Before we move on to 2013, here’s a chronological look back at the biggest Billboard chart headlines of 2012.
We’ll start with highlights from January through June, when everyone from a newborn to an act charting on Billboard rankings for five decades made news.
As the duo’s prior single, “Party Rock Anthem,” featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock, led the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks, LMFAO becomes the first duo to notch back-to-back No. 1s on the chart since OutKast (“Hey Ya!,” “The Way You Move”) in 2003-04. The acts are the only twosomes to top the Hot 100 with successive singles since Roxette in 1990-91.
Gloria Estefan becomes the first woman in the 25-year history of Billboard’s Latin Songs chart to debut at No. 1, as “Hotel Nacional” launches at the summit. The song marks her 15th Latin Songs leader, extending her mark for the most No. 1s among women dating to the chart’s 1986 inception.
Blue Ivy Carter, Beyonce and Jay-Z‘s bundle of joy brought into the world on Jan. 7, becomes the youngest person ever credited with gracing a Billboard chart, as Jay-Z’s newly-recorded studio cut “Glory,” officially billed as “featuring B.I.C.,” an abbreviation for Blue Ivy Carter, begins on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at No. 74. Proving what a sentimental musical dad he is, Jay-Z recorded his precious girl’s first seconds of life – her breathing, cries and coos – for the track.
Katy Perry notches a record-extending sixth No. 1 from her album “Teenage Dream” on the Pop Songs radio airplay survey with “The One That Got Away.” “Perry constantly keeps the water coolers buzzing with her fashions and cool videos,” Sue O’Neil, operations manager of Pop Songs reporter WKSE (Kiss 98.5) Buffalo, N.Y., said of Perry, who in November would be honored as Billboard’s Woman of the Year. “She is here to stay.”
George Strait pushes closer to Eddy Arnold’s record for the most top 10s in the 68-year history of Billboard’s Country Songs chart, as “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright” rises 11-10. The song is Strait’s 85th top 10 on the tally, a sum second only to Arnold’s 92, which the late legend collected between 1945 and 1980. Strait first reached the Country Songs top 10 with his introductory chart entry, “Unwound” (No. 6), in 1981. He has sent at least one song into the top tier each year since.
A Super Bowl-fueled super chart move for Madonna : after her halftime performance at the game on Feb. 5, “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., hikes 13-10 on the Hot 100 to become her record-extending 38th top 10. The Beatles rank second with 34 top 10s.
Following her passing on Feb. 11, Whitney Houston ‘s “I Will Always Love You” rises from its No. 7 re-entry rank to No. 3 on the Hot 100. As the track initially spent 14 weeks at No. 1 in 1992-93, it’s only the second song ever to reach the top three in separate chart runs. Chubby Checker’s iconic “The Twist” reigned at No. 1 in 1960 (one week) and again in 1962 (two).
As her signature hit soars on the Hot 100, the late Houston cedes the mark for the most weeks atop the Billboard 200 for an album by a woman. With, fittingly, its 21st week at No. 1, Adele ‘s “21” passes Houston’s soundtrack to “The Bodyguard” for the longest reign for a set by a solo female. “21” would go on to total 24 weeks on top, the longest command since Nielsen SoundScan sales data began powering the chart in 1991.
With a third week atop the Hot 100, Kelly Clarkson ‘s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” becomes the longest-leading No. 1 by an “American Idol” graduate. The rule reinforces the Fox series’ influence in its 10th anniversary year.
Fun. becomes the first rock band in more than a decade to send a debut Hot 100 hit to No. 1, as “We Are Young,” featuring Janelle Monae, ascends 3-1. The trio is the first multi-member rock band to conquer the Hot 100 with its first entry on the chart since Nickelback arrived with its four-week No. 1 “How You Remind Me” in 2001.
One Direction makes history upon reaching U.S. shores: the quintet becomes the first U.K. group to enter atop the Billboard 200 with a debut album, as “Up All Night” blasts in at No. 1. That’s an honor that even the Beatles never accomplished upon their arrival.
Lionel Richie becomes just the second artist to have topped Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop and Country Albums charts, as “Tuskegee” launches at No. 1 on the latter list. He’d led R&B/Hip-Hop Albums twice as a soloist (and four times as part of the Commodores). Only Ray Charles had previously crowned both tallies.
The Wanted becomes the first boy band to rule Pop Songs with a debut single since Hanson spent eight weeks at No. 1 with “MMMBop” in 1997, as “Glad You Came” rises 2-1. The Wanted is the first boy band to lead the list overall since O-Town topped the tally for four weeks in 2001 with “All or Nothing.”
Upon the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, Celine Dion ‘s “My Heart Will Go On,” the love theme from James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster film “Titanic,” registers its best download sum since SoundScan began tracking digital sales in 2003 (14,000, up 74%). Simultaneously, the movie’s soundtrack re-enters the Billboard 200 at No. 155 with a 53% increase in sales.
With the eventual No. 1 song of 2012, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Gotye becomes the first solo male raised in Australia to top the Hot 100 since Rick Springfield in 1981. He’s also the first Belgian-born artist to reign since the Singing Nun, with “Dominique,” in 1963. “Somebody” featured artist Kimbra, meanwhile, becomes the first female artist born in the ’90s to top the Hot 100. Kimbra (last name: Johnson) was born in New Zealand on March 27, 1990.
As Gotye reigns, his hit factors into a feat for another act: with two more debuts, including a cover of “Somebody,” the cast of Fox’s “Glee” ups its total of career charted songs on the Hot 100 to a milestone 200 titles. Amazingly, the TV troupe has reached the sum in less than three years. By year’s end, the troupe has extended its record sum to 205 Hot 100 entries.
Justin Bieber scores his first Pop Songs top 10, as “Boyfriend” bumps 12-10. He had made eight previous visits to the radio airplay chart but had never risen past No. 14, a highpoint he reached with his debut hit “One Time” in 2009.
Newly-crowned “American Idol” champion Phillip Phillips roars onto Digital Songs chart at No. 2 with “Home,” which starts with 278,000 downloads sold. The song logs the second-best digital sales week ever for an “Idol” contestant. Only Kelly Clarkson’s 2009 hit “My Life Would Suck Without You” registered a bigger frame (280,000).
Fifty years into their career, the Beach Boys are still making waves on Billboard charts. As their reunion set, “That’s Why God Made the Radio,” their first album of all-new material since 1992, bursts onto the Billboard 200 at No. 3, the group extends its span of top 10 albums to 49 years and one week. (They first graced the top 10 with “Surfin’ U.S.A.” the week of June 15, 1963.) The Beach Boys pass the Beatles (47 years, seven months and three weeks) for the longest top 10 span among groups in the chart’s history.
Carly Rae Jepsen begins a nine-week Hot 100 reign with “Call Me Maybe,” Billboard’s eventual Song of the Summer. In November, Jepsen is additionally named Billboard’s “Rising Star” of the year. That the song essentially became known to U.S. audiences after Justin Bieber shared his affinity for the song via Twitter exhibited how key social media have become in helping break hit songs.
Tomorrow: The Year In Chart Headlines, Part 2, July through December