Not all programmers, however, believe that Perry should continue to test her chart fortunes.
"Capitol shouldn't release another single," counters Sue O'Neil, OM of Buffalo's Entercom-owned mainstream pop WKSE (Kiss 98.5) and adult pop WTSS (Star 102.5), noting that, "if radio wants to play a song from the album, it will do so with or without an official label release."
Still, says O'Neil, "I don't in any way think that Perry is overexposed. She constantly keeps the water coolers buzzing with her fashions and cool videos. I do, however, think that I'm ready to hear what she has up her sleeve next. That's not because I'm tired of her, but because I like her.
"I think she's here to stay."
Charese Fruge programs two adult pop signals, CBS Radio's KSCF (Sophie@103.7)/San Diego and KMXB (Mix 94.1)/Las Vegas. She notes that while there is "little-to-no audience exhaustion on 'Teenage Dream' and 'Firework' for us, there is on the more recent 'E.T.' and 'Friday,' as adult pop stations are moving more quickly to keep up with Perry's mass-appeal. Adult pop stations are spinning her singles more to keep up with her popularity.
"Regardless," says Fruge, "Everything on this album has been a home run and Perry has just accomplished a major chart milestone and one in her career. But, I think that she should take a break while she's on top of the world and, instead of risking overexposure, keep everyone wanting more ... and extremely anxious for new material."
Fellow CBS Radio programmer Steve Davis of WIAD (94.7 Fresh FM)/Washington, D.C., concurs. "Keep the string of five No. 1s intact so that nothing can diminish the record. It's like throwing a perfect game vs. a no-hitter. Every time someone references the album, it's all about, 'every song released was a No. 1.' Why tempt fate?"
Plus, says Davis, "We need a Katy break. I love her, my listeners love her, but it's like eating rocky road every night. I love it, but every now and then I need a break and want vanilla with caramel sauce."
While ruling the Hot 100 with a sixth single from one album would mark a first in the survey's history, previous sixth releases from albums have found success. Three sets have even sported seven top 10s each.
Jackson notched seven Hot 100 top 10s from "Thriller" (1983-84), capped by "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" (No. 10) and the title cut (No. 4). The last of Bruce Springsteen's seven top 10s from "Born in the USA" (1984-86) - "I'm Goin' Down" and "My Hometown" - reached Nos. 9 and 6, respectively.
And, in a discography that Capitol and Perry would find encouraging, Janet Jackson rose to No. 1 with the sixth and seventh commercial singles from "Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814" (1989-91): "Black Cat" and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)." The album's depth further showed as an eighth track, "State of the World," reached No. 5 on Radio Songs (but, due to chart rules at the time that prevented non-commercially-available singles from appearing on the Hot 100, never graced the big chart).
As for the artist with whom Perry is now linked in Hot 100 history, how did Michael Jackson follow his five leaders from "Bad"? Sixth single "Another Part of Me" stopped at No. 11. Seventh single "Smooth Criminal" returned Jackson to the top 10, peaking at No. 7 in 1989.