Rewinding the Charts: In 2008, Britney Spears Blasted Back
The singer put a series of personal scandals behind her when she topped the Hot 100 with "Womanizer."
AFTER A COUPLE OF TROUBLED years, Britney Spears scored her first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 in nearly a decade when her single "Womanizer" topped the chart on Oct. 25, 2008. The electro-pop dance track, which Spears, then 26, described as a "girl anthem," skyrocketed from No. 96 to No. 1 in the span of a week – a record jump at the time – aided by a steamy music video that featured scenes of the singer naked in a sauna.
Spears had topped the Hot 100 only once before, with her debut single, "... Baby One More Time," in January 1999, and her comeback helped close a troublesome chapter in her life. Between 2006 and 2008, she had struggled with a number of widely publicized life events, including her failed marriage to Kevin Federline; her headline-making decision to shave her head; a drug-rehab stint; and a breakdown that resulted in an involuntary psychiatric evaluation and led to her father and lawyer establishing a conservatorship to take control of her life.
Spears still managed to release new music, including the 2007 album Blackout and its lead single, "Gimme More," which was memorably promoted with a show-opening performance on the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, where a lip-syncing Spears practically sleepwalked through her dance routine.
A little more than a year later, a reinvigorated Spears returned to the airwaves on her 27th birthday, Dec. 2, to perform "Womanizer" on Good Morning America, and her career has mostly flourished since then: She has staged two world tours, scored three more Hot 100 No. 1s and, in December 2013, began a Las Vegas residency that is slated to run until the end of 2017. She released her most recent LP, Glory, in 2016.
A version of this article first appeared in the Oct. 31, 2015 issue of Billboard magazine.