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Ask Billboard: Missy Elliott’s Career Album Sales

A look at sales of her albums, as she readies her return to the Hot 100's top 40. Plus, more about Adele's "Hello."

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


Hi Gary,

I’m a huge fan of Missy Elliott, and, in celebration of her long awaited comeback with “WTF (Where They From),” featuring Pharrell Williams, I was wondering if you could please post her career album sales. Thanks in advance!

Catherine McKenzie
Kingston, Jamaica

Hi Catherine,

Elliott looks primed to pounce into the Billboard Hot 100’s top 40, and perhaps the top 25, this coming week (on the Dec. 5 chart) with her comeback track. She also graces the cover of the new Nov. 28 issue of Billboard.

(One of the cover story’s many revelations? “I never record in front of anybody,” says. Well, almost anybody. “It’s just me and my little Yorkies, Poncho and Hoodie.”)

In honor of her return, here is a look at the U.S. sales of Elliott’s albums, according to Nielsen Music:

2,142,000, Under Construction (2002)
1,767,000, Miss E …So Addictive (2001)
1,221,000, Supa Dupa Fly (1997)
1,068,000, Da Real World (1999)
705,000, This Is Not a Test! (2003)
657,000, The Cookbook (2005)

With 7.6 million albums sold in the U.S., Elliott is not only a trailblazer, but a record-holder, reigning as the best-selling female rap album artist in Nielsen Music history.


Hi Gary,

I’ve noticed that this year has had a fairly slow turnover of No. 1s on the Hot 100. Which year had the fewest No. 1 hits?


James Nicholson
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Hi James,

With Adele’s “Hello” not likely to cede the Hot 100’s summit just yet, or perhaps any time soon, especially with added momentum from Friday’s (Nov. 20) release of 25, we might stop with eight No. 1s rising to the top in 2015. A big reason why few songs have hit No. 1 this year: two smashes led for a whopping 14 and 12 weeks, respectively: Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!,” featuring Bruno Mars, and Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again,” featuring Charlie Puth.

(By the way, how cute was Adele’s kooky expression of relief after performing “Hello” on NBC’s Saturday Night Live just after midnight this morning? Beyond her ethereal vocals and heart-tugging songwriting, that’s surely key to her record-breaking appeal: her humble, self-deprecating side.)

Two other years in the Hot 100’s 57-year history have brought eight No. 1s: 1996 and 2005. But, one year had one fewer: just seven songs reached the summit in 2002. Helping keep more leaders from … leading that year were three singles that each reigned for double-digit weeks: Ashanti’s “Foolish” (10 weeks at No. 1), Nelly’s “Dilemma,” featuring Kelly Rowland (10), and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” (12).


“Hello” Gary,

Adele has topped the Hot 100 with “Hello,” which, of course, is different from Lionel Richie’s 1984 No. 1 “Hello.” She’s joined Taylor Swift, whose “Bad Blood,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, also reached No. 1 this year and is not to be confused with Neil Sedaka’s 1975 No. 1 “Bad Blood.”

Can you please provide an updated list of all the same-titled but different Hot 100 No. 1s?


Jesper Tan
Subang Jaya, Malaysia

Hi Jesper,

An interesting link between perhaps the two most-buzzworthy women in music this year, Swift and Adele.

Here’s an updated list of the different compositions but same titles to have hit No. 1 on the Hot 100, through current leader “Hello”:

“All 4 Love” / “All for Love,” Color Me Badd (1992), Bryan Adams/Rod Stewart/Sting (1994)
“Bad Blood,” Neil Sedaka (1975), Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar (2015)
“Best of My Love,” Eagles (1975), the Emotions (1977)
“Big Girls Don’t Cry,” the 4 Seasons (1962), Fergie (2007)
“Family Affair,” Sly & the Family Stone (1971), Mary J. Blige (2001)
“Good Vibrations,” the Beach Boys (1966), Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch feat. Loleatta Holloway (1991)“Hello,” Lionel Richie (1984), Adele (2015)
“Honey,” Bobby Goldsboro (1968), Mariah Carey (1997)
“I’m Sorry,” Brenda Lee (1960), John Denver (1975)
“Jump,” Van Halen (1984), Kris Kross (1992)
“My Love,” Petula Clark (1966), Paul McCartney & Wings (1973), Justin Timberlake feat. T.I. (2006)
“One More Night,” Phil Collins (1985), Maroon 5 (2012)
“One More Try,” George Michael (1988), Timmy T. (1991)
“The Power of Love,” Huey Lewis & the News (1985), Celine Dion (1994)
“Take a Bow,” Madonna (1995), Rihanna (2008)
“Venus,” Frankie Avalon (1959), the Shocking Blue & Bananarama (1970, 1986)
“Wild, Wild West” / “Wild Wild West,” the Escape Club (1988), Will Smith feat. Dru Hill & Kool Mo Dee (1999)