Skip to main content

This Week in Billboard Chart History: In 2003, Britney Spears Was ‘In the Zone’ & at No. 1 on the Billboard 200

Plus, remembering feats by Rihanna, Belinda Carlisle & Michael Jackson.

Your weekly recap celebrating significant milestones from more than seven decades of Billboard chart history.

Dec. 3, 1988
Will to Power‘s “Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley,” the act’s lush, ’80s-styled mash-up of Peter Frampton and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ’70s rock classics, flew to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  

Dec. 4, 2010
Two weeks after “What’s My Name?” became Rihanna‘s eighth Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 – and featured artist Drake’s first – Rihanna returned to the top with her ninth leader, “Only Girl (In the World).”


Dec. 5, 1987
After tallying five top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hits with the Go-Go’s and the No. 3 solo smash “Mad About You,” Belinda Carlisle ascended to No. 1 at last with “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.” “I’m very proud of the success I’ve had, both with the band and as a solo artist,” Carlisle has told Billboard. “It’s pretty surreal for a Valley Girl to go from working as a secretary to hitting the top of the Billboard charts within a three-year period, so it definitely meant a lot to me at the time. It still makes me smile to think about it now.”

Dec. 6, 2003
Britney Spears scored her fourth Billboard 200 No. 1 in as many visits, as In the Zone launched at No. 1. The set, which spun off the top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hits “Me Against the Music,” featuring Madonna (No. 35), “Toxic” (No. 9) and “Everytime” (No. 15), followed …Baby One More Time in 1999, Oops!…I Did It Again in 2000 and Britney in 2001.

Dec. 7, 1991
Michael Jackson scored his 12th of 13 career solo Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s, as “Black or White” reached the top in just its third week on the chart.

Dec. 8, 1990
Best known for such uptempo freestyle classics as “Spring Love” and “I Wanna Be the One,” Stevie B notched his lone Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 with ballad “Because I Love You (The Postman Song).” The cut would leave its stamp at the summit for four weeks.

Dec. 9, 1989
Billy Joel provided a musical history lesson (literally, as the song made its way to classroom lesson plans) with “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” The rapid-fire lyrics helped the single became his third (and most recent) Billboard Hot 100 No. 1.