BIGGER THAN THE BEATLES?: “We are watching history in the making.”
Island Def Jam president/COO Steve Bartels Wednesday (Nov. 2) praised Rihanna in a statement upon her coronation of the Billboard Hot 100 with “We Found Love,” featuring Calvin Harris. “With Rihanna achieving her 11th Hot 100 No. 1 single, she continues to be a class unto herself. It’s rare and wonderful to see a hitmaker of Rihanna’s talent and consistency.”
Like any competitive record executive, however, Bartels has quickly moved past the spoils of this week’s chart.
“We look forward with pride and excitement to Rihanna’s next great milestone,” he added.
But, why stop there?
With the ascension of “Love,” Rihanna becomes just the seventh artist to notch at least 11 Hot 100 No. 1s, joining the Beatles (20), Mariah Carey (18), Michael Jackson (13), Madonna (12), the Supremes (12) and Whitney Houston (11).
Rihanna, thus, needs seven more No. 1s to match labelmate Carey’s mark for most chart leaders among women and nine to tie the Beatles. In order to pass the Fab Four, Rihanna will need to almost double her current No. 1 sum.
Can she do it?
Rihanna first commanded the Hot 100 with “SOS” the week of May 13, 2006. With this week’s chart dated Nov. 12, 2011, she reaches her 11th No. 1 five years and six months after her first visit to the summit.
Among the seven acts to tally at least 11 leaders, only two acts reached the milestone more quickly: the Beatles, in a mere, Beatlemania-fueled, one year, 11 months and one week between “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (Feb. 1, 1964) and “We Can Work It Out” (Jan. 8, 1966); and, the Supremes, who needed only four years, three months and one week between “Where Did Our Love Go” (Aug. 22, 1964) and “Love Child” (Nov. 30, 1968). (Prior to the Hot 100’s Aug. 4, 1958, inception and after, Elvis Presley racked 11 No. 1s on various Billboard pop charts over a rapid-fire span of three years, three months and three weeks).
Being a solo artist would work in Rihanna’s favor in her attempt at topping the Mop Tops. The Beatles broke up after jam-packing their 20 Hot 100 No. 1s in a stretch of just six years, four months and two weeks. After the group scored its 12th and final No. 1, “Someday We’ll Be Together,” Diana Ross left the Supremes. All four Beatles and Ross went on to tally solo Hot 100 No. 1s (including nine for Paul McCartney, including his billings with Wings), but none of those solo leaders extended their former groups’ chart-topping totals.
As such career moves cannot affect a solo artist’s chart history, unless she forms a separately-named group, Rihanna would continue to pad her No. 1 total with any potential future chart leaders.
Rihanna has additionally exhibited wide crossover appeal, a key ingredient to Hot 100 success given the chart’s all-format radio panel. She’s scored a record eight No. 1s on the Pop Songs chart, plus six on Rhythmic and three on Rap Songs and racked eight top 10s on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Her latest Hot 100 entry proves that her recognizable voice is equally fitting on a rock track, as Coldplay‘s “Princess of China,” on which she guests, storms the chart as the Hot Shot Debut at No. 20.
Beyond her music, Rihanna has prioritized engagement with her audience (aka, “Rihanna Navy”), boasting 46 million Facebook fans, the highest total among female artists, according to Island Def Jam.
And, she won’t turn 24 until next Feb. 20.
All factors that provide reason to consider that Rihanna could have a chance at equaling or passing the Beatles’ record for most Hot 100 No. 1s. (She did, after all, find love in a hopeless place, so who’s to question the extent of her powers).
Examining the scope of her popularity, there could be significantly more chart history for Rihanna yet to make.
‘KNOW’-HOW: Fox’s “The X Factor” has been renewed for a second season. The current third season of NBC’s a capella showcase “The Sing-Off” is longer (11 episodes) than its first two seasons combined (nine). And, NBC’s “The Voice” spurred the pairing of coaches Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera on the four-week Hot 100 No. 1 “Moves Like Jagger.”
Still, the original modern TV reality singing competition continues to make its chart mark.
As “Mr. Know It All” leaps 19-10 on the Hot 100, maiden “American Idol” queen Kelly Clarkson collects her ninth top 10, extending her mark for the most top 10s among the series’ graduates.
Here is a breakdown of the 28 Hot 100 top 10s tallied by “Idol” alumni:
Season one (2002)
Kelly Clarkson, nine
Season two (2003)
Ruben Studdard, two
Clay Aiken, two
Season three (2004)
Season four (2005)
Carrie Underwood, four
Bo Bice, one
Season five (2006)
Taylor Hicks, one
Chris Daughtry, two (with Daughtry)
Season six (2007)
Jordin Sparks, three
Season seven (2008)
David Cook, one
David Archuleta, one
Season eight (2009)
Adam Lambert, one
While no contestants from the ninth or 10th seasons of “Idol” have reached the Hot 100’s top 10, reigning champion Scotty McCreery bowed atop the Oct. 22 Billboard 200 and Country Albums charts with “Clear as Day,” which has spent its first four weeks in the chart’s top 10. This year’s runner-up, Lauren Alaina, followed with a No. 5 Billboard 200 start for her debut release “Wildflower” on the Oct. 29 chart.
As Clarkson’s “Stronger” enters this week’s Billboard 200 at No. 2, she celebrates her fifth top 10 album in as many tries. The entrance ties her with second-season runner-up Aiken for the highest Billboard 200 top 10 sum among “Idol” finalists. Underwood ranks third among the series’ contenders with three top 10 sets.
… AND SOME ‘MISTLETOE’: A week after Justin Bieber soared onto the Hot 100 at No. 11 with “Mistletoe,” the latest outbreak of Bieber Fever manifests itself in the No. 58 bow of “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” featuring his mentor Usher.
Bieber’s cover marks just the third version of the carol to grace the Hot 100. Nat King Cole‘s classic rendition reached No. 65 the week of Dec. 29, 1962, and Christina Aguilera’s dance remix opened and peaked at No. 18 Jan. 1, 2000.
“Christmas” and “Mistletoe,” the former of which replaces the latter title on the Holiday Digital Songs chart, introduce Bieber’s first seasonal album, “Under the Mistletoe,” due atop next week’s Billboard 200.
LEVINE IN ‘STEREO’: Adam Levine becomes the third act to replace oneself at No. 1 on the Pop Songs chart, as Gym Class Heroes’ “Stereo Hearts” (3-1), on which he guests, halts the six-week reign of “Moves Like Jagger” (1-3) by the group he fronts, Maroon 5.
On the Dec. 9, 1995, survey, Mariah Carey’s “One Sweet Day,” featuring Boyz II Men, began an 11-week command by ousting her “Fantasy” after six weeks at the summit. The week of Feb. 14, 2004, OutKast‘s “The Way You Move,” featuring Sleepy Brown, directly followed the duo’s “Hey Ya!” to the top. The songs led the airplay ranking for nine and three weeks, respectively.
‘LIVING’ LEGEND: Nineteen-and-half-years after she charted the first of her 65 entries to-date on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (the No. 1 “You Remind Me”), Mary J. Blige makes just her second appearance on Adult Contemporary, where “The Living Proof” bows at No. 27. The song appears on the soundtrack to “The Help” and will be included on Blige’s 10th studio album, “My Life II… the Journey Continues (Act 1),” due Nov. 21.
Blige first dented AC with a cover of U2‘s “One,” featuring the band, in 2006. The remake rose to No. 36.
LORDS A-LEAPIN’: Adult (the connotation of the word differing from that in “adult contemporary”) actress-turned-mainstream actress-turned-singer Traci Lords returns to Dance/Club Play Songs, as “Last Drag” debuts at No. 45. Lords charted two titles on the survey in 1995: the No. 2-peaking “Control” and the No. 11 “Fallen Angel.”
“I chose to stop running from it,” Lords wrote in her 2003 autobiography, “Traci Lords: Underneath It All,” of her past in the adult film industry. “Instead, I won it, legally changing my name to Traci Elizabeth Lords.”
Acclaimed roles opposite Kevin Spacey in the TV series “Wiseguy” and Johnny Depp in the 1990 film “Cry-Baby” redefined her acting resume. For her role in the 2001 film “Chump Change,” Lords won the Best Actress award at the US Comedy Arts Festival.
Lords concurrently fostered a music career (joining such adult actresses who have transitioned to the studio as Andrea True and Heather Hunter).
As “Drag” begins its Dance/Club Play Songs chart run, the song is receiving early support from Sirius XM’s 20 on 20 channel (51 plays in the Oct. 24-30 tracking week, according to Nielsen BDS).
Did Lords’ acting past hinder Sirius XM VP/pop-dance-urban Kid Kelly from adding the song to a family-targeted station? “No, I thought she was great on ‘Melrose Place’,” he jokes, referencing Lords’ numerous TV roles, which include turns on “Roseanne,” “Married … With Children” and “Gilmore Girls.”
“It didn’t even occur to me that kids might know who she is,” he says. “Ultimately, I was pleasantly surprised (by ‘Drag’) and we haven’t received any negative responses.”
Kelly praises Lords’ vocals in the song and is optimistic of its future chart fortunes.
“I think it really has the potential to be something.”