Week Ending June 3, 2012. Songs: 22 By 24
Rihanna lands her 22nd top 10 hit as "Where Have You Been" jumps from #11 to #9 in its seventh week on the Hot 100. Only four female solo artists have amassed more top 10 hits in the history of the Hot 100 (which dates to 1958). Madonna leads the pack with 38, followed by Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson (27 each) and Whitney Houston (23).
But Rihanna is just 24, far younger than these other women were when they landed their 22nd top 10 hits.
Jackson was 29 in June 1995 when she landed her 22nd, "Scream" (a collabo with her brother Michael Jackson). Carey was 31 in August 2001 when she scored with "Loverboy" (from her ill-fated movie Glitter). Madonna was 32 in March 1991 when she hit with "Rescue Me." And Houston was 36 (a dozen years older than Rihanna is now) in October 1999 when she connected with "My Love Is Your Love."
"Where Have You Been" has the throbbing beat and full-throated vocal that characterized many Donna Summer hits of the 1970s and 1980s. That's meant as a compliment to Rihanna, who is a worthy successor to the great Summer.
"Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra this week pulls ahead of "We Are Young" by fun. featuring Janelle Monae to become the best-selling song so far in 2012. "Somebody…" has sold 4,757,000 copies so far this year. "We Are Young" has sold 4,733,000. If those totals sound big for just six months of sales, they are. Never before in digital history has a song sold so many copies in a six-month period as these two have this year. The old record for the heftiest sales in a six-month period was set a year ago by "E.T." by Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, which sold 4,120,000 copies in the first six months of the year.
To find the last song that sold this many copies in six months or less you have to go back to the pre-digital era, when Elton John's "Candle In The Wind 1997" sold 8,111,000 copies in the last 14 weeks of 1997. That, of course, was a special case. Elton re-recorded his 1973 ballad in the wake of Princess Diana's death on Aug. 31 of that year. All artist and composer royalties and record company profits were donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.
Setting a six-month sales record is great, but "Somebody…" and "We Are Young" both seem headed for bigger things. Both are likely to top Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" for the greatest digital sales in a calendar year. Adele's smash sold 5,813,000 copies in all of 2011. At the rate it's going, Gotye's smash will top that tally in about five weeks. That would/will make it the best-selling song in a calendar year (in any configuration) since "Candle In The Wind 1997."