Mariah Carey, Madonna and TLC: The Longest Hot 100 Streaks of 1995
TLC celebrated the beginning of its longest streak on the Hot 100 on this date 20 years ago, as "Waterfalls" topped the singles charts for seven weeks afterward. Now, the Hot 100 is different than the Billboard 200 in that it's rare for any one album to top the chart for more than a few weeks, while songs can rack up huge runs on their chart. For example, only two albums have been at no. 1 for more than one week during 2015 (Taylor Swift's 1989 and Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly), while Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk" has ruled the Hot 100 for 14 weeks thus far (the other 14 weeks have been split between Swift and Wiz Khalifa). Five songs managed to stay at no. 1 for seven weeks or more during 1995...so at least 35 of the year's 52 weeks were owned by just five songs. Check out the playlist of '95's most popular tracks below:
"Take A Bow" by Madonna (February 25 until April 8)
Madonna was no stranger to the Billboard Hot 100 when she first peaked with "Take A Bow" during early 1995...after all, this was her 11th time on top. In fact, this single marked a historic mark for the performer, helping her to surpass Carole King as the female songwriter with the most no. 1's to her name (although that record has since been changed again. More on that later). Although this song hasn't remained in radio play as consistently as older singles such as "Vogue" and "Like A Prayer," "Take A Bow" still holds the mark for the longest streak at no. 1 for Madge. Unfortunately, it also marked a downturn in the popularity of the performer's singles, as the only other no. 1 she's had in the last 20 years was 2000's "Music." It's also worth noting this was her last song to chart in the R&B Top 40, no doubt thanks to songwriting assistance from Babyface.
"This Is How We Do It" by Montell Jordan (April 15 until May 27)
As soon as one seven-week streak ended, another began. And although "Take A Bow" might have marked the end of Madonna's reign of no. 1s, "This Is How We Do It" marked both the beginning and the end of Montell Jordan's time at the top of the charts. Jordan just happened to take advantage of the "hip-hop soul" movement that was popular at the time. Some have labeled TLC as being members of the subgenre, which consists of singing R&B and soul over hip-hop beats, and Boyz II Men were also enjoying an unprecedented level of success that year, having topped the Hot 100 twice. Jordan's Follow-up single "Somethin' 4 da Honeyz" failed to crack the Top 20 of the Hot 100 however.
"Waterfalls" by TLC (July 8 until August 19)
Ask a TLC fan to name the definitive year in the trio's career and you're bound to get arguments for both 1995 and 1999: The first marked the release of CrazySexyCool and the second featured the drop of FanMail, both of which would provide two no. 1 singles. The trio of Chilli, Left-Eye and T-Boz couldn't foresee the next album yet, so they had to be overwhelmed by the success of the former album. "Creep" marked the group's first-ever no. 1 song but it "only" stayed at the top for a mere four weeks. "Waterfalls," arguably the group's most popular song (very arguable), would be the group's longest run at no. 1, with seven weeks on top. Most musicians look to the Hot 100 as the definitive sign of success, however it's tough to please everyone. That makes it more incredible that TLC managed to top all of the major music markets—U.S., Canada, UK, Australia, France, Germany, and Sweden—with three different singles ("Waterfalls," "Creep" and "No Scrubs"). Not even Madonna can claim that.
(Note: We almost had four consecutive seven-week streaks atop the Hot 100, however Bryan Adams could only last six weeks with "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman" between "This Is How We Do It" and "Waterfalls.")
"Fantasy" by Mariah Carey (from September 9 until November 18)
Finally, someone breaks the seven-week mark (because...you know...that's so easy to do). Mariah Carey entered the Hot 100 at no. 1 with "Fantasy," the first single off of her hit album Daydream, and didn't leave for eight weeks. Remember how we referenced a female songwriter eventually surpassing Madonna? That was Carey, of course, who has had a hand in writing 17 of her 18 no. 1 hits. It may be absurd now to worry about the vocalist's performance during 1995, but Carey was actually on somewhat of a cold streak at the time. Remember that cold streaks are relative as well...when we say she was "cold," we mean that the superstar had released three singles in a row that failed to reach no. 1, at that time a record for her (one of the non-no. 1s was "All I Want For Christmas Is You," which has still generated around $50 million in royalties. Some cold streak). "Fantasy" was her ninth chart-topper, and would kick off a streak of five consecutive no. 1s, tying her record from the beginning of her career. That said...
"One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey (December 2 until March 16)
We may have cheated a bit. "One Sweet Day," the second single off of Daydream, only spent five weeks atop the charts during 1995, but it picked up right where it left off during 1996. Not only that, it continued for another 11 weeks, totaling 16 consecutive weeks at no. 1. If that sounds like an absurd amount...that's because it is. "One Sweet Day" holds the record for most weeks at no. 1 and it didn't need a break. A number have gotten to 14 weeks, including "Uptown Funk" but no one has gotten any closer. If you package that together with "Fantasy," there was a period between 1995-'96 where Carey was at no. 1 for 24 of 25 weeks (only being broken for one week by Whitney Houston's "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)." We also mentioned earlier that Boyz II Men had topped the charts twice during 1995. That's also somewhat untrue. The first instance, "On Bended Knee," was all them, but the other case was their support of Carey during "One Sweet Day." Of course, it's appropriate that they were included on the track: Carey was breaking their record at the time for most weeks at no. 1, as their "I'll Make Love To You" was the previous holder.