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This Week in Billboard Chart History: 30 Years Ago, Whitney Houston Ruled With ‘How Will I Know’

In 1986, the song became her second Hot 100 No. 1. Plus, remembering chart feats by Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey & Dolly Parton.

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

Feb. 15, 1986

Thirty years ago today, Whitney Houston scored the second of her 11 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s with “How Will I Know.” The track was written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, who, as Boy Meets Girl, would reach No. 5 in 1989 with “Waiting for a Star to Fall.” The pair (then married) had penned “Know” for Janet Jackson, who passed on recording it. Per Fred Bronson’s Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, Merrill said, “We were pretty upset because we thought it was perfect for [Jackson] at the time. We had written it with her completely in mind.”

Feb. 16, 1985

After arriving with the uptempo Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” Wham! ruled again with ballad “Careless Whisper.”

Feb. 17, 1996

It was 20 years ago today … that the Beatles topped Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart … as a title, anyway: “Bigger Than the Beatles,” by Joe Diffie, became the chart’s fab new No. 1.

Feb. 18, 2012

Kelly Clarkson collected her third Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, as “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” began a three-week reign (her longest).

Feb. 19, 2000

Mariah Carey scored her 15th Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 (of 18 to date) with “Thank God I Found You,” featuring Joe and 98 Degrees.

Feb. 20, 1988

After charting three uptempo freestyle top 10s, Expose celebrated its sole Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 with ballad “Seasons Change.” The girl group would impressively send its first seven singles to the chart’s top 10.

Feb. 21, 1981

Country icon Dolly Parton topped the Billboard Hot 100 with “9 to 5,” the theme to the workplace comedy film in which she starred. (Proud chart geeks, take note: the song never ranked at No. 9 nor 5 throughout its 26-week Hot 100 run.)

This Week in Billboard Chart History: 30 Years Ago, Whitney Houston Notched Her First No. 1

In 1985, the diva earned her first of 11 Hot 100 leaders. Plus, remembering chart feats by Janet Jackson, Shania Twain & Elton John.

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

Oct. 26, 1985

On this date 30 years ago today, Whitney Houston ruled the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time, as “Saving All My Love for You” rose 2-1. It reigned as her first of 11 career leaders.

Oct. 27, 1990

Well-timed around Halloween, Janet Jackson‘s “Black Cat” leapt to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Oct. 28, 2006

Ludacris shook his way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Money Maker,” featuring Pharrell.

Oct. 29, 1994

Another song that fittingly hit No. 1 around Halloween: the Cranberries began a six-week reign on Alternative Songs with one of their signature songs, “Zombie.”

Oct. 30, 1982

Australia’s Men at Work marked a milestone in their American invasion, as their debut single, “Who Can It Be Now?” rose 2-1 on the Billboard Hot 100. They’d follow with their next No. 1, “Down Under,” in early 1983. In recent years, the band’s frontman Colin Hay has toured solo regularly, calling playing shows “nourishment for the soul.”

Oct. 31, 1998

Shania Twain’s ode to (or, perhaps, demand for) me-time, “Honey, I’m Home,” became her seventh, and most recent, No. 1 on Hot Country Songs.

Nov. 1, 1975

Elton John took to the tropics for his fifth of nine career Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s: on this date 40 years ago, “Island Girl” cruised to the top.