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Ask Billboard: Shakira’s Biggest Hot 100 Hits

This week's mailbag looks at the top chart hits by ths week's Billboard cover act, Pharrell's rapid-fire rise to No. 1 on Radio Songs and Demi Lovato's career song and album sales.

As always, submit your 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 questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20


@gthot20 Shakira’s new era just begun, can you update her sales in USA? Her best-selling albums and singles … Thanks

Luiz Eduardo Galdino @galdinocpv

Hi Luiz,


Shakira fans (this author included) will surely want to grab a copy of this week’s Billboard magazine featuring the superstar on the cover. In the issue, dated March 15, Billboard’s Leila Cobo delves into Shakira’s new self-titled album, due March 25; her excitement about being a coach on NBC’s “The Voice” (a role she heartily embraced even though English isn’t her native language); and, how she’s now mixing music and motherhood, as her son, Milan, was born in January 2013.

And, in what’s fast becoming a buzzed-about quote, Shakira shares boyfriend Gerard Pique’s take on her videos, as her new steamy clip for “Can’t Remember to Forget You” (now up to 177 million worlwide YouTube views and counting) famously features Rihanna: “He no longer lets me do videos with men. I have to do them with women (laughs). It’s more than implied that I can’t do videos like I used to. It’s out of the question – which I like, by the way. I like that he protects his turf and he values me, in a way that the only person that he would ever let graze my thigh would be Rihanna.”

Where was I? Oh right … yes … Shakira’s music! “Forget” has become her sixth top 15 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, having reached No. 15 last month. It’s sold 376,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The sum doesn’t rank it among her five best-selling songs, however.

Let’s run down Shakira’ highest digital song sales, as well as her top U.S. album sales, according to SoundScan:

Best-Selling Digital Songs
3,553,000, “Hips Don’t Lie” (feat. Wyclef Jean)
1,812,000, “She Wolf”
1,763,000, “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” (feat. Freshlyground)
1,419,000, “Beautiful Liar” (Beyonce & Shakira)
973,000, “La Tortura” (feat. Alejandro Sanz)

Best-Selling Albums
3,526,000, “Laundry Service” (2001)
1,745,000, “Oral Fixation, Vol. 2” (2005)
1,012,000, “Fijacion Oral: Vol. 1” (2005)
912,000, “Donde Estan Los Ladrones?” (1998)
596,000, “Pies Descalzos” (1996)

And, how about we also rank her five biggest Hot 100 hits? Her history on the chart dates to Oct, 27, 2001, when she first appeared on the list with “Whenever, Wherever,” which debuted at No. 74. (She’d made her overall Billboard chart debut the week of March 9, 1996, when “Estoy Aqui” entered Latin Pop Songs on its way to a four-week run at No. 1.)

Here’s how her top five Hot 100 smashes rank:

Shakira’s Biggest Hot 100 Hits
1, “Hips Don’t Lie” (feat. Wyclef Jean) (No. 1 peak, two weeks, 2006)
2, “Whenever, Wherever” (No. 6, 2001)
3, “Beautiful Liar” (Beyonce & Shakira) (No. 3, 2007)
4, “She Wolf” (No. 11, 2009)
5, “Underneath Your Clothes” (No. 9, 2002)

This ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. Positions are based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 having the greatest value and weeks at lower positions proportionately less. Due to various changes in chart rules and methodology throughout the years, and to ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from all years, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference in chart turnover rates from those periods.

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As always, submit your 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 questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20


Hi Gary,

I noticed an interesting stat in your Wednesday Hot 100 story about Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” topping the Radio Songs chart in just its sixth week. You pointed out that Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” was the last song to hit No. 1 in fewer weeks, taking just five in 2001.

I assume not too many songs have exploded to No. 1 incredibly quickly. Is there a list you can provide? I feel like Madonna’s “Erotica” and Janet Jackson’s “That’s the Way Love Goes” may have pulled it off, back in the early ’90s. Not sure who else.
I love “elite lists” like this.
Thanks mucho!
John Stardom

Hi John,

That “Happy” is soaring so swiftly points to its wide appeal, as it’s currently scaling a whopping 10 Billboard radio airplay charts, in addition to its Radio Songs coronation this week: R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay (No. 2), Adult R&B Songs (No. 3), Pop Songs, Rhythmic Songs (No. 4 on each), Adult Pop Songs (No. 9), Adult Contemporary (No. 17), Adult Alternative Songs (No. 22), Dance/Mix Show Airplay (No. 23), Latin Airplay (No. 34) and Latin Pop Songs (No. 38).

Six weeks to No. 1 on Radio Songs is incredibly impressive. As noted on Wednesday, “Happy” ties Eminem’s “The Monster,” featuring Rihanna (2013), and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” (2011) for the fastest trip to the top this decade. Still, it’s not a record. Here are the songs that reached the summit the fastest dating to the Nielsen BDS-based chart’s December 1990 inception:

Weeks to No. 1, Title Artist, Year
3, “I’ll Be There,” Mariah Carey, 1992
3, “Black or White,” Michael Jackson, 1991
4, “Dreamlover,” Mariah Carey, 1993
4, “That’s the Way Love Goes,” Janet Jackson, 1993
4, “Rush Rush,” Paula Abdul, 1991
5, “Survivor,” Destiny’s Child, 2001
5, “No Scrubs,” TLC, 1999
5, “I’ll Be There for You,” the Rembrandts, 1995
5, “I’ll Make Love to You,” Boyz II Men, 1994
5, “I Will Always Love You,” Whitney Houston, 1992
5, “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You,” Bryan Adams, 1991

Good guesses, by the way, re: Madonna and Janet Jackson. “That’s the Way Love Goes” is in the list above, while “Erotica” blasted in at No. 2 (Oct. 17, 1992). That’s where the latter song peaked, however, in its first two weeks. Still, it holds the record for the highest starting point in the chart’s archives. Meanwhile, since 1995, just two songs have launched in the top 10: Janet Jackson’s “All for You” (No. 9, 2001) and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” (No. 6, 2011).

What’s noticeable is that all but two of the songs above crowned Radio Songs prior to Dec. 5, 1998, when the chart’s panel expanded from mainstream top 40 airplay-only to all formats, from pop, rock and country to R&B/hip-hop, Latin, dance and more. Thus, it was easier to vault to No. 1 quickly when a song had to conquer only one format. Now, it’s actually so much more noteworthy that a song can hit No. 1 in just six weeks when it has so many more genres to win over.

So, let’s also look at the fastest climbs to No. 1 since Dec. 5, 1998, which gives a more level playing field to “Happy”:

5, “Survivor,” Destiny’s Child, 2001
5, “No Scrubs,” TLC, 1999
6, “Happy,” Pharrell, 2014
6, “The Monster,” Eminem Featuring Rihanna, 2013
6, “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga, 2011
6, “Lose Yourself,” Eminem, 2002
6, “Dilemma,” Nelly Featuring Kelly Rowland, 2002
6, “Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of…),” Lou Bega, 1999

Next week, meanwhile, will bring more happy chart headlines for Pharrell, as his second album, and first since “In My Mind” debuted and peaked at No. 3 way back in 2006, is set to debut in the upper reaches of the Billboard 200.

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As always, submit your 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 questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20


Hi Gary,

Demi Lovato is currently touring with Little Mix and Fifth Harmony on the Neon Lights Tour, and it’s usual that when artists tour, their sales increase. So, could you please update us on Demi Lovato’s U.S. sales?

Thank You!

Estenio Netto
Curitiba, Brazil

Hi Estenio,

Not only is Lovato gaining exposure through her tour, she’s enjoying two current hit singles: “Neon Lights” has reached No. 36 on the Hot 100 and rises 17-16 on Pop Songs this week, while her version of “Let It Go,” from “Frozen,” climbed to No. 38 on the Hot 100. (Idina Menzel’s “Go,” also from “Frozen,” pushes 18-17 on the Hot 100.)

And, just think, if Lovato, not Menzel, had performed “Go” on the Oscars Sunday, we’d likely be referring to her as Darren Loing.

Travoltafying aside (and probably completely passé by now; we gave props, by the way, to John Travolta in this week’s Hot 100 rundown, recapping his solid track record on the chart in the ’70s), let’s look at Lovato’s best-selling songs and her U.S. album sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan:

Digital Sales
2,056,000, “Give Your Heart a Break”
1,901,000, “Heart Attack”
1,460,000, “Skyscraper”
1,031,000, “Don’t Forget”
899,000, “La La Land”
884,000, “This Is Me” (with Joe Jonas)
851,000, “Here We Go Again”
666,000, “Let It Go”
574,000, “Get Back”
433,000, “Neon Lights”

Album Sales
534,000, “Don’t Forget” (2008)
496,000, “Here We Go Again” (2009)
492,000, “Unbroken” (2011)
352,000, “Demi” (2013)

Including movies in which she’s starred, the 2006 “Camp Rock” soundtrack has sold 1,334,000, while the soundtrack to 2008 sequel “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” has sold 265,000.

Lovato also shined on this week’s episode of Fox’s “Glee,” as she, along with Adam Lambert and “Glee” regulars Kurt, Tina, Artie, Blaine, Sam, Rachel and Santana, covered Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On.”

Wilson Phillips’ original version of “Hold On” marked the trio’s Billboard chart debut 24 years ago this month, when it entered the Hot 100 dated March 17, 1990. The song – produced by and co-written with Glen Ballard, who, five years later, would co-write and -produce Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” – topped the June 9, 1990, tally. That December, it was crowned Billboard’s No. 1 song of the entire year.