As Bad Meets Evil, the duo of Eminem and Da Royce da 5’9″, soar into the top 10 (17-10) on the Hot 100 with “Lighters,” featuring Bruno Mars, Eminem joins an exclusive group of artists who have notched top 10s under three wholly separate identities.
“Lighters” marks Eminem’s 16th trip to the Hot 100’s top 10. He has banked 14 such titles billed as Eminem and one as a member of D12, whose “My Band” rose to No. 6 in 2004.
Rarely have artists scaled the top 10 under three distinct billings. For those who have managed the feat, their talent, and not simply mere name recognition, has surely spurred their achievements.
Here’s an alphabetical look at the most prolific masters of disguise who’ve reached the Hot 100’s top 10 under at least three monikers, a list that combines Eminem with the sonically disparate likes of Donny Osmond and Jimmy Page.
Solo: “Don’t Shed a Tear,” No. 9, 1988
With Ace: “How Long,” No. 3, 1975
With Mike + the Mechanics: three top 10s, including “The Living Years,” No. 1, 1989
(Carrack also sings Squeeze‘s “Tempted.” Although the song lives on as a rock and adult radio staple, it stopped at No. 49 in 1981).
Eric Clapton, who’s reached the top 10 under four billings
Solo: six top 10s (including one, “Promises” (No. 9, 1979), billed as by “Eric Clapton and His Band”)
With the Yardbirds: two top 10s
With Cream: two top 10s
With Derek & the Dominoes: “Layla,” No. 10, 1972
Solo: 14 top 10s, including four No. 1s
With D12: “My Band,” No. 6, 2004
As half of Bad Meets Evil: “Lighters,” No. 10 (to-date), 2011
Solo: “Rub You the Right Way,” No. 3, 1990
With New Edition: three top 10s*
With LSG (with Gerald Levert and Keith Sweat): “My Body,” No. 4, 1997
(*Gill joined New Edition following the first of its four top 10s, 1985’s No. 4-peaking “Cool It Now”).
Solo: eight top 10s, including duets with his wife Linda (“Uncle Albert”/”Admiral Halsey,” No. 1, 1971); Michael Jackson (“The Girl Is Mine,” No. 2, 1983; “Say Say Say,” No. 1, 1984); and, Stevie Wonder (“Ebony and Ivory,” No. 1, 1982)
With the Beatles: 34 top 10s, including a Hot 100 record 20 No. 1s
With Wings: 14 top 10s, including six No. 1s
Solo: six top 10s, including “Go Away little Girl,” No. 1, 1971
With the Osmonds: four top 10s, including “One Bad Apple,” No. 1, 1971
As half of Donny & Marie: two top 10s
(One other similarity between Eminem and Osmond: each artist has sent a song onto the Hot 100 with “soldier” in its title. Osmond posted his second-highest-charting solo single with the No. 2 “Soldier of Love” in 1989; Eminem transformed Martika’s 1989 No. 1 “Toy Soldiers” into “Like Toy Soldiers,” a No. 34 entry in 2005).
Solo: “Come With Me,” No. 4, 1998 (Puff Daddy featuring Jimmy Page)
With Led Zeppelin: “Whole Lotta Love,” No. 4, 1970
With the Honeydrippers: “Sea of Love,” No. 3, 1985
(Page was, like Clapton, a member of the Yardbirds, but only after the group notched its two top 10s, “For Your Love” (No. 6) and “Heart Full of Soul” (No. 9) in 1965).
(This research, helmed by Billboard associate chart production manager Alex Vitoulis, was not without murkiness, as acts that have charted in the top 10 under three billings but clearly not different identities were not included. Thus, Prince/Prince & the Revolution/Prince and the New Power Generation/(symbol); Miami Sound Machine/Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine/Gloria Estefan; and, Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship were not considered.
USA for Africa, which ruled with “We Are the World” for four weeks in 1985, was also discounted, considering the one-off collaborative nature of the song’s 47 guests. Honorable mention to Michael Jackson (Jackson 5) and Lionel Richie (the Commodores), who co-wrote the charity ballad).
Other acts fell just shy of the exclusive triple-threat Hot 100 top 10 club.
John Waite reached No. 1 solo (“Missing You,” 1984) and with Bad English (“When I See You Smile,” but peaked as high as No. 13 twice as a member of the Babys (“Isn’t It Time,” 1977; “Everytime I Think of You,” 1979).
Vitoulis additionally notes that while Martha Wash’s solo Hot 100 history consists solely of the No. 90-peaking “Give It To You” in 1993, she sang (although did not receive artist credit on) Hot 100 hits by Black Box, C+C Music Factory, Seduction and the Weather Girls, (reaching the top 10 with C+C Music Factory’s 1991 No. 1 “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” and Black Box’s “Everybody Everybody” (1990) and “Strike it Up” (1991), the latter two of which reached No. 8.
As for the elite list’s latest inductee, Erika Ramirez, who authors Billboard.com’s R&B/hip-hop column “The Juice,” points to Eminem’s starpower and vision as the drivers for his ability to craft hits under multiple handles.
“Eminem triumphs by delivering dangerous lyrics throughout his solo ventures, collaborative efforts (Bad Meets Evil’s ‘Hell: The Sequel’ EP) and feature slots (Nicki Minaj‘s ‘Roman’s Revenge’; Drake‘s ‘Forever’),” she says.
“Eminem’s artistry never waivers. If anything, his passion gets louder with each project.”
(Eminem could add a fourth artist billing to his discography of Hot 100 top 10s without any assistance. He’s yet to log a top 10 under his birth name, Marshall Mathers III).