Chart Watch: John Legend Wins A Squeaker

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Paul Grein
·Writer
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John Legend

's "All Of Me" won the closest race for #1 on the Hot 100 in more than two years. Legend's classy piano ballad has a lead of just .009% in total chart points over Pharrell Williams's "Happy." That's the closest race for #1 since February 2012, when Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" edged out Adele's "Set Fire To The Rain" with a slightly narrower point total.

"All Of Me" had spent six weeks at #2, waiting for Williams's feel-good smash to finally subside. "Happy" spent 10 weeks on top.

"All Of Me" hits #1 in its 30th week on the Hot 100. In the 55-year history of the Hot 100, only two songs have taken more weeks to reach #1. Los Del Rio's "Macarena" took 33 weeks to reach #1 in 1995-1996. Lonestar's "Amazed" took 31 weeks in 1999-2000.

This is Legend's first #1 hit. The R&B star performed "All Of Me" on the Grammy telecast on Jan. 26, which is credited with turning the song into a smash. The song had sold 645K copies as of that week. Its total is now 3,317,000.

Billboard's Gary Trust notes that "All Of Me" is the third recording which consists of just piano and vocal to reach #1 in less than three years. It follows Adele's "Someone Like You" and Bruno Mars's "When I Was Your Man." (Prior to these three hits, no piano-vocal recordings had reached #1 since the Hot 100 was created in 1958.) For the record, many radio stations are playing the up-tempo "Tiesto" remix of "All Of Me," which has fuller instrumentation.

"All Of Me" also moves up to #1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. "Happy" had led that chart for 12 weeks. This is Legend's first #1 on that chart, too. His biggest R&B hit before this was "Ordinary People," which reached #4 R&B.

"Problem" by Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea is the week's top new entry on the Hot 100 at #3. It's the highest new entry since "The Monster" by Eminem featuring Rihanna bowed at #3 in November. This is the highest debut ever for an all-female collaboration. It tops "Give Me All Your Luvin'" by Madonna featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A. That song debuted at #13 in February 2012, on the heels of their performance of the song at the Super Bowl on Feb. 5. (You may remember that M.I.A. gave the finger on live television.)

"Problem" is the second top 10 hit for both Grande and Azalea. Grande's "The Way" (featuring Mac Miller) reached #9 in June 2013. Azalea's "Fancy" (featuring Charli XCX) jumps from #7 to #4 this week. Both of Grande's top 10 hits have debuted in the top 10. "The Way" opened at #10.

"Problem" enters Top Digital Songs at #1, with first-week sales of 438K. That's the biggest first-week tally since Katy Perry's "Roar" started with sales of 557K in August 2013. It's the fourth biggest opening for a song by a female lead artist, following Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (623K), Perry's "Roar" (557K) and Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" (448K).

This bodes very well for Grande's upcoming sophomore album. Her debut album, "Yours Truly," debuted at #1 in September with first-week sales of 138K.

As noted above, "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX jumps from #7 to #4. The song jumps from #6 to #2 on Hot Digital Songs, just behind "Problem." Azalea is the first artist to have both of the top two hits on Hot Digital Songs (as either a lead or featured artist) since Taylor Swift scored in September 2012 with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "Ronan." Just four other artists have achieved this feat in the history of the digital songs chart: Mariah Carey, Beyonce, The Black Eyed Peas and Ke$ha. Azalea is the first artist to achieve the feat by combining lead and featured credits.

Here's a recap of this week's top 10 songs.

The Top Five: John Legend's "All Of Me" jumps from #2 to #1 in its 30th week on the chart. This is its 11th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #4 (161K) … Pharrell Williams's "Happy" dips from #1 to #2 in its 18th week on the chart. This is its 14th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #3 (174K) …"Problem" by Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea debuts at #3. It's the second top 10 hit for both acts. Digital sales rank: #1 (438K) … "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX jumps from #7 to #4 in its ninth week on the chart. This is its second week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #2 (222K) … "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry featuring Juicy J drops from #3 to #5 in its 33rd week on the chart. This is its 18th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #14 (83K).

The Second Five: "Talk Dirty" by Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz drops from #4 to #6 in its 20th week on the chart. This is its 15th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #8 (99K) … "Turn Down For What" by DJ Snake & Lil Jon drops from #5 to #7 in its 19th week on the chart. This is its sixth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #6 (126K) … Justin Timberlake's "Not A Bad Thing" jumps from #9 to #8 in its 10th week on the chart. This is its third week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #12 (85K) … Idina Menzel's "Let It Go" drops from #6 to #9 in its 23rd week on the chart. This is its eighth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #9 (91K) … Bastille's "Pompeii" drops from #8 to #10 in its 38th week on the chart. This is its 15th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #20 (63K).

"Loyal" by Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & French Montana or Too $hort or Tyga ends a two-week run in the top 10.

Let's keep an eye on three other songs that are already listed in the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs: Coldplay's "A Sky Full Of Stars" (Digital sales rank: #5, 139K), Rixton's "Me And My Broken Heart" (Digital sales rank: #7, 111K) and Ed Sheeran's "Sing" (Digital sales rank: #10, 86K). Rixton's song leaped from #41 to #29 on last week's Hot 100. Sheeran's song dropped from #14 to #16.

Look for Calvin Harris's "Summer," which shot from #44 to #26 last week, to move up this week. The song debuts at #1 on the U.K.'s Official Singles Chart. It's Harris's sixth #1 in that country; his fourth as a lead artist.

Imagine Dragons

's "Radioactive" tops the 7 million mark in digital sales this week. It's the ninth song to reach that milestone. It's the first rock song to hit 7M. It's the second by a group (as opposed to a duo) to reach that level, following the Black Eyed Peas's "I Gotta Feeling" (8,517,000).

"All I Do Is Win" by DJ Khaled featuring T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg & Rick Ross tops the 3 million mark in digital sales this week. The song reached #24 on the Hot 100 in 2010. The rapper's subsequent "I'm On One" (featuring Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne) climbed higher on the chart (#10) but hasn't sold as many copies (1,875,000).

Aloe Blacc's "The Man," which peaked at #8 on the Hot 100, this week becomes the sixth song to sell 2 million copies in 2014.

Wanna bring back a flood of summer memories? I traced the #1 Song of the Summer for every year from 1985 (Tears for Fears's "Shout") to 2013 (Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines") in a pair of Chart Watch Extras which we posted this week. If you missed them, here are links to Part One (1985 through 1999) and Part Two (2000 through 2013). Sun-screen optional.

To My Readers: I'll have a separate Chart Watch report on this week's key movers and debuts on the Hot 100 later today. I won't recap the top 10 in that second report. It will be fresh material.