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This Week in Billboard Chart History: In 1989, Milli Vanilli Didn’t ‘Miss’ No. 1

The duo scored its second of three Hot 100 leaders. Plus, remembering feats by Michael Jackson, Color Me Badd & Bobby McFerrin.

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

Sept. 19, 1987
Michael Jackson‘s Bad generated its first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” with Siedah Garrett. The set would produce five No. 1 singles on the Hot 100 in 1987-88, a record since matched only by Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream in 2010-11.

Sept. 20, 1969
A cartoon tune topped the Billboard Hot 100: the Archies‘ “Sugar, Sugar.” Of course, there was real talent behind the scenes: Andy Kim co-wrote the song. He’d go on to top the Hot 100 in 1974 with his own “Rock Me Gently.”

Sept. 21, 1991
After the oh-so-direct “I Wanna Sex You Up” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1991, Color Me Badd reigned with the more traditionally romantic “I Adore Mi Amor,” 25 years ago today.


Sept. 22, 1984
John Waite‘s “Missing You” topped the Billboard Hot 100. Waite, who first broke through in the ’70s as part of the band The Babys, would lead the Hot 100 again in 1989 as part of another group, singing lead on Bad English’s “When I See You Smile.”

Sept. 23, 1989
More than a year before being exposed for not singing its hits, Milli Vanilli scored its second of three Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s, as ballad “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You” reached the summit. The duo first reigned with “Baby Don’t Forget My Number” and followed “Girl” with its third and final leader, “Blame It on the Rain.” Also on Sept. 23, 1989, parent album Girl You Know It’s True crowned the Billboard 200 at last in its 27th week, for the first of seven weeks on top.

In that week’s Chart Beat column, featuring the headline “Amazing, But ‘True’,” Chart Beat founder Paul Grein noted that Milli Vanilli became just the fifth act to top the Billboard 200 with a debut album that yielded at least two Hot 100 No. 1s, joining Men at Work, Whitney Houston, George Michael and Tiffany. “The success of the Milli Vanilli album, along with that of current albums by Paula Abdul and Expose, underscores the commercial potency of youthful, dance-oriented pop,” Grein wrote, before adding a closing line that foreshadowed the pair’s eventual downfall as only the image for its music: “MTV strikes again.”

Sept. 24, 1988
Bobby McFerrin topped the Billboard Hot 100 with the a cappella pop culture smash “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” (Feel more relaxed after listening?)

Sept. 25, 2010
Sara Bareilles bounded in atop the Billboard 200 with her sophomore major-label album, Kaleidoscope Heart. The set was powered in part by the success of its lead single, “King of Anything,” a top 10 adult radio hit.