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Let’s open the latest mailbag.
Happy Leap Day Saturday!
Any interesting chart feats related to Feb. 29, given that this year it falls on a Saturday, aligning with the publication date of Billboard‘s charts?
I suppose it’s fitting that the new No. 1 on the Pop Songs chart, dated Feb. 29, 2020, is “Don’t Start Now” by Dua … Lipa.
Let’s jump right into it.
Because, well … calendars … while Feb. 29 occurs every four years, it does so on a Saturday (when, as you note, Billboard charts are dated) once only every 28 years. So, in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 songs survey and the Billboard 200 albums tally, charts dated Feb. 29 are rare.
(“The next time it will happen will be in 2048,” writes fellow reader and faithful chart-watcher Larry Cohen, from Trumbull, Connecticut.)
Here’s a look at who’s been No. 1 on every Hot 100 dated Feb. 29 so far, just three in all:
1964, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” The Beatles
1992, “To Be With You,” Mr. Big
2020, “The Box,” Roddy Ricch
As so often when discussing fab feats in chart history, The Beatles factor in.
Of those three songs, one has the distinction of being the only entry to ascend to No. 1 for the first time on a Hot 100 dated Feb. 29: “To Be With You.” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was in its fifth week atop the Hot 100 (of seven total) on that date in 1964, while “The Box” this week logs its seventh week at No. 1.
As for the three Billboard 200s dated Feb. 29, there have been, again, just three total (since the chart became a combined stereo and mono ranking in 1963). Here are the No. 1s on those charts:
1964, Meet the Beatles!, The Beatles
1992, Ropin’ the Wind, Garth Brooks
2020, Changes, Justin Bieber
Again … The Beatles! Plus, the artist who’s the all-time best-selling album act since Nielsen Music/MRC Data began tracking data in 1991: Garth Brooks, with 72.4 million albums sold in the United States. The Beatles rank second, with 70.5 million.
Joining their ranks is another superstar in Justin Bieber, who scores a first: as it opens atop the Billboard 200, Changes is the first album to debut at No. 1 on a chart dated Feb. 29. Meet the Beatles! was in its third of 11 total weeks at No. 1 on Feb. 29, 1964, while Ropin’ the Wind was in its 14th of 18 total frames in charge on that date in 1992.
This time of year is clearly Bieber’s: Not only does Feb. 29 now grant him an unprecedented chart achievement, but he celebrates turning 26 a day later, this Sunday, March 1.
As for other “leap charts,” another Bieber and Brooks connection: Bieber is currently No. 1 on Hot Country Songs and Brooks was atop the Feb. 29, 1992-dated chart. Bieber’s “10,000 Hours,” with Dan + Shay,” rules for a 20th week, while Brooks’ “What She’s Doing Now” was in its third of four total terms on top in 1992.
Over on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, “Baby Hold On to Me,” by Gerald Levert and his father, Eddie, tallied its lone week at No. 1 on Feb. 29, 1992.
Only one song in the Hot 100’s history with the word “leap” in its title has ever charted: “(Doin’ the) Lovers Leap,” by Webb Pierce. It reached No. 93 in May 1960 (a leap year, of course).
On Hot Country Songs, one song with “leap” in its title has leapt all the way to No. 1: Lionel Cartwright’s “Leap of Faith,” in September 1991. (If only it could’ve waited for the chart dated Feb. 29, 1992.)
As for the biggest chart leaps, Taylor Swift’s “Me!,” featuring Brendon Urie, made the greatest one-week positional gain on the Hot 100 when it rocketed 98 ranks, from No. 100 to No. 2, last May. Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” holds the mark for the most impressive leap to No. 1, as it made a 96-rung flight, from No. 97, in February 2009.
The biggest-ever weekly leaps on the Billboard 200? Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait soared from the anchor No. 200 spot to No. 7 in July 1970, marking the chart’s greatest vault overall (193 places), while The Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death bounded 176-1 (175 spots) in April 1997 for the largest jump to No. 1.
Explaining the latter lift, Fred Bronson wrote in the April 12, 1997, Chart Beat column, in a section headlined “B.I.G.G.E.S.T.,” “The posthumous release from The Notorious B.I.G. debuted at No. 176 last issue because of street-date violations, preventing it from entering at the top, but allowing it to break the record set by Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy, which jumped 173-1 in December 1994. That album debuted at No. 55 due to a release on vinyl. It then fell to No. 173 and rose to No. 1 as the CD was issued.”
Meanwhile, 29 days this month doesn’t seem to be enough for one artist. And, given that he broke the record for the most weeks at No. 1 for a song in the Hot 100’s history, he might be able to set the mark for the longest February, too:
NEW SONG FEBRUARY 30TH!!
— nope (@LilNasX) February 25, 2020