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Ask Billboard: Lady Gaga’s Top-Selling Songs & Albums

Mother Monster's biggest hits, plus chart honors for Bruno Mars & more.

As always, 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


Hey Gary, since we just celebrated Lady Gaga’s 29th birthday (March 28), could you please provide an update of her sales to celebrate, besides her birthday, her chart success, so we can continue to give her deserved … ”applause.”


Frederick Contreras
San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic

Hey @gthot20! Any idea the current sales update for “Just Dance”? Has it passed 7 million downloads, making her the first to earn that honor twice?


Hi Frederick, @hausofezra and Little Monsters everywhere,

Gaga had a great birthday. “Thanku to so many fans and people all over the world for the beautiful birthday wishes!,” she posted on Twitter on her special day. “Please don’t send me any gifts, your love is enough!”

Five days earlier, she actually gave fans a present, in the form of a simple Twitter tease: “writing songs.”

Continuing the festivities, let’s look at Gaga’s best-selling songs and her top-selling albums in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. Has she become the first artist with two 7-million-selling downloads? Let’s see:

7.21 million, “Poker Face”; 6.98 million; “Just Dance” (feat. Colby O’Donis); 5.57 million, “Bad Romance”; 4.05 million, “Born This Way”; 3.49 million, “Paparazzi”

3.38 million, “Telephone” (feat. Beyonce); 2.92 million, “The Edge of Glory”; 2.61 million, “LoveGame”; 2.58 million, “Applause”; 2.54 million, “Alejandro”

2.31 million, “You and I”; 1.22 million, “Do What You Want” (feat. R. Kelly); 973,000, “Judas”; 803,000, “Starstruck” (feat. Space Cowboy and Flo Rida); 713,000, “Marry the Night”

So, despite her impressive sales resume, Gaga hasn’t yet hit the 7-million mark with “Just Dance,” which is currently about 20,000 short of the milestone. Only 13 songs have sold 7 million downloads or more, led by the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling”: 8.66 million. It’s actually a bit of a race as to who might become the first to double up with  7-million-sellers. The Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” is at 6.82 million.

And …

4.6 million, The Fame (2008); 2.3 million, Born This Way (2011); 1.6 million, The Fame Monster (EP) (2009); 746,000, Artpop (2013)

583,000, Cheek to Cheek (2014); 313,000, The Remix (2010); 61,000, Born This Way: The Remix (2011); 43,000, Very Gaga Holiday (EP) (2011)

In her career, Lady Gaga has sold 10.3 million albums in the U.S.

By the way, Gaga made an announcement on Twitter on Thursday. In case you missed it:


Of course, she quickly Tweeted a follow-up:


Someone who’s especially happy about her second tweet (among 45 million Gaga Twitter followers)? Bennett. The stars continue their Cheek to Cheek tour Friday (April 10) in Las Vegas.


Hi Gary,

Some fun(k) facts for you and readers …

With Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!” at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a 13th week now – becoming one of just 10 songs ever to lead for that long (or more) – featured vocalist Bruno Mars has moved up among artists with overall weeks at No. 1. Where does he rank now?

Also, I’m excited about Kendrick Lamar’s new album, To Pimp a Butterfly. Thanks to Lamar, the Hot 100 dated April 4 featured two septuagenarians: a Paul and George … but not Harrison. The Atomic Dog himself, P-Funk (Parliament and Funkadelic) founder George Clinton, returned to the Hot 100 as a featured artist on Lamar’s “Wesley’s Theory” (also featuring Thundercat), a debut at No. 91.

At 73 years and eight months, Clinton was the oldest artist on the April 4 Hot 100, having been born July 22, 1941. Paul McCartney, charting with two singles, turns 73 on June 18.

Meanwhile, the same chart included a sexagenarian: James Newton Howard, at No. 100 with “The Hanging Tree” featuring Jennifer Lawrence. Age ain’t nothing but a (chart) number …

And, not really related to any of this, but interesting that on March 25, Aretha Franklin and Elton John both celebrated birthdays, turning 73 and 68, respectively. The former will be performing in Oakland on Aug. 10 and the latter will join the weekend-long, San Francisco-based Outside Lands lineup, and I’m guessing they’ll save him for the last night, Aug. 9. Perhaps they can meet halfway (chronologically and geographically) on the morning of Aug. 10 on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and sing their 1989 hit “Through the Storm” (if only for the sake of beckoning rain for our state of, and in, drought).

Happy chart reigns,

Pablo Nelson
Oakland, California

Hi Pablo,

Yes, fun(k) stuff! Your knowledge is deep, as always, and I bet you didn’t even have to look a lot of these stats up(town).

With Mars’ latest week atop the Hot 100 – and “Funk” now just three frames from potentially tying Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day” for the most weeks spent at No. 1 (16) – he’s totaled a combined 30 weeks at the summit.

Here’s how Mars ranks among acts to spend the most total time at No. 1, dating to the Hot 100’s Aug. 4, 1958 launch. (As worth noting whenever the ’50s come into play, Elvis Presley’s career predated the Hot 100 by two years; he’s totaled 22 weeks at No. 1 in the Hot 100’s history.)

Artists With Most Weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100

79, Mariah Carey
59, The Beatles
51, Rihanna
50, Boyz II Men
47, Usher
37, Michael Jackson
36, Beyonce
34, Elton John
33, Janet Jackson
33, Katy Perry
32, Madonna
31, Whitney Houston
30, Bruno Mars
30, Paul McCartney/Wings

So, 13 is a lucky number for Mars: as “Funk” reigns for a 13th week, he matches McCartney in 13th place among acts to tally an astounding 30 weeks (or more) at No. 1 on the Hot 100.

And, notably, while Carey bests the Beatles, McCartney has still spent the most time at No. 1 of any person: 89 weeks, combining his Beatles, Wings and solo hits, including duets.

Also, very interesting notes about veteran artists enjoying chart success, including the coincidence of Franklin and John sharing birthdays (and a former top 20 Hot 100 hit). It’s up there with, in one of my favorite chart oddities, Sting and Tiffany both having been born on Oct. 2 and both having scored Hot 100 top 10s titled “All This Time.”

Another chart coincidence: as noted in “Ask Billboard” in October, director Mary Lambert directed Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” video. When the song was No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 1989, singer Mary Lambert was born. Then, last year, Madonna and (singer) Lambert shared the stage at the Grammy Awards for a performance of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love.”

And, how about this: now, Madonna shares a single title with another Lambert, Adam. As he readies the release of his new single, “Ghost Town,” Madonna is climbing the Adult Contemporary chart with her “Ghosttown.” The song rises 21-20 in its second week, becoming her highest-peaking AC hit in more than 16 years. She last ranked higher on the list with “The Power of Goodbye,” which reached No. 14 in January 1999.


Hi Gary,

I love reading “Chart Beat,” especially your “Ask Billboard” feature and the story every Wednesday when the Hot 100 is updated.

After you posted Alfie Magliano’s three videos in which he played the then-current week’s top 40 Hot 100 songs on the piano from memory, each of his installments accumulated hundreds of thousands of views. Inspired, I searched to see if anybody had done something similar for the chart-topping songs of the last five years, instead of just the biggest songs from one specific week. Unless I missed it, I’m pretty sure that nobody ever had!

So, after making sure that “Uptown Funk!” remained No. 1 for yet another week, I uploaded a video of myself playing all the No. 1 songs of this decade on piano from memory, just like Alfie. I’m bringing it to you in the hope that Billboard readers will find it a fun musical trip down recent memory lane, recalling the songs that define this era all the way through to the present day:

Jesse Rifkin

Great job, Jesse! You and Alfie could team up on tour as the new Elton John and Billy Joel. (Up to you to try to match the former’s fashion sense.)

Meanwhile, a cover of “Uptown Funk!” appears on an album new to the Billboard 200 top 10. Kidz Bop Kids’ Kidz Bop 28 debuted at No. 10, and this video has already drawn nearly 200,000 YouTube views:

Meanwhile, Harry Potter fans might want to be aware of this version, posted on March 26:

(No need to worry: considering his track record, the clip’s star likely won’t conquer any Billboard charts, either.)