Chart Watch

Chart Watch Extra: Starting Out On Top

Chart Watch

Bobby Ray Simmons, better known as B.o.B, has something in common with such major stars as Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys, as well as such short-lived phenomena as Kris Kross and Vanilla Ice.

The 21-year old rapper from Atlanta is only the 24th act in the past 25 years to top The Billboard 200 with a debut album and also top the Hot 100 with a single from that album. B.o.B Presents The Adventures Of Bobby Ray debuts at #1 on this week's Billboard 200. The album's smash single, "Nothin' On You" (featuring Bruno Mars), spent two weeks at #1 on the Hot 100.

To mark the occasion, I prepared this list of the 24 acts from the past 25 years who have started their careers with this double chart victory. While most of these acts went on to substantial careers, a few flamed out. Milli Vanilli and Vanilla Ice never put another studio album on the chart. Neither, remarkably, has Lauryn Hill, whose one and only solo studio album won the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Hill is one of three artists on this list who was debuting as a solo artist after being featured in a chart-topping group. The others are George Michael and Beyonce.

Since these are all debut albums, it stands to reason that the artists were young when their albums were released. But, it's amazing just how young many of them were.  The members of Kris Kross were both 13. Tiffany was 15. Britney Spears was 17. Christina Aguilera was 18.

Nearly all of these 24 acts are pop, R&B or rap. The only rock (much less hard rock) act on the list is Guns N' Roses, which exploded in 1988 with its debut album Appetite For Destruction.

Five of these 24 acts took home the Grammy for Best New Artist. These are Milli Vanilli (the award was later rescinded due to a lip-synching scandal), Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill, Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys. (Whitney Houston would have won in a landslide, but wasn't allowed to compete because of a technicality. She had recorded duets with Teddy Pendergrass and Jermaine Jackson the year before. The duet with Jackson was just an album cut, but the pairing with Pendergrass became a top five R&B hit.)

Starting with Puff Daddy & the Family's 1997 album No Way Out, every album on this list entered the chart at #1. Before that, and especially before Nielsen/SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991, albums often took a long time to hit the top. Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl took 64 weeks to finally reach #1. Whitney Houston and Appetite For Destruction each took 50 weeks to ring the bell. No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom took 49.

Here are the 24 acts from the last 25 years that topped The Billboard 200 with their debut album and also topped the Hot 100 with a single from the album. I show the year the album reached #1. I also show the artists' real names. (Shaffer Smith, you were wise to change it.)

Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston, 1986. Houston was 21 when this album was released in March 1985. It logged 14 weeks at #1 and spawned three #1 singles: "Saving All My Love For You," "How Will I Know" and "Greatest Love Of All."

George Michael, Faith, 1988. Three years after Michael topped the chart as half of Wham!, he scored on his own with his solo debut. Faith was #1 for 12 weeks and spawned four #1 singles: "Faith," "Father Figure," "One More Try" and "Monkey." Michael (Georgios Panayiotou) was 24 when the album was released in November 1987.

Tiffany, Tiffany, 1988. Tiffany Darwish was 15 when this album was released in September 1987. It spent two weeks at #1 and included two #1 singles: a remake of Tommy James & the Shondells' "I Think We're Alone Now" and "Could've Been."

Guns N' Roses, Appetite For Destruction, 1988. The album spent five weeks at #1 and spawned the #1 hit "Sweet Child O' Mine." This is the only all-male group on the list. There are two male duos (Milli Vanilli and Kris Kross) and two mixed-gender groups (Ace of Base and No Doubt), but no other all-male group.

Milli Vanilli, Girl You Know It's True, 1989. The infamous album spent eight weeks at #1 and spawned three #1 hits: "Baby Don't Forget My Number," "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" and "Blame It On The Rain." The duo (purportedly) consisted of Fabrice Morvan and Rob Pilatus, who, sadly, died of a drug overdose in 1998.

Paula Abdul, Forever Your Girl, 1989. Abdul was 26 when this album was released in July 1988.  The album spent 10 weeks at #1 and spawned four #1 singles: "Straight Up," "Forever Your Girl," "Cold Hearted" and "Opposites Attract" (with The Wild Pair). Abdul gained even greater fame as a judge on American Idol.

Vanilla Ice, To The Extreme, 1990. Ice (Robert Van Winkle) was 21 when this album was released in September 1990. The album logged 16 weeks at #1 and spawned the #1 hit "Ice Ice Baby." That song sampled "Under Pressure" by Queen & David Bowie.

Mariah Carey, Mariah Carey, 1991. Carey was 20 in June 1990 when this album was released. It logged 11 weeks at #1 and spawned four #1 singles: "Vision Of Love," "Love Takes Time," "Someday" and "I Don't Wanna Cry."

Kris Kross, Totally Krossed Out, 1992. Chris Kelly and Chris Smith were each 13 when this album was released in April 1992. The album spent two weeks at #1 and featured the #1 smash "Jump."

Ace Of Base, The Sign, 1994. This album spent two weeks at #1 and spawned the #1 smash "The Sign." Ace of Base, like ABBA before it, hailed from Sweden. ABBA never had a #1 album. But then Ace of Base has yet to inspire a hit musical or movie.

Spice Girls, Spice, 1997. This album logged five weeks at #1 and spawned the #1 smash "Wannabe." Spice Girls are the only all-female group on this list and also the only English group.

Puff Daddy & the Family, No Way Out, 1997. Sean Combs was 27 when this album debuted at #1 in August 1997. It topped the chart for four weeks and included two #1 hits: "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" (featuring Ma$e) and "I'll Be Missing You" (with Faith Evans and featuring 112).

Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, 1998. Two years after topping the chart as one-third of The Fugees, Hill had a #1 album of her own. The album topped the chart for four weeks and spawned the #1 hit "Doo Wop (That Thing)." Hill was 23 when the album debuted at #1 in September 1998.

Britney Spears, ...Baby One More Time, 1999. Spears was 17 when this album debuted at #1 in January 1999. The album topped the chart for six weeks and featured the #1 hit "...Baby One More Time."

Christina Aguilera, Christina Aguilera, 1999. Aguilera was 18 when this album debuted at #1 in September 1999. The album spent one week at #1 and included three #1 hits: "Genie In A Bottle," "What A Girl Wants" and "Come On Over Baby (all i want is you)."

Alicia Keys, Songs In A Minor, 2001. Keys (Alicia Cook) was 21 when this album debuted at #1 in July 2001. The album spent three weeks at #1 and included the #1 hit "Fallin'." That song later won a Grammy as Song of the Year.

Ashanti, Ashanti, 2001. Ashanti Douglas was 21 when this album debuted at #1 in April 2002. The album logged three weeks at #1 and featured the #1 smash "Foolish."

Kelly Clarkson, Thankful, 2003. Clarkson was 21 when this album debuted at #1 in May 2003. The album topped the chart for one week and featured the #1 hit "A Moment Like This." Clarkson is the only American Idol winner on the list.

Beyonce, Dangerously In Love, 2003. Two years after first hitting #1 as one-third of Destiny's Child, Beyonce Knowles hit #1 with her solo debut. Beyonce was 21 when the album bowed at #1 in July 2003. It spent one week on top and featured two #1 hits: "Crazy In Love" (featuring Jay-Z) and "Baby Boy" (featuring Sean Paul).

Clay Aiken, Measure Of A Man, 2003. Aiken was 24 when this album debuted at #1 in November 2003. The album spent two weeks on top and featured the #1 hit "This Is The Night." Aiken is only American Idol contestant who didn't win the competition on the list.

Ne-Yo, In My Own Words, 2006. Ne-Yo (Shaffer Smith) was 26 when this album debuted at #1 in March 2006. The album spent one week on top and featured the #1 hit "So Sick."

Leona Lewis, Spirit, 2008. Lewis was 23 when this album debuted at #1 in April 2008. The album spent one week on top and featured the #1 hit "Bleeding Love." The English singer was the winner on the British TV talent show The X Factor.

Ke$ha, Animal, 2010. Kesha Rose Sebert was 22 when this album debuted at #1 in January. The album spent one week on top and spawned the #1 smash "TiK ToK."

B.o.B, B.o.B Presents The Adventures Of Bobby Ray, 2010. B.o.B (Bobby Ray Simmons) is 21 as this album debuts at #1 this week. The album features the #1 hit "Nothin' On You" (featuring Bruno Mars).

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