Like Katy Perry, who recently scored a historic #1 of her own, Rihanna was an unlikely candidate for a a long, illustrious chart career upon her 2005 debut. "Pon De Replay," the Barbadian singer's first hit, rode the end of the mid-00s dancehall craze to #2 on the charts, but her follow-up fizzled, and she seemed destined to be lumped in with the Nina Skys and Kevin Lyttles of the world as a one-off from an ephemeral music trend. But then second album A Girl Like Me spawned two top-ten hits, including the chart-topping "S.O.S.," and then the next year's "Umbrella" became the biggest hit of 2007. Before you knew it, Rihanna was one of the world's pre-eminent pop stars.
Now, she has officially joined the ranks of the all-time greats. With "S&M" moving up one to pole position on the Hot 100 this week (on the back of sales of its Britney-featuring remix), Rihanna has earned her tenth #1 single—eight as a lead artist, and two as a featured one (T.I.'s "Live Your Life" and Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie"). At only 23 years old and change, Rihanna is now the youngest artist to ever reach double-digits in chart-toppers, easily beating the record held previously held by Mariah Carey, then 25 years and eight months old.
The list of ten-time chart-toppers that Rihanna joins is indeed a formidable one, a club with just nine other members: The Beatles, Elvis Presley (counting some pre-Hot 100 #1s), Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Supremes, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder and Janet Jackson. It's crazy to think that Ri has joined that elitest of elite company in barely a half-decade of chart prominence, but that's just how prolific and successful she's been over that time span, outclassing even such megastar peers as Beyoncé, Pink, and even her "S&M" gal-pal Britney Spears, whose inclusion on Rihanna's new #1 hit gives her just five for her twelve-year career.
A hearty congratulations to Rihanna for reaching the highest tier of the pop stratosphere. Next time though, Ri, don't try to cheat your way to the top by releasing a soundalike remix of your #2 hit with a fellow superstar's name attached to it, just to bump it to #1. You're better than that kind of petty chicanery.
For lots more pics, videos and up-to-the-second dish on Rihanna, be sure to check out her Popdust Artist Page.