Pharrell Williams's feel-good smash "Happy" moves up to #1 on the Hot 100. This marks the first time that a black artist has topped the chart, as a lead artist, since Rihanna scored in December 2012 with "Diamonds." Billboard reports that 2013 was the first year in which no black artists, as lead artists, reached #1 on the Hot 100 since the chart was introduced in 1958. Things seem to be improving for black artists, who are in the lead position on four of this week's top five hits. Jason Derulo holds at #3 for the third week, John Legend vaults from #11 to #4 and Beyonce holds at #5 for the second week.
"Happy" sold 402K copies this week. That's the highest weekly sales tally so far this year; the highest outside of Christmas week (when sales traditionally swell) since September, when Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" blew up (477K). It's the highest weekly sales tally for a hit by a black artist in more than two years, since LMFAO's "Sexy And I Know It" sold 417K copies in the week ending Jan. 1, 2012.
"Happy" is Williams's fourth #1 hit as an artist, but his first as a lead artist. He was featured on three previous #1 hits: Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot," Ludacris's "Money Maker" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines." (While Williams is back at #1 this week, Thicke hasn't climbed above #25 since "Blurred Lines." And Daft Punk, which Williams backed on "Get Lucky," hasn't returned to the Hot 100 since that Grammy-winning smash.)
With Chad Hugo, his partner in The Neptunes, Williams has also co-produced and co-written two other #1 hits on which he didn't have a featured credit: Nelly's "Hot In Herre" and Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl."
"Happy" is nominated for an Oscar for Original Song. It's the first Original Song nominee to reach #1 since Eminem's "Lose Yourself" from "8 Mile." "Happy" is the underdog in this year's Oscar race, where it's facing "Let It Go" from the Disney blockbuster "Frozen." If "Happy" comes up short on Sunday, it would be the first #1 hit to lose an Oscar race in 15 years. The last time a nominated #1 hit didn't win the Oscar was in 1999, when "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" from "Armageddon" lost out to "When You Believe" from "The Prince Of Egypt." Aerosmith's recording of "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" had reached #1. The Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey duet version of "When You Believe" peaked at #15.
Williams wrote and produced "Happy." This marks the first time in more than four years that one person has written, produced and performed a #1 hit without any credited collaborators. The last time it happened was in November 2009, when Owl City's "Fireflies" spent two weeks on top. (Owl City is a stage name for Minnesota musician Adam Young.)
There have been a few close calls since then. Baauer wrote, produced and performed "Harlem Shake," but shared the songwriting credit with Hector Delgado, who wrote a song that Baauer sampled. Gotye wrote and produced "Somebody That I Used To Know," but employed a featured artist, Kimbra.
"Happy" logged three weeks at #1 on the U.K.'s Official Singles Chart earlier this year. It's the second song so far this year to reach #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. It follows "Timber" by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha.
"Happy" is #1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for the second week.
Billboard's Gary Trust notes that "Happy" is the fifth #1 hit on the Hot 100 with the word "happy" in its title. It follows Dave "Baby" Cortez's 1959 instrumental "The Happy Organ," Jimmy Soul's 1963 hit "If You Wanna Be Happy," the Turtles' 1967 classic "Happy Together" and Bobby McFerrin's 1988 smash "Don't Worry, Be Happy."
"Dark Horse" by Katy Perry featuring Juicy J dips from #1 to #2 after four weeks on top. Perry's first "rap/sung" collaboration, "California Gurls" (featuring Snoop Dogg), had six weeks on top. Her second, "E.T." (featuring Kanye West), had five.
"Dark Horse" had a slim 5% lead over "Happy" in overall Hot 100 points last week. This week, "Happy" has a slightly slimmer 4% lead over "Dark Horse." (The "Dark Horse" video was released last week, which boosted the song's streaming points. Pharrell's Oscar performance on Sunday will probably allow him to fatten his lead next week.)
I have some compensating good news for Perry below the top 10 list.
As noted above, John Legend's "All Of Me" leaps from #11 to #4. It's his first top 10 hit. Until this piano ballad, Legend had never climbed higher than #24. Legend performed "All Of Me" on the Grammys, which gave it a big boost.
"Say Something" by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera drops from #4 to #8. The song tops the 3 million mark in digital sales this week.
Here's a recap of this week's top 10 songs.
The Top Five: Pharrell Williams's "Happy" jumps from #2 to #1 in its eighth week on the chart. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #1 (402K) … "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry featuring Juicy J dips from #1 to #2 its 23rd week on the chart. This is its eighth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #2 (251K) … "Talk Dirty" by Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz holds at #3 for the third week in its 10th week on the chart. This is its fifth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #3 (247K) … John Legend's "All Of Me" leaps from #11 to #4 in its 20th week on the chart. This is his first top 10 hit. Digital sales rank: #4 (203K) …"Drunk In Love" by Beyonce featuring Jay Z holds at #5 for the second week in its 10th week on the chart. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #11 (105K)
The Second Five: Bastille's "Pompeii" jumps from #8 to #6 in its 28th week on the chart. This is its fifth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #5 (142K) … Lorde's "Team" jumps from #9 to #7 in its 22nd week on the chart. This is its sixth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #10 (111K)…. "Say Something" by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera drops from #4 to #8 in its 16th week on the chart. This is its 13th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #8 (119K) … OneRepublic's "Counting Stars" drops from #6 to #9 in its 36th week on the chart. This is its 18th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #13 (87K) …. "Timber" by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha drops from #7 to #10 in its 20th week on the chart. This is its 15th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #9 (112K).
Passenger's "Let Her Go" drops out of the top 10, ending a 12-week in the top 10.
Two songs that have not yet cracked the top 10 on the Hot 100 are listed in the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs, which often runs ahead of the Hot 100. Aloe Blacc's "The Man" jumps from #8 to #6 on Hot Digital Songs (133K). Idina Menzel's "Let It Go" jumps from #9 to #7 (125K).
Katy Perry's "Roar" tops the 5 million mark in digital sales this week. It's her fifth song to reach that plateau. This extends her lead as the artist with the most 5-million-sellers in digital history. Lady Gaga is the runner-up with three. Perry's other 5 million-sellers are "Firework" (6,545,000), "E.T." (featuring Kanye West, 5,700,000), "California Gurls," featuring Snoop Dogg, 5,604,000) and "Hot N' Cold" (5,486,000).
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.