In an e-mail, insightful Chart Beat reader Pablo Nelson of Berkeley, Calif., recounts the rarity of two solo females topping the Hot 100 together.
"In recent years, several women have teamed up for high-charting - but not No. 1 - Hot 100 hits," says Nelson, citing Beyonce and Shakira's "Beautiful Liar" (No. 3, 2007); Ciara's "1, 2 Step," featuring Missy Elliott (No. 2, 2005); and, two Eve and Gwen Stefani collaborations: "Rich Girl" (No. 7, 2005) and "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" (No. 2, 2001).
"Female superstars, however, hadn't shared billing on a No. 1 since Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and P!nk reached the top with 'Lady Marmalade' on the June 2, 2001, chart," notes Nelson.
In the Hot 100's history, "S&M" is just the fourth No. 1 collaboration between solo women:
Year, Title, Artists, Weeks at No. 1
2011, "S&M," Rihanna featuring Britney Spears (one week to-date)
2001, "Lady Marmalade," Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya & P!nk (five weeks)
1998, "The Boy Is Mine," Brandy & Monica (13 weeks)
1979, "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)," Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer (two weeks)
By comparison, four all-male rap/sung collaborations and five male/female couplings have ruled the Hot 100 in just the last 18 months.
Why have so few songs led the Hot 100 when women have joined forces?
"Most duets are sung as love songs, so they lend themselves naturally to male/female pairings," says Barry Scott, who recently celebrated his 25th anniversary of hosting the Boston radio program "The Lost 45s," which highlights largely forgotten '60s-'80s hits. ("Maybe Chris Colfer and Darren Criss from 'Glee' can switch up that pattern," Scott muses).
"Even when female singing partners reach No. 1, as was the case with 'No More Tears,' Streisand and Summer had to endure rumors of diva-like behavior between them for years," says Scott. "Summer told me that recording the song with Streisand was a pleasurable experience. Still, stories persist that their claws were out the whole time.
"Maybe many female artists have heard such talk and stay away from this style of collaborating.
"By the way," adds Scott, "Nancy Sinatra and her father Frank reached No. 1 in 1967 with 'Something Stupid,' a song she told me that DJs used to refer to as 'the incest song.'
"Can duet partners ever win?"
'DREAM' SEQUENCE: As "S&M" dominates the Hot 100, Katy Perry's "E.T.," featuring Kanye West, falls to No. 2 after three weeks at the summit.
Still, Perry rewrites Hot 100 history by spending a 49th consecutive week in the top 10. As previously noted by Chart Beat reader JonMichael Rasmus of Madison, Wis., Perry passes Ace of Base, which logged 48 straight weeks in the top tier with "All That She Wants," "The Sign" and "Don't Turn Around" from Oct. 16, 1993, through Sept. 10, 1994.
Perry's unprecedented streak began with "California Gurls," featuring Snoop Dogg, which debuted at No. 2 the week of May 29, 2010, and continued with "Teenage Dream" and "Firework" prior to "E.T."
Santana ranks third with 42 consecutive frames in the Hot 100's top 10 (1999-2000), followed by Mariah Carey (41 weeks in a row, 1995-96).
STILL TOP 10 AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: Paul Simon returns to the Billboard 200's top 10, as "So Beautiful or So What" begins at No. 4. The launch grants Simon his highest rank since "Rhythm of the Saints" spent a second week at No. 4 the week of Dec. 1, 1990.
Paul Simon Gives Into Rhythm At Hollywood Show
Including his work with Simon & Garfunkel, Simon extends his Billboard 200 top 10 span to 44 years, four months and two weeks. The duo first reached the region when "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" bounded 12-5 on the Dec. 17, 1966, chart. (If Chart Beat had existed - and I'd been born - then, I'm sure I would've looked to make a "Thyme Flies" headline pun).
Now with six Billboard 200 top 10s as a solo act, Simon has equaled his sum with Garfunkel:
No. 4, "Paul Simon," 1972
No. 2, "There Goes Rhymin' Simon," 1973
No. 1 (one week), "Still Crazy After All These Years," 1975
No. 3, "Graceland," 1987
No. 4, "The Rhythm of the Saints," 1990
No. 4, "So Beautiful or So What," 2011
Simon & Garfunkel
No. 4, "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme," 1966
No. 1 (nine weeks), "The Graduate" (soundtrack), 1968
No. 1 (seven weeks), "Bookends," 1968
No. 1 (10 weeks), "Bridge Over Troubled Water," 1970
No. 5, "Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits," 1972
No. 6, "The Concert in Central Park," 1982
Simon, who began a 42-date world tour Friday (April 15), concurrently registers digital sales gains after his music was featured in two primetime TV shows last week.
"The Sound of Silence" (6,000 downloads sold, up 192%, according to Nielsen SoundScan) and "Mrs. Robinson" (3,000, up 126%) each increase after James Durbin, Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk and Paul McDonald performed a medley of the songs last Thursday on "American Idol," while Lusk's take on "Bridge" the previous night spurred a 151% boost (to 3,000) for the original version.
Also last Thursday, NBC's "Parks and Recreation" featured a snippet of Simon & Garfunkel's "April She Will Come." The exposure resulted in the 1966 folk song shifting 1,000 downloads, a 649% gain.
'DEEP' THOUGHTS: Although Adele's "21" descends 1-2 after four weeks in the Billboard 200's penthouse, "Rolling in the Deep," the set's lead single, sets the mark for the longest lock atop the Triple A chart among women.
With 12 weeks at No. 1 on the adult alternative airplay ranking, "Deep" passes the 11-week dominance of KT Tunstall's "Hold On" in 2007.
U2's "Beautiful Day" holds the mark for longest Triple A command among all artists, having led for 16 weeks in 2000-01.
NEW ADVENTURES OF 'OLD ALABAMA': Guesting on Brad Paisley's "Old Alabama," Alabama notches its 51st top 10 (14-10) on Country Songs, extending its record for most top 10s among groups in the chart's 67-year archives.
The song marks Alabama's first Country Songs top 10 since its remake of 'N Sync's "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You," featuring the boy band, reached No. 3 in 1999. Alabama scored its first top 10 with its first of its 32 No. 1s, "Tennessee River," in 1980.
On the Hot 100, "Old Alabama" blasts 95-38, powered by a No. 25 entrance on Digital Songs. The track is likewise Alabama's first top 40 Hot 100 hit since "Spent" (No. 29, 1999).
The band's comeback effort is its sixth top 40 Hot 100 title. Its first chart entry, "Feels So Right," reached No. 20 in 1981. Now at 29 years and nine months, Alabama passes the top 40 Hot 100 hits span of Dolly Parton (28 years, four months and one week; 1977-2006) and trails only Kenny Rogers' 32-year, two-month and two-week stretch (1968-2000) for longest such staying power among country acts.