Ask Billboard: Rihanna's (Quirky) Record in the Hot 100's Top 10 With 'Needed Me'

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for FENTY PUMA
Rihanna attends the Fenty Puma by Rihanna AW16 Collection during Fall 2016 New York Fashion Week on Feb. 12, 2016 in New York City.  

The track has spent 16 weeks in the top 10 despite not hitting the top five. Plus, Nirvana's career album sales.

Submit questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, tweet @gthot20

RIHANNA'S (QUIRKY) RECORD

Hey Gary,

Rihanna's single "Needed Me" has spent 16 weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 thus far, which has set a record: it has totaled the most weeks in the top 10 without going top five. It passes Kelly Clarkson's "Behind These Hazel Eyes," which peaked at No. 6 and spent 15 weeks in the top 10 in 2005. "Needed Me" has reached No. 7 on the Hot 100 so far.

Thanks,

Eric

Hi Eric,

Great observation. The stat accompanies "Needed Me" reaching No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at last, after logging eight weeks at No. 2 behind Drake's "One Dance," featuring WizKid and Kyla.

Here are the songs to spend the most time in the Hot 100's top 10 but not reach the top five:

Weeks in top 10, Title, Artist, Peak Pos., Peak Date
16, "Needed Me," Rihanna, No. 7, July 2, 2016
15, "Behind These Hazel Eyes," Kelly Clarkson, No. 6, June 11, 2005
14, "Team," Lorde, No. 6, March 15, 2014
13, "Home," Phillip Phillips, No. 6, Jan. 19, 2013
13, "I'm Yours," Jason Mraz, No. 6, Sept. 20, 2008
13, "The Way You Love Me," Faith Hill, No. 6, Jan. 13, 2001
12, "Me, Myself & I," G-Eazy x Bebe Rexha, No. 7, March 12, 2016
12, "Demons," Imagine Dragons, No. 6, Dec. 7, 2013
12, "As Long as You Love Me," Justin Bieber feat. Big Sean, No. 6, Sept. 29, 2012
12, "Tubthumping," Chumbawamba, No. 6, Nov. 29, 1997
12, "I Wanna Be Down," Brandy, No. 6, Dec. 31, 1994

Is Rihanna's record a … good one? It depends on how you look at it. "Needed Me" has spent the most time in the Hot 100's top 10 for a non-top five hit – that's good. But, that means it didn't hit the top five – that's not as good.

So, if we focus on the positive, a longevity record, it's good. Let's do that, then!

(The record for most weeks in the top 10 for any song is 32 weeks, in 1997-98, for LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live," which rose to No. 2.)

Rihanna's 'Needed Me' Rises to No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart

As for Rihanna's eight-week wait at No. 2 before crowning Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with "Needed Me," the track tied the mark for the most time spent in the chart's runner-up spot before hitting No. 1. Previously, John Legend's "All of Me" (2014) and Usher's "There Goes My Baby" (2010) also waited patiently for eight weeks each before crowning the chart.

'SLUDGEORAMA'

Hi Gary,

On Sept. 24, Nirvana's landmark sophomore album Nevermind turns 25, having been released on that date in 1991.

Could you please provide the Nielsen Music sales figures of Nirvana's top-selling albums?

Thanks in advance!

Angela
New York City

Hi Angela,

We can celebrate another Nirvana milestone three days earlier: This Wednesday, Sept. 21, marks the 25th anniversary of the band's first Billboard chart appearance. On Sept. 21, 1991, Nirvana bowed (at No. 27) on Alternative Songs with "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The track would top the Nov. 23, 1991, Alternative Songs chart and go on to a No. 6 peak on the Hot 100, on Jan. 11, 1992, all marking key dates in the breakout of grunge.

Also on Jan. 11, 1992, Nevermind reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking the first of four leaders on the list for the band.

Following the set's Oct. 12, 1991, Billboard 200 debut (at No. 144), Billboard reviewed Nevermind – Nirvana's first album with Dave Grohl – in the Oct. 19 issue: "Northwestern rock act that raised Cain on Sub Pop delivers a hard-rocking sludgeorama on major-label [Geffen] debut. Power trio crunches brutally, but never at the expense of hooks that should snag modern rockers. Lead-off track 'Smells Like Teen Spirit,' 'Come as You Are,' 'Breed' and 'Stay Away' all have enough fever to snare target audiences."

Here is a look at the U.S. sales of Nirvana's best-selling albums, according to Nielsen Music:

9.4 million, Nevermind (1991)
5.1 million, MTV Unplugged in New York (1994)
4.4 million, In Utero (1993)
2.4 million, Nirvana (2002)
1.9 million, Bleach (1989)
1.4 million, Incesticide (1992)
1.3 million, From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (1996)
546,000, With the Lights Out (2004)
376,000, Sliver: The Best of the Box (2005)
148,000, Live at Reading (2009)

Overall, Nirvana has sold 27.6 million albums in the U.S. The band ranks 14th among rock groups for the most albums sold in the U.S. since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in May 1991. The Beatles lead the category with 67.8 million sold, while just ahead of Nirvana are Guns N' Roses (a slightly higher sum than Nirvana's before also rounding off to 27.6 million). Among all acts, and above only The Beatles, country superstar Garth Brooks leads at 70.7 million.