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Weekly Chart Notes: Bruno Mars, Rihanna, ‘Halo’

Mars joins the company of such contemporaries as Kanye West and Timbaland - but also earlier stars including Shaun Cassidy and Andy Gibb.

MARS ATTACKS: After his arrest Sunday (Sept. 19) on suspicion of cocaine possession, Bruno Mars instead makes enviable headlines on the Billboard Hot 100, where “Just the Way You Are” ascends 3-1.

The song is Mars’ first No. 1 as a lead artist, following his turn as a featured artist on B.o.B‘s “Nothin’ on You,” which reigned for two weeks in May. In between, Mars reached No. 4 as a guest on Travie McCoy‘s “Billionaire” (which will return to the Hot 100 next week as covered by the “Glee” cast).


Mars is the 10th artist since the Hot 100 adopted Nielsen Music data in 1991 to crown the chart as a lead act after first ruling in a featured role. Here is a look at the previous nine such performers and their first No. 1s as featured and lead artists:

K-Ci and JoJo
1996, “How Do U Want It,” 2Pac featuring K-Ci and JoJo
1998, “All My Life,” K-Ci and JoJo

2000, “Thank God I Found You,” Mariah Carey featuring Joe & 98 Degrees
2001, “Stutter,” Joe featuring Mystikal

Ja Rule
2001, “I’m Real,” Jennifer Lopez featuring Ja Rule
2002, “Always on Time,” Ja Rule featuring Ashanti


2002, “Always on Time,” Ja Rule featuring Ashanti
2002, “Foolish,” Ashanti

Kanye West
2004, “Slow Jamz,” Twista featuring Kanye West and Jamie Foxx
2005, “Gold Digger,” Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx

2006, “Promiscuous,” Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland
2007, “Give It to Me,” Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake

2006, “My Love,” Justin Timberlake featuring T.I.
2008, “Whatever You Like,” T.I.

Dr. Dre
1996, “No Diggity,” Blackstreet featuring Dr. Dre
2009, “Crack a Bottle,” Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent

1999, “Heartbreaker,” Mariah Carey featuring Jay-Z
2009, “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z + Alicia Keys

(Like “Billionaire,” “Empire State of Mind” is also a week away from storming the Hot 100 courtesy of the “Glee” cast. Jay-Z additionally holds the mark for most No. 1s as a guest before dominating as a lead. Following “Heartbreaker,” he reached the summit on Beyonce‘s “Crazy in Love” in 2003 and Rihanna’s “Umbrella” in 2007).

Before the Hot 100’s conversion to Nielsen Music data in 1991, Frankie Valli and George Michael each reached No. 1 as group members before leading the list as solo acts. Unlike Mars, however, the singers drew featured billings on tracks by acts to which they belonged – “Careless Whisper” was credited to Wham! featuring George Michael, for instance – as a means to highlight their prominent profiles within their respective groups.

Still, like Mars, certain acts prior to 1991 teamed with lead artists with whom they did not regularly record, affording them No. 1 rankings on the Hot 100 before they topped the chart in starring roles. Billy Preston guested on the Beatles‘ 1969 No. 1 “Get Back,” billed to the Beatles with Billy Preston, before scoring solo toppers in 1973 (“Will It Go Round in Circles”) and 1974 (“Nothing From for Nothing”); Peter Cetera’s 1986 Hot 100 No. 1 “The Next Time I Fall” with Amy Grant preceded Grant’s 1991 chart champion “Baby Baby”; and, Patti Austin’s “Baby, Come to Me” with James Ingram reached No. 1 seven years before Ingram propelled “I Don’t Have the Heart” to the top in 1990.

“Just the Way You Are” additionally marks the first song released on Elektra Records to top the Hot 100 since Silk’s “Freak Me” in 1993.

MANPOWER: With the coronation of “Just the Way You Are” on the Hot 100, Bruno Mars is the third solo male to carry a maiden chart entry as a lead artist to the summit this year, following Taio Cruz (“Break Your Heart”) and B.o.B (“Nothin on You”). 2010 matches 2006 and 2007 for the years with the most Hot 100 leaders by new male artists since 1977.

In 2007, Mims’ “This Is Why I’m Hot” topped the Hot 100 for two weeks in March. Sean Kingston‘s “Beautiful Girls” tallied four weeks on top starting in August and Soulja Boy Tell’em’s “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” began a seven-week command in September.

In 2006, James Blunt spent a week at No. 1 on the Hot 100 with “You’re Beautiful” in March, followed directly for two weeks by Ne-Yo‘s “So Sick.” Daniel Powter racked five weeks at No. 1 with “Bad Day” beginning in April.

33 years have passed since more than three male artists have enjoyed chart-topping success in their first visits to the Hot 100. Here is a recap of the six male soloists to reach No. 1 on their first tries in 1977. Two of the acts (Conti, Meco) reigned with songs from blockbuster movies, while another (Soul) scored a No. 1 while moonlighting from his day job as Detective Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson on ABC’s “Starsky and Hutch”:

David Soul, “Don’t Give Up on Us”

Bill Conti, “Gonna Fly Now” (theme from “Rocky”)

Alan O’Day
, “Undercover Angel”

Shaun Cassidy, “Da Doo Ron Ron”

Andy Gibb, “I Just Want to Be Your Everything”

Meco, “Star Wars Theme”/Cantina Band”

RIRI RISES: Mars could face a challenger for the Hot 100’s penthouse occupancy as soon as next week, as Rihanna rockets 75-3 with “Only Girl (in the World).” The song previews her fifth studio album, “Loud,” due Nov. 16.

Rihanna ups her sum to 16 Hot 100 top 10s, the sixth-best total among women in the chart’s history. The only female artists with more top 10s are Madonna, the survey’s leader among all acts with 37 top 10s, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson (27 each), Whitney Houston (23) and Aretha Franklin (17).

Rihanna passes Olivia Newton-John, who earned 15 top 10s between 1974 and 1984, though the latter singer this week celebrates her first appearances on Billboard’s Top New Age Albums and Christian Albums charts, where “Grace and Gratitude Renewed” debuts at Nos. 2 and 36, respectively.

Florence + the Machine likewise soars 72 spots on the Hot 100, as “Dog Days Are Over” blasts 93-21 following the group’s performance on the MTV Video Music Awards Sept. 12. The chart sports jumps of 72 or more rungs in the same week for the first time since two tracks from “High School Musical” – “Breaking Free” (86-4) and “Get’cha Head in the Game” (100-23) – surged the week of Feb. 11, 2006.

PLANT ‘N’ FLOWERS: While Linkin Park notches its fourth No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with “A Thousand Suns,” two lead singers of top-charting rock bands bow in the top 10 with solo albums.

Robert Plant arrives at No. 5 with “Band of Joy,” which matches his 1982 solo debut, “Pictures at Eleven,” as his highest-charting solo effort apart from Led Zeppelin. Plant has peaked at higher positions with two duet albums: “No Quarter” (No. 4, 1994) with Led Zeppelin partner Jimmy Page and “Raising Sand” (No. 2, 2007), his 2009 Grammy Award-winning album of the year with Alison Krauss. Plant has logged 12 top 10 albums with Led Zeppelin.

At No. 8, Brandon Flowers blooms with his solo debut, “Flamingo.” He has reached the top 10 with three albums with the Killers, who have peaked as high as No. 2 with their 2006 sophomore set “Sam’s Town.”

A third rock frontman impacts the Billboard 200 at No. 24, as Godsmack‘s Sully Erna enters with his solo debut, “Avalon.”

Just as Plant’s new album features a lighter sound than Led Zeppelin’s, Erna’s set is a departure from Godsmack’s trademark hard rock fare.

“It’s nothing like rock music. It’s Native American tribal rhythms mixed with Middle Eastern, bluesy vocals,” Erna said during the album’s recording. “This is a project to get a different kind of music out of me that I feel is inside me.”

“It’s very cool and hypnotic and kind of exotic.”

SCREEN TIME: Billboard’s analytics manager (and avid gamer) Mike Kelly notices that the soundtrack to the science fiction video game “Halo: Reach” debuts on the Billboard 200 at No. 157, marking the franchise‘s best ranking on the chart.

“Halo 2” peaked at No. 162 in 2004, “Halo 3” spent a week at No. 200 in 2007 and “Halo 3: ODST” logged a frame at No. 179 last year.

The new set, which charts on the strength of digital sales prior to its release in physical form Tuesday (Sept. 28), becomes the first “Halo” companion album to reach the top 10 on the Soundtracks chart, where it begins at No. 8.