Adele’s still proving to be the ultimate chart-breaker. “Set Fire to the Rain,” the singer’s third 21 single, has toppled Rihanna’s “We Found Love” to claim top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Ri Ri’s Calvin Harris-assisted track, which slips to number two this week, spent 10 total weeks on top of the chart, the stoutest run at that spot since Ke$ha notched nine weeks there at the beginning of 2010 with “Tik Tok.”
“Set Fire to the Rain” is Adele’s third number one, joining “Rolling in the Deep” (which spent seven weeks on top last year) and “Someone Like You” (five total weeks in 2011). Of course, 21 is also the number one album in the country this week, which means that Adele rules both charts simultaneously. That’s not necessarily a remarkable feat, as plenty of artists have lorded over both charts simultaneously, and 10 artists have even done it with two songs (most recently, Usher pulled it off with the Confessions singles “Yeah!” and “Burn” back in 2004). But in an interesting bit of trivia, Adele is now the only artist in history to rule both charts with three different singles from the same album. Scoring three number ones is tricky business, but scoring those hit singles while still keeping your album sales robust is more or less impossible. What’s more impressive is that Adele continues to climb these charts and break these records without much promotion, as she has only recently emerged from a brief sabbatical she took to recover from vocal cord surgery.
According to Bilboard, Adele’s 21 just notched its 17th week as the number one album in the country, which ties it with Billy Ray Cyrus’ Some Gave All on the all-time most weeks at number one list. Adele’s next target is the Whitney Houston-centric soundtrack to The Bodyguard, which spent 20 weeks at number one. Considering Adele has a Grammy bump to look forward to, and with her greatest chart-topping challenger Nicki Minaj now sitting out until April, another three weeks on top seems like child’s play.
Once she crosses that threshold, Adele enters into a whole new sales universe. The Bodyguard has the most weeks at number one in the SoundScan era (1991-present), though there are eight other albums that have spent more weeks at the top of the chart. The soundtrack to West Side Story is the official all-time leader, with 54 weeks at the pinnacle in 1962-63. That record, like Cy Young’s all-time wins mark for pitchers, is unlikely to ever be toppled, but it was also set in an era when album sales were an extremely loose science (or, at worst, not a science at all). Should 21 notch 21 weeks at number one (poetic!), it should be considered the record holder in this particular category.
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