Pharrell Williams Helps Kirk Franklin Score a 'Victory' Atop Hot Gospel Songs Chart
A remix of Franklin's "123 Victory" with Pharrell helps send the song to No. 1, marking Franklin's record-breaking fifth leader.
Gospel singer-songwriter/producer Kirk Franklin is known for collaborating with artists outside the gospel circle. For instance, when Kanye West performed on the Feb. 13 episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live, he brought out Franklin and Chance the Rapper.
For his newest partnership, Franklin recruited pop/R&B artist/producer Pharrell Williams for a fresh version of Franklin's "123 Victory," which, sparked by Pharrell's featured involvement, tops Billboard's Hot Gospel Songs chart (dated Sept. 10).
The track debuted at No. 15 on the Hot Gospel Songs ranking dated Dec. 5, 2015, and first peaked at No. 2 in May. Now in its 41st week, it soars 9-1 powered by the Pharrell-assisted version; as with any song, edits or remixes of tracks are combined for chart purposes. Only one song has taken longer to hit No. 1 in the chart's 11-year history: Ricky Dillard & New G's "Amazing," which completed a 47-week odyssey on Dec. 27, 2014.
"Victory" vaults 20-1 on Gospel Digital Songs (where it also reigns for the first time), surging by 1,241 percent to 4,000 downloads sold, its best weekly sum, in the week ending Aug. 25, according to Nielsen Music. Of the song's sales during the week, 90 percent were of the new Pharrell remix.
"Victory" is Franklin's record-breaking fifth Hot Gospel Songs No. 1. (Pharrell, now listed as featured on the song, rules in his first chart visit.) As Franklin breaks out of a tie with three acts, here is an updated look at the artists with the most Hot Gospel Songs No. 1s, dating to the chart's March 19, 2005, inception:
5, Kirk Franklin
4, James Fortune & FIYA
4, Donald Lawrence
"Victory" follows Franklin's prior No. 1 -- "Wanna Be Happy?" -- which logged the chart's second-longest reign, 45 weeks (Sept. 19, 2015-July 23). First place belongs to Marvin Sapp's "Never Would Have Made It" (46 weeks, 2007-08). Franklin first began appearing on Billboard charts in 1993 and topped Hot Gospel Songs for the first time soon after its launch, for 18 weeks in 2005-06 with "Looking for You."
Meanwhile, Franklin's 9-1 "Victory" lap marks the biggest jump to No. 1 on Hot Gospel Songs since the de facto Destiny's Child reunion track "Say Yes," by Michelle Williams featuring Beyonce and Kelly Rowland, also roared 9-1 on July 5, 2014.
'JOURNEY' TO THE TOP: On Top Gospel Albums, artist/minister Donnie McClurkin's The Journey (Live) romps 20-1, with 3,000 copies sold in its first week of wide release. The 14-song concert album is McClurkin's fifth No. 1 on the survey.
Also arriving in the Top Gospel Albums top 10 is We Are Better Together, from the Minnesota State Baptist Convention Choir (No. 6, 1,000). It's the first Billboard chart appearance for the act, which represents 30 churches across Minnesota.
Birmingham, Alabama's Curtiss Glenn & Freedom Movement also make their first Billboard chart visit, as their EP Ready starts at No. 9 on Top Gospel Albums (1,000 sold).