Skip to main content

Ask Billboard: Canada Heats Up the U.S. Charts

Justin Bieber & The Weeknd fly the Canadian flag atop the Hot 100 & Billboard 200, respectively.

As always, 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


Hi Gary,

It’s marvelous that Justin Bieber finally has a No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. I think “What Do You Mean?” is an excellent example of his vocal chops and lyrical strength.

Although I realize that The Weeknd first hit the top spot in the midst of OMI’s six-week reign, we now see one Canadian artist replacing another at No. 1 on the Hot 100. Is it rare for two Canadians to score back-to-back Hot 100 No. 1s? (Justin, from London, and The Weeknd, from Scarborough, are both from Ontario.)


And, with Bieber at No. 1 and The Weeknd at Nos. 2 and 3, the top three positions on the Hot 100 are currently occupied by Canadian acts.

Plus, when was the last time a Canadian was No. 1 on the Hot 100 while another Canadian was leading the Billboard 200, like Bieber and The Weeknd, with Beauty Behind the Madness, this week?

In all, a great time for Canadians on the charts, as Bieber and The Weeknd follow forbearers like the Guess Who, Anne Murray, Alannah Myles, Alanis Morissette, Shania Twain and others.

Pablo Nelson

Oakland, California


Hi Pablo,

Many readers this week noted how two Canadians are reigning at the (great white) northern part of the Hot 100 and Billboard 200.

It certainly is uncommon for a Canadian to succeed another at No. 1 on the Hot 100. Still, we’ve seen other such baton-passings. On the Feb.12, 1994 Hot 100, “All for Love” by Bryan Adams (of Kingston, Ontario), Rod Stewart and Sting fell to No. 2 after three weeks on top. It was replaced by “The Power of Love” by Celine Dion (Charlemagne, Quebec).

Ask Billboard: Avril Lavigne’s Best-Selling Songs & Albums

Then, on the May 5, 2007 Hot 100, Timbaland’s “Give It to Me” dropped to No. 2 after two weeks at No. 1. The song features Justin Timberlake and Victoria, British Columbia’s Nelly Furtado. The new leader that week: “Girlfriend,” by Avril Lavigne, of Belleville, Ontario.

As for the last instance of Canadian-born acts monopolizing the tops of the Hot 100 and Billboard 200? Bieber was involved then, too. On July 7, 2012, Carly Rae Jepsen‘s “Call Me Maybe” was running up its nine-week reign on the Hot 100 (on its way to becoming the song of the summer of 2012). On the Billboard 200 that week, Bieber’s Believe debuted at No. 1. It’s his most recent studio album; his new set, featuring “Mean,” arrives Nov. 13.

Speaking of that forthcoming LP … one more key Canadian chart achievement this week:

Hi Gary,

With The Weeknd debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 412,000 album equivalent units for Beauty Behind the Madness, according to Nielsen Music, and Drake previously starting with 535,000 units for If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, the top two opening tallies this year are by Canadians. So far, that is … It will be interesting to see the first-week of numbers of Bieber’s new album.


Robert Nongrum

Calgary, Alberta



Hi Gary,

I just read last week’s “Ask Billboard” email from Larry Cohen regarding artists in the Hot 100’s top 40 at the same time of songs that name-check those acts. I’d like to add another combo to the list.  

Such was the timing when Shawn Mullins’ “Lullaby,” which eventually peaked at No. 7, very coolly referenced Sonny and Cher … while Cher was simultaneously climbing the Hot 100 with “Believe.” The latter would go on to become the No. 1 song of the year for 1999.


Christopher Brisson


Thanks for Cher-ing, Christopher.

Actually, let’s stay in 1998 for a moment. (Ahem: What’s this Internet thing? … What’s the deal with that Seinfeld finale? … And, well, whose boy is it, Brandy’s or Monica’s?!)

1998 wasn’t just big for Sonny and Cher, it was also notable for “Sunny” and Cher, and thanks to another Shawn: Shawn Colvin. That year, the folk-pop singer/songwriter continued on the Hot 100 with her signature hit “Sunny Came Home,” which had peaked earlier at No. 7.

Back in 2015 (wait, we never found out, did we: who won, Brandy or Monica?), Larry’s email spurred another response. From Larry again:

Hi Gary,

One other case of a song paying tribute to a recording artist who was simultaneously in the Hot 100’s top 40 with his own hit (and an example that maybe sums up this topic better than any other): in late 1984 and early 1985, Rick Springfield charted with “Bruce,” a song about how people had confused him with Bruce Springsteen due to their similar-sounding last names. At the same time, the Boss was in the top 40 with “Born in the U.S.A.”

“Bruce” peaked at No. 27 and Bruce himself, No. 9.



@gthot20 How many albums have charted on the Billboard 200 all-time?

Mo ?@ambamoma


Hi Mo,

Fun question. Since the Billboard 200 became an all-encompassing chart, combining mono and stereo sales, on Aug. 17, 1963, the number of charted albums, through the latest list, dated Sept. 19, is …

More than 33,000 charted Billboard 200 albums.

Amazingly, although perhaps not surprisingly, given their legacies, three acts boast ranks on both the Aug. 17, 1963 and Sept. 19, 2015 Billboard 200 charts. Can you name them? (Answer at end.)

The Billboard 200 actually started in its earliest form on March 24, 1956. Since then, the 1961 soundtrack to the feature film version of the Broadway musical West Side Story holds the record for the most weeks at No. 1: 54 (or a year and two weeks). Michael Jackson’s Thriller (37 weeks beginning on Feb. 26, 1983) and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours (31 weeks, April 2, 1977) follow.

Pink Floyd’s 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon famously holds the mark for the most chart weeks: 914, tallying its most recent frame last week (Sept. 12). (It would surely have even more weeks if catalog albums had been eligible for the chart prior to Dec. 5, 2009.)

And, the act with the most charted Billboard 200 titles? Elvis Presley. With 130, he outranks Frank Sinatra, second with 84.

Speaking of …

Answer: Presley, Sinatra and Barbra Streisand are the only artists who can claim spots on both the Aug. 17, 1963 and current Billboard 200 charts, spanning more than 52 years. This week, the icons place at Nos. 56, 148 and 185 with Elvis Presley Forever, Ultimate Sinatra and the resurgent Partners, respectively.