And you thought her entrance at the Grammy Awards was attention-getting. By storming the Billboard Hot 100 song chart at No. 1, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” makes history as the 1,000th leading song in the list’s 52-year history.
“It is a tremendous honor,” Gaga tells Billboard of the milestone. “To be the 1000th no. 1 on Billboard…I would be silly not to say this is the greatest honor of my career.I am so humbled and so honored and overwhelmed by the reception to ‘Born This Way,’ ” Gaga adds. “[It] has been so life changing for me as an artist, and between Billboard and the international number ones and the radio numbers…I couldn’t be more blessed to have the fans that I have.”
Fittingly for such a milestone, the first single and title track from Lady Gaga’s third album, due May 23, arrives in record-breaking fashion. On Radio Songs, the Hot 100′s airplay component chart, “Born This Way” begins at No. 6 with a first-week audience of 78.5 million. That’s the highest bow and largest opening airplay figure for a song since the tally began incorporating all radio formats in December 1998.
The arrival of “Born This Way” bests the previous debut record on Radio Songs, set when Janet Jackson’s “All for You” soared in at No. 9 with 70 million in 2001. With opening-week digital sales of 448,000, “Born This Way” likewise breaks barriers with the largest debut sum for a female artist. Britney Spears established the prior mark four weeks ago upon, the arrival of “Hold It Against Me” (411,000).
The opening of “Born” marks the third-largest debut among all digital tracks. Flo Rida’s “Right Round” started with 636,000 in February 2009 and the Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” with 465,000 two months later. Notably, “Born This Way” rewrites airplay and digital history after just five days of availability at radio and three days at online retailers.
The song is also just the 19th title to debut at No. 1 in the Hot 100′s history. The 1,000th Hot 100 No. 1 is Lady Gaga’s third chart leader, following her first two singles: “Just Dance,” featuring Colby O’Donis (the 968th No. 1), and “Poker Face” (972), both in 2009. The Hot 100 currently ranks titles by employing a formula measuring radio airplay, as tabulated by Nielsen BDS; sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan; and, streaming activity data.
The weekly survey launched in the pages of Billboard magazine in the issue dated Aug. 4, 1958, with Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool” reigning over the inaugural listing. Among notable historic No. 1s, the Beatles’ first of their record 20 toppers, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (the 104th No. 1), reached the pinnacle the week of Feb. 1, 1964.
Mariah Carey tallied her first No. 1 Aug. 4, 1990 (the chart’s 32nd anniversary), with “Vision of Love,” her first of 18 No. 1s, the most among women. Her “One Sweet Day,” with Boyz II Men, logged the chart’s longest reign – 16 weeks – in 1995-96. Michael Jackson, the leader among solo males with 13 No. 1s, first reigned as a solo artist on the Hot 100 dated Oct. 14, 1972, with “Ben.”
Having reached No. 1 the week of March 21, 1981, REO Speedwagon’s “Keep on Loving You” represents the chart’s 500th leader. P.M. Dawn’s “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” (the 761st No. 1) marked the chart’s first champion since the Hot 100 converted to BDS electronically-monitored airplay measurement and SoundScan point-of-sale data in November 1991.
Breaking down the Hot 100′s history by decade, 226 songs ruled in the ’50s/’60s; 253 in the ’70s; 231 in the ’80s; 140 in the ’90s; and, 150 beginning in 2000. With the chart’s 1,000 No. 1s spread over 2,743 weeks, the average leader has spent 2.74 weeks at the top spot.
Only one song has made trips to the summit in each of two chart runs. Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” led the Sept. 24, 1960, chart. Re-released, it returned to No. 1 the weeks of Jan. 13-20, 1962. When Billboard celebrated the Hot 100′s 50th anniversary in 2008, Checker’s dance classic ranked as the top title of the chart’s first half-century.