Billboard Rounds-Up The Top Acts To Debut At #1 On The Hot 100

Published: Tuesday 28th Feb 2012 by TGJ Team

Scoring a #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 is no easy feat, well, it used to not be. Not only does it mark an artist’s reign on the most coveted of Billboard charts, but it also signifies their heightened cultural relevancy and serves as a tangible measure of success.

While many acts have had the pleasure of resting their laurels on the top spot following an ascend of some kind, not many can say their singles debuted at #1. Debuting in the pole position is the musical equivalent of Tiger Woods hitting a hole in one, Kobe Bryant sinking a basket from backcourt, or Rihanna staying on key throughout a performance–it’s rare!

See the select few whose single’s have the distinction of debuting at #1 after the jump and sound-off below. The roster may surprise you.

1. Michael Jackson – “You Are Not Alone.”
Chart Debut Date: September 2, 1995

2. Mariah Carey – “Fantasy”
Chart Debut Date: September 30, 1995

3. Whitney Houston – “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)”
Chart Debut Date: November 25, 1995

4. Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men – “One Sweet Day”
Chart Debut Date: December 2, 1995

5. Puff Daddy & Faith Evans feat. 112 – “I’ll Be Missing You”
Chart Debut Date: June 14, 1997

6. Mariah Carey – “Honey”
Chart Debut Date: September 13, 1997

7. Elton John – “Candle In The Wind 1997/ The Way You Look Tonight”
Chart Debut Date: October 11, 1997

8. Celine Dion – “My Heart Will Go On”
Chart Debut Date: February 28, 1998

9. Celine Dion & R. Kelly – “I’m Your Angel”
Chart Debut Date: November 17, 1998

10. Aerosmith – “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”
Chart Debut Date: September 5, 1998

11. Lauryn Hill – “Doo Wop (That Thing)”
Chart Debut Date: November 14, 1998

12. Clay Aiken – “This Is The Night”
Chart Debut Date: June 28, 2003

13. Fantasia – “I Believe”
Chart Debut Date: July 10, 2004

14. Carrie Underwood – “Inside Your Heaven”
Chart Debut Date: July 2, 2005

15. Taylor Hicks – “Do I Make You Proud”
Chart Debut Date: July 1, 2006

16. Britney Spears – “3”
Chart Debut Date: October 24, 2009

17. Eminem – “Not Afraid”
Chart Debut Date: May 22, 2010

18. Ke$ha – “We R Who We R”
Chart Debut Date: November 13, 2010

19. Britney Spears – “Hold It Against Me”
Chart Debut Date: January 29, 2011

20. Lady Gaga – “Born This Way”
Chart Debut Date: February 26, 2011

21. Katy Perry – “Part Of Me”
Chart Debut Date: March 3, 2012

As always, Mariah Carey leads the pack when it comes to Billboard chart successes earning three spots on the list. Britney Spears and Celine are the only other artists with multiple inclusions thanks to ‘My Heart Will Go On’, ‘I’m Your Angel’, ‘3’ and ‘Hold It Against Me’. What does come as quite the shock are the staggering amount of American Idol contestants who made the cut, especially since most were unable to top let alone match their debut success(es).

Your thoughts?

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  1. KAT DELUNA FAN February 28, 2012

    Bruno mars is coming yall

    go charty perry 😆

    I’ll be missing was such an incredible song

    Kudos to MC even if we know all the payola at Def Jam 🙄

  2. LadyGagaWarriorQueen February 28, 2012

    Born This Way WOOHOOOOOOO!

  3. Jake February 28, 2012

    They forgot R. Kelly and Celine Dions “Im your angel” – that debuted at no.1 in 1999

  4. Onyx February 28, 2012

    I have lost respect for the Americans charts, we have a lots s***, there was a time when a number 1 single means something now it seems that everybody could have one on the charts, today if a single by an artist doesn’t goes number 1 is a flop no even if it’s top ten, there was a time when a top ten hit was enough, most of the greatest singles and remembered songs of the past has only reached the top ten or the top 20, check out the 80’s charts, you will surprise of what songs were number 1.

  5. Those That Cannot Do, Stan February 28, 2012

    Mariah Carey killed that, proud of Ke$ha for making it to a #1 spot did ‘t expect that.

    Most of the names on that list are true talent and skill.

  6. Butternut February 28, 2012

    mariah reigns supreme DIVA DELICIOUS

  7. austin February 28, 2012

    This is all a joke everything is easy to get in now in 2012. Not like the 80s and 90s when it was hard.

  8. THE REAL TYLER* February 28, 2012

    YAY GAGA!!!!!!


  9. **YawnWaitWHAT?** February 28, 2012

    Mariah the Queen!

    She earned her #1’s RIGHTFULLY without all of the tricks, and dirt involved these days.

    When Mariah was getting those back to back #1’s, no iTunes and Digital Charts existed. These were around the times when REAL MUSIC was being made and #1 hits were deserving.

  10. Royalkev February 28, 2012

    It’s really sad how easy it is to get a #1 single these days. I don’t think it’s impressive anymore and I find it funny how some people today swear that an artist is nothing without one. I really think that topping the chart today simply means that people appreciate that particular single. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have a successful era, it bares no reflection on just how popular each artists is and it’s honestly too many ways to manipulate the Hot 100 charts. I’m not saying that the chart isn’t important at all, it’s just not what it use to be.

  11. commanderofthedancefloor February 28, 2012

    Go MC! She will always reign supreme, with or without the records.

  12. JohnVidal (RIPWhitney-true great) February 28, 2012

    Mariah and Celine true greats!!! Just that. You can see how easy is nowadays to top a singles chart fast way when you see Michael Mariah Celine or Whitney did it (making a true huge impact with those songs for decades to come) and nowadays Britney or Katy perry do it… haha b*******. Does somebody remember “3”? Or this new Katy perry song… in 5 years?

  13. MISHKA February 28, 2012

    From #1 to #11, the list make sense.

    After that it’s all marketing plots and TV boosts.

  14. Respect February 28, 2012

    TGJ, I don’t think that those songs are classified ! Look at all the dates, they are all in a chronological order .!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. YOOSONDALOOSE February 28, 2012

    Well done Mimi, as always she is owning!

  16. KAT DELUNA FAN February 28, 2012

    True Tea.Today it’s more :

    Radio payola
    Glee cover
    marketing plots
    =#1 song

    l am more impressed with vocals because it’s so rare in the music industry nowadays,ironically.

  17. XOXO February 28, 2012

    its sad how the standard of music has dropped over time.

  18. XOXO February 28, 2012

    its sad how the standard of music has dropped over time. Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” wouldnt have even made the top 50 let alone the #1 spot 10 years ago.

  19. MISHKA February 28, 2012

    From #1 to #11, the list makes sense.

    After that, it’s all marketing plots and TV boosts.

  20. JJFAN1814 February 28, 2012

    People say its easy to get a #1 hit these days…Really?

    I guess Beyonce didnt want a #1 this era then…

  21. JohnVidal (RIPWhitney-true great) February 28, 2012

    Mariah and Celine have new albums this year! All I care is for the true greats we have left

  22. Deeboy08 February 28, 2012

    Yay fantasia

  23. ANNE February 28, 2012

    JJFAN I think you are right. For some reason she didn’t seem to really care much about getting a number one single.

  24. Dante February 28, 2012

    Hey haters did yall see The Queen of Music Mariah Carey on this list 3 Times?? Yeap 3 times !!! and the Princess of R&b Soul Fantasia is on there as well!! Its offical tasia and MC been doin it big !! and people say Jhud is the bigger star lmbo AS IF LMBO

  25. **YawnWaitWHAT?** February 28, 2012

    Why should Bey care about getting another #1 single? I’m sure she’s glad when it happens, but she don’t desperately chase after #1’s like Rihanna and Katy constantly do.

    And payola does NOT buy someone a #1 hit. It would get you airtime, but not a #1 hit. If that was the case than people like Britney Spears, J.Lo, Beyonce, Madonna and many others that have used payola would have had a number of #1 singles. I know Madonna has 12, but she hasn’t had a #1 hit on the BB Hot 100 in ages.

  26. JohnVidal (RIPWhitney-true great) February 28, 2012

    Are u trying to say Fantasia is on a Mariah Carey level of success??? haha She just had one fake and quick #1 thanks to American Idol and that´s it (no shade to fantasia, I liked her last album). Like everybody else said, great and credible list till the 11th song who made it. After that just b******* thanks to tv and itunes

  27. Royalkev February 28, 2012


    …and what about Janet??? I’m not shading my girl, because you know I stan for both(Bey & Janet). I just think we all know by now that some artists get #1’s because their industry puppets and others have to work a little bit harder for it.

  28. beelzebub February 28, 2012

    They need to move “Honey” way down that list – that is one of her forgottenhits that no one plays or remembers. Was it one of the ones they sold for .49 to get it to #1?

    “Doo Wop: on the other hand …

  29. beyoncestanallthway February 28, 2012

    where is rihanna on the list because really part of me by katy perry is not even that big. and also where is beyonce. and adele rolling in the deep. i know adele definitely deserves to be up there.

  30. Grammy dammy sammy February 28, 2012

    Ok pipe down fans of the greats. Payola is cheating too, maybe it doesnt get u a no1 directly but it indirectly does cuz a) airplay counts towards billboard position b) obviously the more exposure a song has on d radio, the more appealing it becomes n the more likely its sales will soar. Goin no1 by just puttin your song on itunes, no radio play is commendable too. It’s different from the way it was, but still a feat.

  31. Nichole February 28, 2012

    Look at these clowns hatin on Queen Mariah.

    Honey, forgettable? Not! Especially considering the song was one of her biggest defining moments. People will never forget about the claasic music video.

    The only #1 single of Mariah’s that is pretty much forgettable is Heartbreaker. The majority of her #1’s are classics.

    Now Rihanna has 11 #1’s, and very few are memorable. As a matter of fact, most of her #1’s probably won’t receive any airtime in 10-20 years.

    She has one defining #1 single, and that was Umbrella. Most of Mariah’s will stand the test of time.

  32. BC February 28, 2012

    LOL dont worry cus Beyonce is coming back. She will have plenty more #1s. that was not her main focus with 4. And Mariah is amazing for that u all know!

  33. ChrisFresh February 29, 2012

    BRITNEY was da first NON American Idol winner to have a debut #1 hit in 11 years from doo wop1998- 2009 #artistofthedecade

  34. Sleazy February 29, 2012

    Only notable #1s rihanna had is. We Found love (only cus its generic) . Umbrella (deserves it). Rude Boy (Banger)

  35. JohnVidal (RIPWhitney-true great) February 29, 2012

    Ok since I last commented on here yesterday, two more retarded people left a comment on this post. Can´t you f****** read??? These are the only songs that have debuted at #1! How is it that Honey should be lower on the list??? It debuted #1 and the list goes by debut date, not which of them ended being more succesful. Learn some music history or at least learn to read:
    This list prior 2000 = Greatness and true classics
    After that = Pure s*** thanks to tv and itunes
    Accept once and for all that Mariah, Whitney or Celine Dion own your favorites big time

  36. Morgan February 29, 2012

    Wheres my girl Bey on this list?????

  37. DEE February 29, 2012


  38. DeeDee December 8, 2013

    Us lambs appreciate you “MC kudos”, however you just showed how little research you do. Payola has nothing to do with her 3 singles. One reason is that those singles were released under Columbia and not Island Def Jam. Reason 2, those 3 songs were huge timeless hits for her. They broke records, and created music trends.

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