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Lorde Links Longest Alternative Songs Reign By A Woman With ‘Royals’

The song by the 16-year-old New Zealand singer/songwriter passes Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" for the longest command for a No. 1 by a lead female soloist.

With the appropriately titled “Royals,” Lorde scores the longest domination on Billboard’s Nielsen BDS-based Alternative Songs chart by a woman (credited as a lead artist). “Royals” leads the list for a sixth week, passing the five-week reign of Alanis Morissette’s fellow U.S. breakthrough hit “You Oughta Know” in 1995.

The honor is the latest on what’s quickly becoming a deep resume for “Royals.” When it reached the Alternative Songs summit five weeks ago, it became the first song by a lead solo female to crown the chart since Tracy Bonham’s “Mother Mother” in 1996. On last week’s Billboard Hot 100, “Royals” roared 8-3 with top Digital Gainer accolades; it’s sold 991,000 downloads to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The track has topped the Hot Rock Songs chart for two weeks and counting.


As “Royals” bests “You Oughta Know,” here’s a look at the longest-leading No. 1s by lead solo women in the Alternative Songs chart’s 25-year history (during which only 10 tracks by women in lead roles have topped the tally):

Weeks At No. 1, Title, Artist, Chart Date Reached No. 1
Six (to-date), “Royals,” Lorde, Aug. 24, 2013
Five, “You Oughta Know,” Alanis Morissette, July 22, 1995
Three, “Mother Mother,” Tracy Bonham, June 8, 1996
Three, “Love and Anger,” Kate Bush, Dec. 9, 1989
Two, “Ironic,” Alanis Morissette, March 16, 1996
Two, “God,” Tori Amos, March 19, 1994
One, “Hand in My Pocket,” Alanis Morissette, Oct. 14, 1995
One, “Blood Makes Noise,” Suzanne Vega, Oct. 10, 1992
One, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Sinead O’Connor, May 12, 1990
One, “Nothing Compares 2 U,” Sinead O’Connor, March 31, 1990

(Muse’s “Madness” holds the record for the longest rule on Alternative Songs among all acts: 19 weeks in 2012-13. Among women in featured roles, Kimbra has spent the most time at No. 1: 12 weeks via Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” last year.)

“It’s weird, because obviously when I wrote it I had no idea it would be a big deal or anything,” Lorde (real name: Ella Yelich-O’Connor) says of “Royals.” “I just wrote something that I liked and that I thought was cool.

“It’s strange, particularly with my lyrics … there’s a quite distinctive and personal [tone] and people are sitting in their bedrooms, covering it on YouTube.

“It’s been awesome, though.”