Chart Beat

Ask Billboard: The Definitive List of Hit Fifth Singles

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Michael Jackson sings at a concert August 27, 1984 in Buffalo, NY. Jackson, who was the lead singer for the Jackson Five by age eight, reached the peak of his solo career with 1982''s 'Thriller,' the best-selling album of all time and recipient of eight Grammy awards.

Before Ariana Grande's 'One Last Time,' from 'My Everything,' many other albums yielded at least five hit singles, including sets by Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Taylor Swift & more.

As always, submit questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet @gthot20


Last week, Chart Beat dove into the strategy behind the five single releases from Ariana Grande's second album, My Everything, as fifth single "One Last Time" continues to scale various charts. In a follow-up tweet, the question was posed to you: What other songs released as fifth singles from albums went on to become classics?

Here's a sampling of your responses, and more.

@gthot20 You forgot to add Rihanna's "Take a Bow," 5th single from Good Girl Gone Bad, which was a big global smash.

Rihanna Lately ?@RihannaLately

"Marry the Night," Lady Gaga

Ezra Jones

Another fifth: Kelly Clarkson "Walk Away"

Whitney Houston! She had five Billboard Hot 100 top 10s from Whitney, including the fifth, "Love Will Save the Day," which hit No. 9 after the first four rose to No. 1.


Janet Jackson is the only artist in Hot 100 history with three singles released fifth from albums all having reached the top five. And, all three peaked at No. 2:
Control: "Let's Wait Awhile"
Rhythm Nation 1814: "Come Back to Me"
janet.: "Any Time, Any Place"

And, Madonna's True Blue had five top 10 singles, with "La Isla Bonita" the fifth.

Oh, and Mariah Carey has never had five top 10s from an album, but she should've released "Prisoner" as the fifth single from her self-titled first album. The song would've easily gone top five.


Thanks all! Chart Beat readers never disappoint in chart knowledge and insights. I remember that "Prisoner" did receive unpromoted airplay after Carey had arrived with four Hot 100 No. 1s. Columbia Records moved on, however, to her second album, Emotions, instead, and it's hard to argue with the decision: the title cut lead single became her record fifth career-opening No. 1.

Topics like this are a favorite of mine, as I've always been fascinated with how labels decide to release singles, as Republic's Charlie Walk spelled out step-by-step in the Grande story. It becomes even more intriguing when an album goes five singles deep: it's fun after the fact to analyze if the right choices were likely made, or if some album cut that never became a single might've become a big hit, setting up an answerable what-if, as in the case of "Prisoner."

With that in mind, let's look at more songs from albums so full of good tracks that fifth singles had to wait their turn after four other single-worthy picks.

I'm sure I'll miss some, but here's hopefully an in-depth listing of hit fifth singles. While most songs below don't require further explanation, a few do. One pattern: a first single that also was released as part of a movie release, or movie soundtrack. As JFANNUMBER1 alluded to above, "Live to Tell" led off Madonna's True Blue by first being released alongside At Close Range. Since it was also on True Blue (released three months after the song), "La Isla Bonita" is included here as the set's fifth single. Songs below by Kelly Clarkson and George Michael are evidence of similar cases.

Also: a fifth single from a deluxe or rereleased version of an album. In recent years, some hit albums have been repackaged with new singles, continuing their runs. So, Rihanna's "Take a Bow" was the fifth single from Good Girl Gone Bad, going by the fact that, per Billboard 200 chart rules, the original album and enhanced release were merged as one title (a decision arrived at for all such cases, in part, by how much new material is on a newer version).

With those chart-geeky details out of the way, we've got a list of songs here that, ultimately, serve to celebrate albums with at least five singles each, making them gifts that kept on giving, and giving fans great bang for their buck after buying those hit-filled sets.

Paula Abdul, "Cold Hearted," from Forever Your Girl. Hard to believe, looking back, that "Knocked Out" was released first from the set. It stopped at an oh-so-frustrating No. 41 in 1988. But, that ultimately reinforced that more commercial songs would make for better singles, as four No. 1s, including this smash, (and another top five) would follow.

Adele, "Turning Tables." (Okay, not an official fifth single from 21, but it received pop airplay and hit No. 63 on the Hot 100 thanks to strong sales. It's sold 883,000 downloads to-date, according to Nielsen Music.)

Backstreet Boys, "I'll Never Break Your Heart"
The Black Eyed Peas, "Rock That Body"
Bon Jovi, "Living in Sin"

Luke Bryan, "Roller Coaster," from Crash My Party, which tied the record for most Country Airplay No. 1s, five, first set by Brad Paisley's 5th Gear (see "Waitin' On a Woman," below) and Blake Shelton's Based On a True Story ... (see "My Eyes"). While "Coaster" was the fifth single from Crash My Party, it was sixth single "I See You" that became the album's fifth No. 1.

Kelly Clarkson, "Walk Away"
Rodney Crowell, "Above and Beyond"
Daughtry, "What About Now"

Def Leppard, "Love Bites." Not only the fifth single from Hysteria, but the first No. 1 (from the set and for the band), as each single two through five fared better on the Hot 100 than its predecessor.

Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine, "1-2-3"
Fergie, "Clumsy"
Genesis, "In Too Deep"
Genesis, "Never a Time"
Debbie Gibson, "Staying Together"
Gin Blossoms, "Until I Fall Away"
Ariana Grande, "One Last Time"
Janet Jackson, "Let's Wait Awhile"
Janet Jackson, "Come Back to Me"
Lady Gaga, "Marry the Night"
Don Henley, "New York Minute"
Whitney Houston, "Love Will Save the Day"

Michael Jackson, "Human Nature"
Michael Jackson, "Dirty Diana"
Michael Jackson, "Heal the World." Sister Janet's accomplishments are noted above, but Michael fared well with fifth singles himself. In listening to a classic American Top 40 last week, I heard Casey Kasem mention that "Human Nature" made Hot 100 history by becoming the first fifth top 10 from an album (Thriller). "Dirty Diana" reached an even greater milestone, making Bad the first album to generate five Hot 100 No. 1s. "Heal the World," from Dangerous, made for a nice "We Are the World" sequel, hitting No. 27.

Billy Joel, "Leave a Tender Moment Alone"
Cyndi Lauper, "Money Changes Everything"
Linkin Park, "Breaking the Habit"

Madonna, "La Isla Bonita"
Madonna, "Keep It Together." After True Blue, Madonna tallied another five Hot 100 hits from Like a Prayer. Fourth single "Oh Father" broke her top 10 streak (at 17 in a row, peaking at No. 20), but "Keep It Together" returned her to the region, dancing to No. 8.

Bruno Mars, "Young Girls"
Richard Marx, "Children of the Night"
George Michael, "Monkey"
Alanis Morissette, "Head Over Feet"
New Kids on the Block, "Cover Girl"
Brad Paisley, "Waitin' On a Woman"

Katy Perry, "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" The song topped the Hot 100 in 2011, famously tying parent set Teenage Dream with Michael Jackson's Bad as the only albums ever to produce five Hot 100-topping singles.

P!nk, "Glitter in the Air"
The Pussycat Dolls, "Wait a Minute"
R.E.M., "Everybody Hurts"
Rihanna, "Take a Bow"
Rihanna, "Cheers (Drink to That)"
Blake Shelton featuring Gwen Sebastian, "My Eyes"

Bruce Springsteen, "Glory Days." Springsteen soared to new heights with Born in the U.S.A., and this fifth hit, and fifth Hot 100 top 10, of seven, became an instant baseball classic. (This unbiased Red Sox fan already puts James Taylor's new "Angels of Fenway" in that category, too.)

Taylor Swift, "Should've Said No"
Taylor Swift, "Fearless"
Taylor Swift, "Sparks Fly"
Taylor Swift, "Red." Swift's first four albums each generated at least five singles, including certain pop and country format-specific singles. As for her new 1989, "Bad Blood" remains the release's rumored fourth single, but Big Machine/Republic have yet to officially confirm the news.

Justin Timberlake," LoveStoned"
Shania Twain, "You Win My Love"
Shania Twain, "Honey, I'm Home"
U2, "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses"
Usher, "Caught Up"

Got more beloved fifth singles not included here? Sound off in the comments section, on Twitter (@gthot20) or by emailing

(I.e., don't plead the fifth.)