Taylor Swift this week ties Pharrell Williams as the artist who has logged the most weeks at #1 on the Digital Songs sales chart in 2014. Both hit-makers have had 11 weeks at #1 so far this year. Williams racked up that total with just one song (“Happy”). Swift needed three songs to equal that total: “Shake It Off” (four weeks), “Out of the Woods” (one week) and the current “Blank Space” (six weeks and counting).
There are still two weeks left in Nielsen SoundScan’s tracking year, so Swift will probably pull ahead of Williams.
Only three other artists in the digital era have spent 11 or more week at #1 on the Digital Songs chart during a calendar year. The Black Eyed Peas had 20 weeks on top in 2009, owing to the success of those back-to-back earworms “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling.” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis had 15 weeks on top in 2013, thanks to “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us.” LMFAO had 11 weeks on top in 2011 thanks to their earworms “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy and I Know It.”
"Blank Space" also tops the Hot 100 for the fifth week in its seventh week on the chart. It’s Swift’s longest-running #1 hit to date, surpassing "Shake It Off," which had four weeks on top.
This is Billboard's final Hot 100 of 2014 (their publishing calendar runs 13 days behind Nielsen SoundScan “week ending” dates). Female artists held the lead position on the #1 song for 28 of the 52 weeks of Billboard's publishing year. That was the best showing for women since 2011 (a.k.a., the year of Adele), when women were out front for 37 weeks.
"Blank Space" jumps to #1 in its sixth week on the all-genre Radio Songs chart, which measures only airplay. It displaces Maroon 5's “Animals.” It's one of only four songs in the past 12 years to streak to #1 on this key chart in just six weeks. The others are Lady Gaga's “Born This Way,” “The Monster” by Eminem featuring Rihanna and Pharrell’s aforementioned “Happy.”
"Shake It Off" drops from #6 to #10 in its 17th week on the Hot 100. "Style," which is likely to be Swift’s next single, re-enters the chart at #76.
Hozier's “Take Me to Church” holds at #2 for the second week in its 18th week. It's #1 on Rock Songs for the eighth week.
"Uptown Funk!" by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars jumps from #5 to #3 in its fifth week. It’s Mars’s seventh song to reach the top three. Prince had a pair of top 10 albums in October. If he’d had a track as irresistable as “Uptown Funk!” on one of those albums, it would have been hailed as the comeback of the year. Ronson and Mars doubtless drew inspiration from classic Prince tracks, as well as vintage productions by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
"Uptown Funk!" enters The U.K.’s Official Sales Chart at #1. It’s Ronson’s first U.K. #1 (as either an artist or producer); Mars’s fifth. It is very likely to become Mars’s fourth transatlantic #1, following B.o.B's “Nothin' on You” (on which he was featured), “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade.” (His other U.K. #1 was “The Lazy Song,” which peaked at #4 in the U.S.)
Like Swift, Meghan Trainor has two songs in the top 10. “Lips Are Movin” jumps from #8 to #4 in its eighth week. “All About That Bass” drops from #3 to #7 in its 23rd week. (It tops the 4 million mark in digital sales this week.)
Sam Smith's “I'm Not the Only One” jumps from #7 to #5 its 15th week. The song tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. It's Smith's second million-seller as a lead artist. “Stay with Me” is up to 3,213,000.
Ed Sheeran lands his highest-charting hit to date as “Thinking Out Loud” vaults from #24 to #6 in its 10th week. It’s Sheeran’s second top 10 hit. “Don’t” reached #9 last month.
"Thinking Out Loud" includes the lyric, "And darling I will be loving you ‘til you’re 70." Sheeran, 23, isn’t the first young songwriter to choose a specific age (that probably sounds a lifetime away) to signify old age. Paul Simon referred to that same age in Simon & Garfunkel's 1968 album track “Old Friends.” The lyric: “How terribly strange to be 70.” (Simon was 26 at the time. He is now 73.)
Paul McCartney chose an even younger age to denote “old age” in “When I’m Sixty-Four.” McCartney wrote the jaunty tune when he was just 16. Eight years later, the Beatles recorded it on their opus Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. (McCartney is now 72.)
And now, back to the countdown.
Maroon 5's “Animals” drops from #4 to #8 in its 17th week. The song peaked at #3.
"Love Me Harder" by Ariana Grande & The Weeknd rebounds from #10 to #9 in its 10th week. The song peaked at #7.
Nick Jonas's “Jealous” drops out of the top 10 this week. It peaked at #8. Jonas's drop-trou photo spread and this excellent pop record combined to make their point: Jonas has grown up.
Tove Lo's “Habits (Stay High)” and “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea featuring Rita Ora both top the 2 million mark in digital sales this week. Both songs reached #3 on the Hot 100.
To My Readers: I’ll have a second blog drawn from the Hot 100 later on. I’ll also post Chart Watch Albums. Crazy day.
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