Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" enters the Hot 100 at #1. It's the 1,000th #1 single since Billboard introduced the Hot 100 in August 1958. "Born This Way" sold 448,000 copies, which breaks Britney Spears' record, set just last month, for the biggest first-week digital sales tally for a hit by a female solo artist. Spears set the record when "Hold It Against Me" started with sales of 411K.
Gaga's tally is the third fattest first-week total in digital history. The only songs that have sold more copies in their first weeks are Flo Rida's "Right Round," which moved 636K in its first week in February 2009, and the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow," which sold 465K in its first week in April 2009.
Impressively, "Born This Way" racked up these sales in just three days of release. Gaga performed the song on the Grammys on Sunday, which was the last day of the tracking week. The song was originally slated for release that day, but was moved up two days. Gaga's Born This Way album is due May 23.
"Born This Way" is Gaga's third single to top the Hot 100, but it's her first to debut in the top spot. Her breakthrough hit, "Just Dance" (featuring Colby O'Donis), took 22 weeks to reach #1. Her follow-up, "Poker Face," took 15 weeks. (You may be surprised that "Bad Romance" never quite reached the top spot. It logged seven weeks at #2.)
"Born This Way" owes an obvious debt to a pair of Madonna hits: 1989's "Express Yourself" and 1990's "Vogue." Previous Gaga hits have also echoed Madonna. "Alejandro" had the Latin ballad vibe of 1987's "La Isla Bonita." Madonna should take it as a compliment. Madonna was a complete original. Nobody ever accused her of copping someone else's sound or sensibility.
This week's other big chart news is that the Glee cast surpasses Elvis Presley as the artist with the most Hot 100 hits in the chart's 52-year history. I'm usually up for record-setting achievements, but this one just doesn't do it for me. It's not that I don't like Glee. I do. It's just that the Glee cast isn't an artist in the usual sense of that term. They're the stars of a television show.
Let me explain why the distinction matters. The Glee cast puts six songs on the Hot 100 this week alone. Presley put six songs on the Hot 100 in all of 1960, when he was the hottest artist in pop music. They were the smashes "Stuck On You," "It's Now Or Never" and "Are You Lonesome To-night?" (which logged a combined total of 15 weeks at #1) and their B sides. I just don't see these as equivalent achievements. (In their defense, the Glee team has never suggested that they are equivalent achievements.)
For what it's worth, here are the top 10 artists with the most Hot 100 hits, courtesy Billboard's Gary Trust. the Glee Cast (113), Elvis Presley (108), James Brown (91), Ray Charles (74), Aretha Franklin (73), the Beatles (67), Lil Wayne (67), Stevie Wonder (63), Jay-Z (62), the Rolling Stones (57).
Some of you are probably amazed that Jay-Z and Lil Wayne have piled up so many hits. Jay-Z first cracked the Hot 100 in April 1996. Lil Wayne first scored (with a featured credit) in July 1999.
Glee's six-pack of new Hot 100 entries this week consists of the cast's versions of Katy Perry's "Firework" (#34), Wings' "Silly Love Songs" (#45), Robin Thicke's "When I Get You Alone" (#47), Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" (#56), Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" (#58) and the Zombies' "She's Not There" (#87).
Cee Lo Green's "F*** You (Forget You)" jumps from #16 to #7 in its 25th week. This marks a new high for the song, topping its original peak at #9. Green and Gwyneth Paltrow performed the song on the Grammys, where it was nominated for Record and Song of the Year. And yes, two songs in this week's top 10 have what we used to quaintly call "the F word" in their titles. P!nk's "F**kin' Perfect" dips from #4 to #5.
Rihanna lands her 18th top 10 hit as "S&M" jumps from #31 to #8. (There's yet another hit that's pushing the envelope.)
I'll have a little more on the 1,000th #1 milestone at the end of the column.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 songs.
1. Lady Gaga, "Born This Way." This new entry is Gaga's third #1 hit. It's her eighth song to make the top 10. Digital sales rank: #1 (448K).
2. Katy Perry, "Firework." The former #1 song rebounds from #3 to #2 in its 17th week. This is its 15th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #2 (170K).
3. Bruno Mars, "Grenade." The former #1 song dips from #2 to #3 in its 20th week. This is its 12th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #8 (143K).
4. Wiz Khalifa, "Black And Yellow." The former #1 song drops from #1 to #4 its 19th week. This is its eighth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #5 (153K).
5. P!nk, "F**kin' Perfect." The song dips from #4 to #5 in its seventh week. This is its third week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #3 (153K).
7. Cee Lo Green's "F**k You (Forget You)." The song jumps from #16 to #7 in its 25th week, eclipsing its previous peak at #9. This is its second week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #6 (148K).
8. Rihanna, "S&M." The song vaults from #31 to #8 in its fifth week. This is its first week in the top 10. This is Rihanna's 18th top 10 hit on the Hot 100 (her 15th as a lead artist). Digital sales rank: #7 (145K).
9. The Black Eyed Peas' "The Time (Dirty Bit)." The song rebounds from #19 to #9 in its 14th week in the wake of the group's half-time performance at the Super Bowl. This is its 10th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #4 (153K).
10. Britney Spears, "Hold It Against Me." The former #1 song holds at #10 in its fifth week. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. Digital sales rank: #28 (78K).
Four songs (all collabos) drop out of the top 10 this week. "I Need A Doctor" by Dr. Dre featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey drops from #5 to #32. "Rocketeer" by Far*East Movement featuring Ryan Tedder drops from #7 to #14. "What's My Name?" by Rihanna featuring Drake drops from #8 to #13. "Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor" by Pitbull featuring T-Pain drops from #9 to #12.
"Hit The Lights" by Jay Sean featuring Lil Wayne enters the chart at #18.The song is vying to become Sean's third top 10 hit on the Hot 100, following "Down" (which also featured Lil Wayne) and "Do You Remember" (featuring Sean Paul and Lil Jon). Digital sales rank: #9 (135K).
Colbie Caillat's "I Do" bows at #23. The song is vying to become Caillat's fourth top 20 hit on the Hot 100, following "Bubbly," "Realize" and "Fallin' For You." Digital sales rank: #10 (130K).
Wiz Khalifa's "Roll Up," the follow-up to the #1 smash "Black And Yellow," debuts at #48...Mumford & Sons' "The Cave" jumps from #99 to #68 in the wake of the band's game-changing Grammy show performance with Bob Dylan and the Avett Brothers...Jana Kramer's "I Won't Give Up" bows at #75. Kramer is a regular on the TV show One Tree Hill.
Also this week, Bieber lands his fifth million-seller with "Somebody To Love" (featuring Usher). The song follows "Baby" (featuring Ludacris) (2,817,000), "One Time" (2,132,000), "Eenie Meenie" (a collabo with Sean Kingston) (1,238,000) and "One Less Lonely Girl" (1,025,000).
Song Scorecard: Sara Bareilles' "King Of Anything" also tops the 1 million mark in paid downloads. Bareilles' "Love Song" has sold 3,265,000 copies.
1,000 Hits: The Hot 100, which was conceived by the late Tom Noonan, has always been based on a combination of sales and airplay information. The chart is currently based on a combination of radio airplay (as measured by Nielsen BDS), digital sales information (as measured by Nielsen SoundScan) and streaming activity provided by online music sources.
The first #1 on the Hot 100 was Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool." The Beatles have had 20 #1 hits, more than any other artist in the chart's history. Michael Jackson's "You Are Not Alone" in 1995 was the first song to enter the Hot 100 at #1. Chubby Checker's "The Twist" is the only song to reach #1 in two separate chart runs. It went all the way in September 1960 and again in January 1962.
"One Sweet Day," Mariah Carey's 1995 collaboration with Boyz II Men, topped the chart for 16 weeks, longer than any other song in the chart's history. "One Sweet Day" was the seventh song to establish a new record for most weeks at #1. The previous record-breakers were Domenico Modugno's "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)," Tommy Edwards' "It's All In The Game," Bobby Darin's "Mack The Knife," Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life," Boyz II Men's "End Of The Road" and Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You."
Billboard's Gary Trust crunched the numbers. The 1,000 #1 hits were spread over 2,743 weeks, which means the average #1 hit has spent 2.743 weeks at the top spot. So if you thought Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" (three weeks at #1 in February 1973) had an about average run at #1, it turns out you were right.