On the latest Billboard Hot 100 chart (dated Aug. 12), Louis Tomlinson becomes the fifth and final member of One Direction to score a solo top 40 hit, as “Back to You,” featuring Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals, debuts at No. 40.
Tomlinson joins (former 1D member) Zayn, plus Niall Horan, Harry Styles and Liam Payne in having earned at least one solo top 40 hit on the Hot 100.
Zayn achieved the feat first in February 2016 when “Pillowtalk” debuted at No. 1. Horan followed with “This Town,” which reached No. 20 in January 2017. Styles struck next in April, when “Sign of the Times” arrived at its No. 4 peak, and Payne joined the club last month with “Strip That Down,” featuring Quavo, which reaches a new peak this week, surging 25-16 with the Hot 100’s top digital sales gain; it gains by 99 percent to 54,000 downloads sold in the week ending July 27, according to Nielsen Music, helped by a 69-cent sale tag in the iTunes Store.
“Back to You” arrives with 35,000 first-week downloads sold, as well as 8 million U.S. streams. (Tomlinson had charted one prior solo entry: “Just Hold On,” with Steve Aoki, hit No. 52 in December.)
After “Strip” debuted, we combed through every band that has appeared on the Hot 100 (dating to the chart’s Aug. 4, 1958, inception) and found that it’s pretty rare for five members of an act to chart solo, anywhere on the ranking. Our results found that Wu-Tang Clan boasts the most group members with solo Hot 100 entries: eight. (Note that this research doesn’t include “supergroups,” like Traveling Wilburys, or one-time all-star acts, such as USA for Africa.)
Further, it’s even rarer for five members of a group to score a solo top 40 hit on the Hot 100. In fact, One Direction joins only the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac in containing, at one time in their respective histories, five members with individual top 40 hits on the Hot 100. (Of Wu-Tang Clan’s eight members with solo Hot 100 hits, only Method Man, Raekwon and Ol’ Dirty Bastard have cracked the top 40.)
In order of their first charted solo hits, Eagles’ Joe Walsh, Randy Meisner, Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Timothy B. Schmit have all hit the top 40 of the Hot 100 on their own. The band’s former guitarist, Don Felder, almost made it six members, as his sole Hot 100 hit, “Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride),” peaked at No. 43.
For Fleetwood Mac, Dave Mason, Bob Welch (both of whom weren’t members of the band during its ’70s/Rumours-era hitmaking heyday), Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie have all reached the Hot 100’s top 40. Unlike 1D, whose five members were all in the group at the same time, neither Eagles nor Fleetwood Mac saw their respective solo charting members in those groups simultaneously. (In Eagles, Schmit replaced Meisner, while, in Fleetwood Mac, Welch left before Buckingham and Nicks joined, and Mason joined after Buckingham and Nicks had departed. Though, Buckingham and Nicks later returned, but after Mason had left.)
Also of note: all six New Edition members have charted top 10 Hot 100 hits, although three did so together as a trio: Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant have notched entries individually, while Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe teamed for two top 10s as Bell Biv DeVoe.
As a group, One Direction boasts 29 Hot 100 entries (10 of which followed Zayn’s March 2015 departure); Fleetwood Mac has scored 25, including one No. 1 (“Dreams” in 1977), and Eagles, 21, including five No. 1s. “Best Song Ever” is 1D’s highest-charting Hot 100 hit, having launched and peaked at No. 2 in 2013.