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.