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Chart Beat Wednesday: Britney By The Numbers

Britney Spears makes topping the Billboard Hot 100 look as easy as 1, 2, '3.' Click here for a deeper look at her historic latest leader.

‘3’ IS THE NEW 1: As previously reported, Britney Spears‘ “3” rockets onto the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 1. The song’s arrival at the summit marks just the 15th song in the Hot 100’s history to open at No. 1:

Sept. 2, 1995, “You Are Not Alone,” Michael Jackson
Sept. 30, 1995, “Fantasy,” Mariah Carey
Nov. 25, 1995, “Exhale (Shoop Shoop),” Whitney Houston
Dec. 2, 1995, “One Sweet Day,” Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men
June 14, 1997, “I’ll Be Missing You,” Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112
Sept. 13, 1997, “Honey,” Mariah Carey
Oct. 11, 1997, “Candle in the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight,” Elton John
Feb. 28, 1998, “My Heart Will Go On,” Celine Dion
Sept. 5, 1998, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” Aerosmith
Nov. 14, 1998, “Doo Wop (That Thing),” Lauryn Hill
June 28, 2003, “This Is the Night,” Clay Aiken
July 10, 2004, “Believe,” Fantasia
July 2, 2005, “Inside Your Heaven,” Carrie Underwood
July 1, 2006, “Do I Make You Proud,” Taylor Hicks
Oct. 24, 2009, “3,” Britney Spears


“3” concurrently launches at No. 1 on Digital Songs and No. 49 on Radio Songs/Hot 100 Airplay. After its first week of airplay and prior to its digital release, the song debuted last week at No. 14 on the Hot 100’s Bubbling Under chart (viewable at billboard.biz).

SHORT STORY: Two weeks after the Black Eyed Peas completed the longest uninterrupted stay for an act at the top (26 weeks with “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling”), Britney Spears establishes a record somewhat opposite in nature: “3” becomes the shortest title to reach the pinnacle in the Hot 100’s 51-year history.

“3” passes the previous mark of three characters held by seven No. 1 titles, three of which feature vocals from Michael Jackson:

“Why,” Frankie Avalon, 1959
“ABC,” the Jackson 5, 1970
“War,” Edwin Starr, 1970
“Ben,” Michael Jackson, 1972
“Bad,” Michael Jackson, 1987
“SOS,” Rihanna, 2006
“Low,” Flo Rida, 2008

DIGITAL SONGS: “3” is the 10th Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 whose title features at least one digit (not including titles that spell out numbers, such as Barenaked Ladies‘ “One Week,” Roman numerals, i.e., Don McLean‘s “American Pie – Parts I & II,” or titles with a serial notation such as Eddie Kendricks‘ “Keep On Truckin’ (Part 1)”).

Here are the 10 such songs to associate numbers with the best number of all, No. 1, on the Hot 100.

“96 Tears,” ? & the Mysterians, 1966
“In the Year 2525,” Zager & Evans, 1969
“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” Paul Simon, 1976
“December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night),” the 4 Seasons, 1976
“9 to 5,” Dolly Parton, 1981
“Nothing Compares 2 U,” Sinead O’Connor, 1990
“All 4 Love,” Color Me Badd, 1992
“4 Seasons of Loneliness,” Boyz II Men, 1997
“21 Questions,” 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg, 2003
“3,” Britney Spears, 2009

“3” becomes the second-highest numeral to appear solely atop the Hot 100. Sinead O’Connor retains the honor with “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

‘3’-SOME: “3” is, fittingly, Britney Spears’ third No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

She first led with “…Baby One More Time” for two weeks beginning on the Jan. 30, 1999, chart. She scored her second No. 1, “Womanizer,” a year ago this week.

“3” also instantly becomes Spears’ 23rd Hot 100 chart entry and eighth top 10. Since her first appearance on the chart dated Nov. 21, 1998, Spears and Mariah Carey trail only Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana (30) for most chart appearances among women.

POP MUSIC: Britney Spears continues to dominate at her home radio format.

“3” bounds 38-25 on Pop Songs. Since she first appeared on the mainstream top 40 airplay tally 11 years ago this week, her 24 chart entries are the most among all artists.