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Ask Billboard: Drake’s Career Sales & More

If you're reading this, it's about Drake's best-selling songs & albums, as well as achievements for The Chainsmokers & Twenty One Pilots.

Submit questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to 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,

In the past year, Drake has dominated the charts, and many of his stats and records have been noted.  But, one thing that hasn’t is his overall career stats. He didn’t just become a popular artist this year, so it’d be great if you were to update his career sales, giving us a look at his overall career.

Eric M.

Hi Eric,

As much as Drake has reigned in 2016, his chart career dates to April 25, 2009, when “Best I Ever Had” debuted (at No. 13) on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs’ Bubbling Under chart. Seven years later, here’s how his career album and sales look, according to Nielsen Music:

2,338,000, Take Care (2011); 1,830,000, Thank Me Later (2010); 1,783,000, Nothing Was the Same (2013); 1,441,000, Views (2016); 1,233,000, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (2015); 785,000, So Far Gone (EP; 2009); 564,000, What a Time to Be Alive (with Future; 2016)

Drake is nearing 10 million albums sold in the U.S., with his sum currently at 9,979,000. On the Billboard 200, all six of his LPs have debuted at No. 1 (after the So Far Gone EP bowed and peaked at No. 6). Views is his only set to lead for more than a week: 12 to date.

And, here are Drake’s …

Best-selling downloads
3,740,000, “Forever” (with Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem); 3,487,000, “The Motto” (feat. Lil Wayne); 3,095,000, “What’s My Name?” (Rihanna feat. Drake); 2,766,000, “Best I Ever Had”; 2,718,000, “Hold On, We’re Going Home” (feat. Majid Jordan); 2,696,000, “Right Above It” (Lil Wayne feat. Drake); 2,569,000, “Take Care” (feat. Rihanna)

2,535,000, “Started From the Bottom”; 2,480,000, “F**kin Problems” (A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar); 2,350,000, “Headlines”; 2,218,000, “Hotline Bling”; 2,130,000, “Love Me” (Lil Wayne feat. Drake); 2,045,000, “Moment 4 Life” (Nicki Minaj feat. Drake)

By the way, “One Dance” (featuring WizKid and Kyla) is Drake’s 16th-best-selling song, at 1,813,000 downloads sold to date.

Notably, Drake is close to becoming the soloist with the most entries ever on the Billboard Hot 100. He’s up to 126, trailing only Lil Wayne, who has 132. The artists are bested only by the cast of Fox’s Glee, with 207. (Elvis Presley is the Hot 100’s only other member of the 100 hits club, with 108, and with his career having predated the chart’s Aug. 4, 1958, launch by more than two years.)

Another honor could soon be coming Drake’s way, as “One Dance” is primed to earn top Song of the Summer honors. Just after Labor Day, we’ll find out if it was officially the top hit of summer ’16.



Thanks for all the trivia in Monday’s Chart Beat column (Aug. 22) about The Chainsmokers hitting No. 1 on the Hot 100 with “Closer,” featuring Halsey.

When you mentioned that Roberta Flack (“The Closer I Get to You,” No. 2, 1978) and Maxi Priest (“Close to You,” No. 1, 1990) had similarly-titled hits, I immediately flashed back 25 years and thought about the chart success of their duet: not a “close” or “closer” tune, but still a good piece of “music,” and a top 10 Hot 100 hit: their “Set the Night to Music” hit No. 6 in late 1991.

I also think the chorus of “Closer” is already classic. It’s the kind of lyric that audiences will be singing out loud when the duo’s Andrew Taggart (and Halsey, if she guests) points the microphone in their direction. And, cool that Taggart sings on it, a first for one of their hits. Glad the tune is No. 1.

The Chainsmokers & Halsey’s ‘Closer’ Climbs to No. 1 on Hot 100

It seems that Halsey could still be at No. 1 for her Sept. 29 birthday. Meanwhile, the other half of the duo, Alex Pall, shares a birthday with another dance chart-topper: Janet Jackson, who was born May 16, 1966. Pall debuted on that date in 1985. And Halsey? Born on the same day as Jerry Lee Lewis. The rock pioneer will turn 81 on Sept. 29; that day, Halsey will be feeling 22.

And, while no songs with the word “chain” in their titles have ever topped the Hot 100, two have gotten … close: the No. 2-peaking “Chain Gang” by Sam Cooke (1960) and “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin (1968). Just last year (which was complicated for him), Nick Jonas took “Chains” to No. 13. He then got … close to that peak with “Close,” a No. 14 hit, featuring Tove Lo, last month.

Plus, rapper 2 Chainz has peaked as high as No. 3 on the Hot 100, as featured on Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty” in 2014.

Very much a non-smoker,
Pablo Nelson
Oakland, California

Thanks Pablo (from another very much non-smoker).

In addition to Halsey, another alt act gets a nod on “Closer”: Blink-182 makes its first (unofficial) trip to the top of the Hot 100 … via the song’s lyric (sung by Halsey), “Stay, and play that Blink-182 song / that we beat to death in Tucson.” Blink’s 2016 comeback continues, with the group having topped the Alternative Songs airplay chart last month for the first time in 12 years with “Bored to Death.” (Among its own songs, Blink-182 hit a high of No. 6 on the Hot 100 with “All the Small Things” in 2000.)

Before The Chainsmokers, another male duo had a chain-related hit, multiple times. The Righteous Brothers took the iconic “Unchained Melody” to No. 4 on the Hot 100 in 1965. In 1990, thanks to its synch (before we really called them synchs) in the great movie Ghost, two versions of the song charted simultaneously: the original, rereleased on vinyl, hit No. 13, while a new recording, released as a cassette single and a 45, rose to No. 19.

As for more duos charting concurrent hits …


Hi Gary,

This week on the Hot 100 (dated Sept. 3), two sets of duos chart two songs each in the top 10: The Chainsmokers, with “Closer,” the chart’s new No. 1, and “Don’t Let Me Down” (featuring Daya), at No. 8, and Twenty One Pilots, with “Heathens” (No. 4) and “Ride” (No. 6).

Has that ever happened before, two duos doubling with two top 10s each in the same week?

Raditya Gunardisurya
Jakarta, Indonesia

Hi Raditya,

Great observation.

First, it’s rare enough for duos to chart two Hot 100 top 10s simultaneously at all. Before The Chainsmokers began their twofer on the Aug. 20 chart and Twenty One Pilots followed, starting on the Aug. 27 tally, only four duos in the Hot 100’s entire 58-year history had achieved the feat. Thus, The Chainsmokers and Twenty One Pilots are just the fifth and sixth duos ever with simultaneous top 10 Hot 100 hits. That’s out of an even 100 (how cool) acts overall that have ever tallied concurrent top 10s dating to the Hot 100’s inception. (Usher has totaled the most weeks with simultaneous top 10s: 41. 50 Cent and Rihanna follow with 38 each.)

As for duos, the first doubled up in the top 10 for a week each in 1958 and 1961: pop pioneers The Everly Brothers, the only duo to score such success with two different pairs of songs (see below). No duo charted concurrent top 10s for another 42 years, until OutKast earned the honor for 17 weeks (the most for a duo) in 2003-04.

The four most recent duos to log two concurrent Hot 100 top 10 have all done so this decade. Prior to The Chainsmokers and Twenty One Pilots, LMFAO boasted two simultaneous top 10s for 11 weeks in 2011-12. In 2013, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis did for six.

But (to finally answer the question), the past two weeks (on the charts dated Aug. 27 and Sept. 3), thanks to The Chainsmokers and Twenty One Pilots, mark the first time that two sets of duos have charted two songs each in the top 10 in the Hot 100’s history.

The two twosomes are clearly two of the year’s biggest success stories. And, that The Chainsmokers have ascended without a full-length album or a proper video for “Closer” (so far) reinforces the appeal of their songs on their own merits. Meanwhile, Twenty One Pilots already made history as the first alternative duo or group with two Hot 100 top 10s in the same week.

(Honorable mention, by the way, to Darryl Hall and John Oates. While they never charted simultaneous Hot 100 top 10s, they have scored the most No. 1s, six, and top 10s, 16, among duos. Additional power couples in the chart’s archives include Air Supply, the Carpenters, Roxette, Simon & Garfunkel and Wham!, among others.)

From Elvis & The Beatles to Twenty One Pilots: Rock Acts With Simultaneous Hot 100 Top 10s

Back to the original question, and to recap fully, here’s a look at each duo that has logged simultaneous Hot 100 hits, and the songs with which they notched the rare distinction:

The Everly Brothers
1958: “Bird Dog” & “Devoted to You” (for one week)
1961: “Ebony Eyes” & “Walk Right Back” (one week)

2003-04: “Hey Ya!” & “The Way You Move” (feat. Sleepy Brown) (17 weeks)

2011-12: “Party Rock Anthem” (feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock) & “Sexy and I Know It” (11 weeks)

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
2013: “Thrift Shop” (feat. Wanz) & “Can’t Hold Us” (feat. Ray Dalton) (six weeks)

The Chainsmokers
2016: “Closer” (featuring Halsey) & “Don’t Let Me Down” (featuring Daya) (three weeks through Sept. 3)

Twenty One Pilots
2016: “Heathens” & “Ride” (two weeks through Sept. 3)