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This Week In Billboard Chart History: Michael Jackson Moonwalks To No. 1 With ‘Billie Jean’

This week in 1983, Jackson began a seven-week Hot 100 command with one of his signature songs. Plus, remembering key chart feats for Adele, Debbie Gibson and Britney Spears.

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

March 3, 2012
Adele‘s aptly-titled “21” collects a 21st week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, passing Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard” to become the longest-leading album by a female artist. “21” went on to total 24 weeks on top.

March 4, 1989
Debbie Gibson soared to her second Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, as ballad “Lost in Your Eyes” lifted 2-1. “Obviously, dance songs can stand the test of time, but nothing penetrates and spans all age groups, all ethnicities or all genders like a ballad,” Gibson told Billboard recently upon the 25th anniversary of the release of parent album “Electric Youth.” “One of my favorite things, to this day, is that many people come up to me and tell me that they learned how to play the piano from that song and from that sheet music, which is such an honor to me.”


March 5, 1983
Michael Jackson‘s “Billie Jean” began its seven-week command of the Billboard Hot 100, marking his longest reign of 13 No. 1s; “Black or White” would also rule for seven frames in 1991. His 13 leaders remain the most among solo males in the chart’s history. (The King of Pop also made four trips to the summit with the Jackson 5.)

March 6, 1981
Happy birthday, Chart Beat! On this date, Billboard premiered its signature charts column. Since 2009, the entire charts department has contributed to writing Chart Beat news and features, while the column also presents video interviews and the popular “Ask Billboard” reader mailbag.

March 7, 2009
Britney Spears scored her fifth Pop Songs No. 1, as “Circus” jumped 3-1.

March 8, 2003
Eleven years ago today, 50 Cent began a nine-week reign on the Billboard Hot 100 with “In Da Club.”

March 9, 1985
Slow dance time: Rockers REO Speedwagon began a three-week command of the Billboard Hot 100 with their love song “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”