Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy” (2014)
Who dat, who dat scoring the Song of the Summer for 2014? I-G-G-Y, of course. With “Fancy,” the Australian rapper and British singer-songwriter extraordinaire Charli XCX scored their respective breakthroughs — soon after, Azalea’s “Black Widow” became her second Top 10 hit, and Charli XCX notched her first solo Top 10 single with “Boom Clap.”
Lorde, “Royals” (2013)
An unknown 16-year-old from New Zealand at the beginning of 2013, Ella Yelich-O’Connor, better known as Lorde, was a household name by the end of last year thanks to the minimalist pop anthem “Royals,” which also ruled the Alternative Songs chart for months and earned a Grammy for song of the year.
Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call Me Maybe” (2012)
Hey, we just met her and this was crazy, but Canadian pop princess Carly Rae Jepsen beguiled U.S. listeners in the summer of 2012 with syncopated strings and a tale of love at first sight, which spent nine weeks atop the Hot 100 chart.
Ke$ha, “TiK ToK” (2010)
Kesha (at that point still using a dollar sign in her name) exploded onto the pop scene as a solo artists in early 2010, after assisting Flo Rida on his own No. 1 hit “Right Round.” “TiK ToK” preceded a string of Hot 100 hits for the singer, who next reached the top of the chart with “We R Who We R.”
Lady Gaga, “Just Dance” (2009)
Before Gaga wanted to change the face of pop music, she just wanted to dance, alongside RedOne, Akon and Colby O’Donis. The club hit soon became a crossover pop smash, and Gaga never looked back, scoring several other Top 10 hits (“Bad Romance,” “Poker Face,” “Born This Way,” “Applause”) in the half-decade since her breakthrough.
Katy Perry, “I Kissed a Girl” (2008)
Katy Perry had been trying to establish herself as a viable musician for years before “I Kissed a Girl” took off and became the first of her mountain of No. 1 singles. Her first Hot 100 chart entry became the Song of the Summer for 2008, and two years later, Perry repeated the feat with 2010’s “California Gurls” featuring Snoop Dogg.
Fergie, “London Bridge” (2006)
Three years before the Black Eyed Peas hijacked the Hot 100 for the summer of “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling,” the group’s Fergie made her solo debut with “London Bridge,” a boisterous dance cut from her first album, The Dutchess. Eight years later, we’re still waiting for that album’s follow-up.
Carrie Underwood, “Inside Your Heaven” (2005)
Weeks after winning American Idol, Carrie Underwood was perched atop the Hot 100 chart with her debut single, which was also recorded by Idol runner-up Bo Bice. Of course, “Inside Your Heaven” was just the prelude to a long-running country career, highlighted by hits like “Jesus, Take The Wheel,” “Before He Cheats” and “Good Girl.”
Ciara feat. Petey Pablo, “Goodies” (2004)
Ciara was one of the most promising new voices in pop music in the mid-00’s, all thanks to a trio of undeniable smashes. “1, 2 Step” and “Oh” dazzled, but “Goodies” got the world on board with the future Mrs. Future, and became her first single to top the Hot 100 chart.
Kelly Clarkson, “A Moment Like This” (2002)
Before “Since U Been Gone,” “Breakaway” or “My Life Would Suck Without You,” Kelly Clarkson topped the Hot 100 chart with her American Idol coronation song, as “A Moment Like This” used the momentum of the reality phenomenon to bolt to No. 1.
Alicia Keys, “Fallin’” (2001)
Alicia Keys immediately established herself as a force in R&B music with “Fallin’,” which became her first Hot 100 chart-topper in her first try and later won the song of the year award at the Grammys.
Christina Aguilera, “Genie in a Bottle” (1999)
Christina Aguilera may have released “Reflection,” the lead single to the Mulan soundtrack, prior to “Genie In a Bottle,” but didn’t chart on the Hot 100 chart until “Genie” rubbed pop fans the right way and shot to No. 1. Aguilera would score two more No. 1 singles from her 1999 self-titled debut album: “What a Girl Wants” and “Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You).”
Jennifer Lopez, “If You Had My Love” (1999)
J. Lo had already proved herself in films like Selena and Out of Sight before releasing her debut album in 1999, and she began her music career with a bang, sending “If You Had My Love” to the top of the Hot 100 chart. “Waiting For Tonight,” also from On The 6, followed as another Top 10 dance hit.
Britney Spears, “…Baby One More Time” (1998)
The schoolgirl costume in the music video, the three opening notes, the “I must confess!” of the final chorus — it’s all iconic now, but back then, it was the blueprint to Britney Spears’ first No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 chart.
Mariah Carey, “Vision of Love” (1990)
Mariah Carey has been a musical legend over the past quarter-century, and her reign all started with her first Hot 100 entry, “Vision of Love,” from her self-titled debut. That album also fashioned No. 1 hits out of the singles “Love Takes Time,” “Someday” and “I Don’t Wanna Cry.”
Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1990)
Although it comes from Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor’s second full-length, her revival of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” was her first and biggest Hot 100 hit, marching to the top spot in 1990. The haunting music video, consisting solely of O’Connor’s bald emotion (pun intended), won the MTV VMA for Video of the Year.
Tiffany, “I Think We’re Alone Now” (1987)
Tiffany’s power-pop anthem, a cover of a 60’s hit by Tommy James and the Shondells, outperformed the original by reaching the top of the Hot 100 chart in 1987. “Could’ve Been” was also a massive hit for the singer, and was also off of her self-titled debut album.
Debby Boone, “You Light Up My Life” (1977)
The 1978 winner of the best new artist Grammy (she beat out Foreigner and Shaun Cassidy!), Debby Boone blew up thanks to her powerhouse country ballad “You Light Up My Life.” Pat Boone’s daughter has been staying busy in the studio, releasing an album of classic swing tunes, Swing This, last year.
Bobbie Gentry, “Ode To Billie Joe” (1967)
The Mississippi singer-songwriter and Grammy darling scored a country crossover hit with “Ode To Billie Joe,” and one of the more depressing No. 1 singles in the history of the Hot 100 chart (“I saw him at the sawmill yesterday… And now you tell me Billie Joe has jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge,” Gentry croons).
Little Peggy March, “I Will Follow Him” (1963)
Just a 15-year-old when she hit it big with “I Will Follow Him,” Little Peggy March became the youngest female artist to have a song sit atop the Hot 100 chart — and on her first try, no less!