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Ask Billboard: Rihanna’s Best-Selling Songs & Albums

A look at RiRi's biggest hits, according to Nielsen Music. Plus, more about the No. 1 run of "See You Again" & more.

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


@gthot20 @billboard With such a milestone, this would be a great time for a Rihanna sales update and/or chart facts article 🙂 Please? 🙂

A decade of Rihanna ?@hitseeker_

Hi @hitseeker_


As celebrated on Billboard.com, the first decade of Rihanna on the charts has wrapped, capping an astonishingly successful start to her career. To Rih-iterate, Rihanna, 17 years old at the time of her chart arrival, has tallied 13 Billboard Hot 100 toppers, tying Michael Jackson for the third-most most Hot 100 No. 1s all-time. They trail only The Beatles, with 20, and Mariah Carey (18).

How has Rihanna’s music sold? Here’s a look at her best-selling songs and albums over her first decade of dominance, according to Nielsen Music.

Best-Selling Songs
6.4 million, “Love the Way You Lie” (Eminem feat. Rihanna) / 5.4 million, “We Found Love” (feat. Calvin Harris) / 4.8 million, “Disturbia” / 4.7 million, “Live Your Life” (T.I. feat. Rihanna) / 4.48 million, “Stay” (feat. Mikky Ekko)

4.47 million, “Umbrella” (feat. Jay Z) / 3.844 million, “The Monster” (Eminem feat. Rihanna) / 3.837 million, “S&M” / 3.7 million, “Don’t Stop the Music” / 3.6 million, “Only Girl (In the World)”

3.52 million, “Diamonds” / 3.49 million, “Run This Town” (Jay Z, Rihanna & Kanye West) / 3.05 million, “What’s My Name?” (feat. Drake) / 3.04 million, “Rude Boy” / 3 million, “Take a Bow”

Studio Albums in the U.S.
2.8 million, Good Girl Gone Bad / 1.8 million, Loud / 1.4 million, A Girl Like Me / 1.2 million, Unapologetic / 1.15 million, Talk That Talk / 1.13 million, Rated R / 623,000, Music of the Sun

Meanwhile, as we wait for Rihanna’s next studio album, on June 19 she revealed news of a more important nature, the Clara Lionel Foundation.


Dear Gary,

You mentioned in last week’s Hot 100 story that Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” joined eight other rap songs in notching nine or more weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100. In addition to that feat, it’s also now one of the 10 longest-leading No. 1s from a motion picture.

What’s great about this list is that it contains at least one song from every decade since the ’60s, showing how important music has been to movies and how much it continues to be.

Lights, camera, chart action:

14 weeks, “I Will Always Love You,” Whitney Houston, 1992 (The Bodyguard)
13 weeks, “End of the Road,” Boyz II Men, 1992 (Boomerang)
12 weeks, “Lose Yourself,” Eminem, 2002 (8 Mile)
11 weeks, “Independent Women, Part I,” Destiny’s Child, 2000 (Charlie’s Angels)
10 weeks, “You Light Up My Life,” Debby Boone, 1977 (You Light Up My Life)
10 weeks, “Low,” Flo Rida feat. T-Pain, 2008 (Step Up 2: The Streets)
10 weeks, “Happy,” Pharrell Williams, 2014 (Despicable Me 2)
9 weeks, “See You Again,” Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, 2015 (Furious 7)
9 weeks, “Theme from ‘A Summer Place’,” Percy Faith, 1960 (A Summer Place)
9 weeks, “Endless Love,” Diana Ross & Lionel Richie, 1981 (Endless Love)

Jeff Lerner
Long Island, New York

Thanks Jeff,

Great insight, and interesting how hit songs from soundtracks can often outlast the movies from which they’re released. Not that Furious 7 hasn’t been a blockbuster – it’s taken in 1.5 billion globally – but its time has since long peaked at the box office, while its smash single is holding atop the Hot 100.

The featured artist on “Again,” meanwhile, appears to be nearing his first airplay hit as a lead artist, although with another guest familiar with the Hot 100’s No. 1 spot. Puth’s “Marvin Gaye,” featuring Meghan Trainor, is bubbling under Pop Songs and Adult Pop Songs with 191 and 111 percent gains in plays, respectively, in the week ending June 21, according to Nielsen Music. (It was originally released before “Again.”)


Hi Gary,

A celebratory six-pack of interesting items I’ve noticed on the Hot 100, and beyond, lately.

1, As you’ve been noting the longest-leading rap No. 1s in Hot 100 history, with Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again,” featuring Charlie Puth (nine weeks and counting), closing in on the record (12 weeks for The Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow”), I noticed again that Puff Daddy & Faith Evans’ “I’ll Be Missing You,” featuring 112, led for 11 weeks, in 1997. That’s more weeks than its source song spent at No. 1: The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” ruled for a still very impressive eight weeks in 1983.

2, Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” and Maroon 5’s “Sugar” are now tied for having the most consecutive weeks in the Hot 100’s top 10 from their debuts: 21. The latter ended its streak when it fell 10-12 on the June 27 chart.

3, Sweet seeing “Honey” and “Sugar” adjacent to each other. On the June 20 list, Andy Grammer’s “Honey, I’m Good.” ranked at No. 9 and Maroon 5’s “Sugar” packeted the titles back-to-back, at No. 10.

4, Jason Derulo’s fourth album, Everything Is 4, appears to have peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. (So, of course, I made this item No. 4 on this list.)

5, Outside the Hot 100, I think it’s splendid that we’ve seen so many dance music veterans enjoying success on the Dance Clubs Songs chart recently. Among them: Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder and Martha Wash.

6, Back to the June 20 Hot 100, what fun to see the coincidences surrounding the songs at Nos. 91 and 92. The tune at No. 91, “All Day,” stars a rapper (Kanye West) with a featured group of guests, including an iconic veteran: Paul McCartney. The song at No. 92, “Everyday,” also stars a rapper (A$AP Rocky), with a featured group of guests, including an iconic veteran: Rod Stewart … plus a star who now has one of the biggest Hot 100 hits of all-time: Mark Ronson (“Uptown Funk!”)

Have a good “day”!

Pablo Nelson
Oakland, California

Thanks Pablo!

As for each stat you’ve toasted …

1, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day” holds the record for most weeks tallied atop the Hot 100 – 16 – but it’s worth considering that “Every Breath You Take” deserves an honorary mention as the composition that’s combined to spend the most time all-time No. 1 – 19 weeks – thanks to the Police’s original and then-Puff Daddy and Evans’ rap reworking.

2, “Sugar” has turned out not only to be the highest-peaking hit (No. 2) from V after debuting at No. 8, but one with record-tying longevity from its start. Below Maroon 5 and Minaj’s mark, the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” spent 20 weeks in the top 10 from its debut. In fourth place? “One Sweet Day,” with 19 (its first 16 at No. 1). Notably, Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” spent its first 17 weeks in the top 10, then dropped to No. 11 and then spent another seven weeks in the top tier, making for 24 of its first 25 frames in the top 10.

3, As for the buzz-worthy “Honey, I’m Good.,” chart-watcher Jess Chambers (of Universal Music) notes the oddity that a title by an artist named Grammer contains odd grammar: a comma in the middle and a period at the end.

4, Unless it rises higher, Derulo’s album has joined the likes of songs that have peaked at their namesake positions, like Prince’s “7” hitting No. 7 on the Hot 100. Following “Want to Want Me,” which last week became No. 1 number four for Derulo on the Pop Songs chart, Everything Is 4‘s next single is “Cheyenne.”

5, Another veteran debuts on Dance Club Songs this week: Madonna, at No. 26, with “B**** I’m Madonna,” featuring Minaj. If its hits No. 1, it would become her 46th leader, extending her historic mark for the most leaders an artist has collected on any Billboard chart. (Also worth checking out: the song new at No. 50 this week, Starling Glow’s catchy “Caution Tape.”)

6, And, a great tribute to McCartney and Stewart, who, for more than 50 and 40 years now, respectively, have infused the Hot 100 with classics. With “All Day” at No. 93 and “Everyday” at No. 99 on the June 27 Hot 100, hopefully we haven’t seen the last of the legends on the chart. Regardless, their catalogs ensure that their music will continue to be purchased, streamed and heard on radio going forward, pretty much all day, every day.