As DJ Khaled‘s “Wild Thoughts,” featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, launches at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (dated July 8), a female artist ranks in the top five after a 12-week break. Rihanna is the first woman to crash the top five since Taylor Swift, whose “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker),” with Zayn, placed at No. 3 (after peaking at No. 2) on the chart dated April 8.
How long had it previously been since no women ranked in the Hot 100’s top five for at least 12 consecutive weeks?
First, this year’s 12-week break marks the longest gap of no solo women in the top five in nearly 35 years: From the charts dated June 12 through Sept. 11, 1982, no female soloists ranked in the bracket for 14 straight weeks. Still, two hits in that span belonged to groups with women singing lead: The Human League‘s No. 1 “Don’t You Want Me” and Fleetwood Mac‘s No. 4-peaking “Hold Me.”
But, the last time that women were entirely absent from the Hot 100’s top five for at least 12 weeks before the interlude between Swift and Rihanna? Nearly 45 years ago. From charts dated Aug. 19 through Nov. 11, 1972, women ceded the top five to male soloists or all-male groups for 13 weeks in a row. After Roberta Flack‘s “Where Is the Love,” with Donny Hathaway, spent its lone week peaking at No. 5 that Aug. 12, the top five was fully a boys club until, appropriately, Helen Reddy‘s “I Am Woman” roared 8-4 that Nov. 18, on its way to No. 1.
The 12-week break of women in the top five until the latest Hot 100 is further evidence that men are dominating Billboard charts in 2017. On the April 29-dated Hot 100, no women ranked in the top 10 for the first time since 1984. Plus, “Wild Thoughts” is just the seventh top five Hot 100 hit this year by a female artist (sporting either lead or featured billing). That’s out of 23 total top fives, or a share of 30 percent — the total is down from 35 percent of all top five songs through this point in 2016; 39 percent in 2015; and 40 percent in 2014. (Rihanna is the only female artist with two top five Hot 100 hits in 2017; her “Love on the Brain” reached No. 5 in March.)
Still, streaks of hits by men and women can be cyclical, as it was as recent as late 2014/early 2015 that women tied the longest span of Hot 100 No. 1s by solo females: 19 weeks in a row (thanks to two leaders by Swift sandwiched around one by Meghan Trainor).
Meanwhile, on the Billboard 200 albums chart, while women missed the No. 1 target for 31 consecutive weeks until the past three weeks, marking the longest streak of no women atop the chart since a 34-week run in 2004-05 (between reigns by Ashlee Simpson and Mariah Carey), they’ve since reclaimed the throne, thanks to consecutive No. 1 debuts by Halsey, Katy Perry and, this week, Lorde.