The Lost 45s in Billboard Magazine

todayAugust 4, 2011


by Gary Trust |

CHAINED MELODY: As previously reported, “S&M” rises 2-1 on the Billboard Hot 100, granting Rihanna her 10th No. 1, a milestone that only eight other artists have reached in the chart’s 52-year history.

“S&M” ascends to the summit fueled by the first full week of digital sales for its “Rih-mix” featuring Britney Spears. Now listed as a featured artist on the song, Spears earns her fifth Hot 100 No. 1.

In an e-mail, insightful Chart Beat reader Pablo Nelson of Berkeley, Calif., recounts the rarity of two solo females topping the Hot 100 together.

“In recent years, several women have teamed up for high-charting – but not No. 1 – Hot 100 hits,” says Nelson, citing Beyonce and Shakira’s “Beautiful Liar” (No. 3, 2007); Ciara’s “1, 2 Step,” featuring Missy Elliott (No. 2, 2005); and, two Eve and Gwen Stefani collaborations: “Rich Girl” (No. 7, 2005) and “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” (No. 2, 2001).

“Female superstars, however, hadn’t shared billing on a No. 1 since Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and P!nk reached the top with ‘Lady Marmalade’ on the June 2, 2001, chart,” notes Nelson.

In the Hot 100’s history, “S&M” is just the fourth No. 1 collaboration between solo women:
Year, Title, Artists, Weeks at No. 1

2011, “S&M,” Rihanna featuring Britney Spears (one week to-date)
2001, “Lady Marmalade,” Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya & P!nk (five weeks)
1998, “The Boy Is Mine,” Brandy & Monica (13 weeks)
1979, “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),” Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer (two weeks)

By comparison, four all-male rap/sung collaborations and five male/female couplings have ruled the Hot 100 in just the last 18 months.

Why have so few songs led the Hot 100 when women have joined forces?

“Most duets are sung as love songs, so they lend themselves naturally to male/female pairings,” says Barry Scott, who recently celebrated his 25th anniversary of hosting the Boston radio program “The Lost 45s,” which highlights largely forgotten ’60s-’80s hits. (“Maybe Chris Colfer and Darren Criss from ‘Glee’ can switch up that pattern,” Scott muses).

“Even when female singing partners reach No. 1, as was the case with ‘No More Tears,’ Streisand and Summer had to endure rumors of diva-like behavior between them for years,” says Scott. “Summer told me that recording the song with Streisand was a pleasurable experience. Still, stories persist that their claws were out the whole time. Maybe many female artists have heard such talk and stay away from this style of collaborating.”

“By the way,” adds Scott, “Nancy Sinatra and her father Frank reached No. 1 in 1967 with ‘Something Stupid,’ a song she told me that DJs used to refer to as ‘the incest song. Can duet partners ever win?”

Written by: Barry Scott

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The Lost 45 in Billboard: 15 Forgotten #1s

by Gary Trust | As Billboard celebrates 1,000 No. 1s in the Billboard Hot 100's storied archives, it's inevitable that certain past toppers require an extra pause before triggering recognition. Despite all 1,000 titles having earned the honor of, at least for one week, reigning as the most popular song in the country, subsequent decades have not treated all such cuts equally. While some songs remain pop culture, and radio, […]

todayAugust 4, 2011

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