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Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Drivers License’ Is One of the Most Dominant No. 1s of Last 30 Years

With Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” racing onto the Billboard Hot 100 (dated Jan. 23, 2021) at No. 1, the out-of-the-box pop powerhouse easily laps every potential challenger, arriving with well over twice as many Hot 100 chart points as its closest competitor, the current No. 2 “Mood” by 24kgoldn featuring iann dior. In essence, “License” is now the 24th song that can claim to be at least twice as popular as any other song on the chart this week.

As with any juggernaut single in recent years, streaming, of course, is the key component that separates the champions from the challengers. In the case of “Drivers License,” Rodrigo’s profile among teens and young adults through her work on Disney, including High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, an intriguing backstory involving a real-life love triangle, and a co-sign from Taylor Swift pushed its initial success, which then sparked an avalanche of interest around the young singer, who’s drawn comparisons to Swift, Lorde and others. Whichever avenue introduced fans and observers to “License,” all roads led to streams of the strong, which registered 76.1 million U.S. clicks in the week ending Jan. 14, according to MRC Data, the highest total for a female artist’s first single properly promoted to radio and streaming services.

The fine print: The Hot 100 ranks the most popular songs of the week in the U.S. based on a blend of streaming, airplay and sales data. The chart, which launched on Aug. 4, 1958, began incorporating Nielsen Music’s electronically-measured point-of-sale and radio airplay information on the list dated Nov. 30, 1991. Since that date, only 24 songs have run away with enough sales, airplay and, since 2012, streaming activity to rule with at least a two-to-one points lead. With 356 No. 1s in that span (beginning with P.M. Dawn’s “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss”), just under 7 percent of all leaders have ballooned to such heights.

Unsurprisingly, the list contains enduring megahits such as Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” which recorded the first two-to-one points lead. The ballad blasted the competition with a lead of at least that size for nine of its 14 weeks at No. 1, the most for song in the past 25-plus years.

Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind 1997″/”Something About the Way You Look Tonight,” meanwhile, claims the biggest ratio lead over a No. 2 song: It debuted at No. 1 on Oct. 11, 1997, with a massive points lead of 17 times the amount of the No. 2 challenger (Boyz II Men’s “4 Seasons of Loneliness”). John scored the most lopsided lead thanks to “Candle,” his tribute to the then-recently deceased Diana, Princess of Wales, selling a Nielsen-record 3.4 million physical singles in the corresponding week.

Here’s the full roster:

“I Will Always Love You,” Whitney Houston
Nine weeks with 2x points as No. 2: Dec. 12, 1992-Feb. 6, 1993
Six weeks above No. 2 “If I Ever Fall in Love” by Shai; three weeks above No. 2 “Rump Shaker” by Wreckx-n-Effect

“I’ll Make Love to You,” Boyz II Men
Three weeks with 2x points as No. 2: Sept. 10-24, 1994
All above No. 2 “Stay (I Missed You)” by Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories

“Tha Crossroads,” Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
Three weeks with 2x points as No. 2: June 8-22, 1996
Two weeks above No. 2 “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey; one week above No. 2 “You’re Makin’ Me High”/”Let It Flow” by Toni Braxton

“I’ll Be Missing You,” Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112
Two weeks with 2x points as No. 2: July 5-12, 1997
One week above No. 2 “Mmmbop” by Hanson; one week above No. 2 “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks

“Candle in the Wind 1997″/”Something About the Way You Look Tonight,” Elton John
Five weeks with 2x points as No. 2: Oct. 11-Nov. 8, 1997
Two weeks above No. 2 “4 Seasons of Loneliness” by Boyz II Men; three weeks above No. 2 “You Make Me Wanna…” by Usher

“My Heart Will Go On,” Celine Dion
One week with 2x points as No. 2: Feb. 28, 1998
Above No. 2 “Nice and Slow” by Usher

“All My Life,” K-Ci & JoJo
One week with 2x points as No. 2: April 4, 1998
Above No. 2 “Frozen” by Madonna

“The Boy Is Mine,” Brandy & Monica
Two weeks with 2x points as No. 2: June 20-27, 1998
Both above No. 2 “You’re Still the One” by Shania Twain

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” Aerosmith
One week with 2x points as No. 2: Sept. 5, 1998
Above No. 2 “The First Night” by Monica

“Heartbreaker,” Mariah Carey featuring Jay-Z
One week with 2x points as No. 2: Oct. 9, 1999
Above No. 2 “Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas

“All for You,” Janet Jackson
One week with 2x points as No. 2: April 14, 2001
Above No. 2 “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child

“Hips Don’t Lie,” Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean
One week with 2x points as No. 2: June 17, 2006
Above No. 2 “Ridin” by Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone

“SexyBack,” Justin Timberlake
Two weeks with 2x points as No. 2: Sept. 9-16, 2006
Both above No. 2 “London Bridge” by Fergie

“Right Round,” Flo Rida
One week with 2x points as No. 2: Feb. 28, 2009
Above No. 2 “Dead and Gone” by T.I. featuring Justin Timberlake

“Harlem Shake,” Baauer
Four weeks with 2x points as No. 2: March 2-March 23, 2013
All above No. 2 “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz

?

“Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke featuring T.I. + Pharrell
Two weeks with 2x points as No. 2: Aug. 17-Aug. 24, 2013
Both above No. 2 “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus

“Hello,” Adele
Three weeks with 2x points as No. 2: Nov. 14-Nov. 28, 2015
All above No. 2 “Sorry” by Justin Bieber

“Shape of You,” Ed Sheeran
One week with 2x points as No. 2: March 25, 2017
Above No. 2 “Bad and Boujee” by Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert

?

“Look What You Made Me Do,” Taylor Swift
One week with 2x points as No. 2: Sept. 16, 2017
Above No. 2 “Despacito,” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber

“God’s Plan,” Drake
One week with 2x points as No. 2: March 3, 2018
Above No. 2 “Perfect,” by Ed Sheeran

“In My Feelings,” Drake
Two weeks with 2x points as No. 2: July 28 – August 5, 2018
Above No. 2 “I Like It,” Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin

“Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
Eight weeks with 2x points as No. 2:
One week above No. 2s: “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse)” by Post Malone and Swae Lee, “If I Can’t Have You” by Shawn Mendes and “I Don’t Care” by Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber
Two weeks above No. 2: “Wow.” by Post Malone
Three weeks above No. 2: “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish

“WAP,” Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion
One week with 2x points as No. 2: “Rockstar” by DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch

“Drivers License,” Olivia Rodrigo
One week with 2x points as No. 2: “Mood,” by 24kgoldn featuring iann dior

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