1995 A Year of Record Breakers (2024)

1995 A Year of Record Breakers (1)

In the year of 1995, the Billboard Hot 100 would experience an astonishing year of record breakers which had not been seen before. Newly charting singles entered in very high positions and one song still has an honorable place in chart history. This was an exciting year to see such enormous shakeups that would take place.

In late 1991, Billboard revamped the “Hot 100 Singles.”Billboard began to digitally monitor airplay from over 122 radio stations using Broadcast Data Systems, and incorporate actual sales counts through SoundScan. The number of radio stations increased to 236 radio stations by 1995 and it would grow even larger. The number of retail outlets reporting to SoundScan increased immensely by this time. Previously, the Billboard Hot 100 was tracked by reports of sales and airplay provided by radio stations and major retail stores.

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When Billboard went live with Broadcast Data Systems and SoundScan in late 1991, the Billboard Hot 100 Singles experienced major changes on the chart. Singles spent longer periods of time on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. Number one songs were staying at the top position for longer times. Some number one songs even broke previous records with 13 and 14 week stays at number one.

In June of 1995, Michael Jackson released his ninth studio album,HIStory. The first single released was Scream with Janet Jackson and was backed with another song, Childhood on the “B” side. The song received substantial airplay before the initial single release. Scream rose quickly within the top 20 on the Hot 100 Airplay, the airplay component. Scream/Childhood was released as a single in mid June of ’95. The sales figures were very high when the retail single was released. The single was one of the top 5 best selling singles for the week of June 10th. “Scream/Childhoodentered the top 10 at Number 5 on the following week of June 17th for its debut entry on the Hot 100 Singles. Michael Jackson’s “Scream/Childhood” was a record breaker on the week of June 17th of 1995 for The Highest Debut on the Hot 100 Singles. Before this date, the record highest debut belonged to the Beatles for their single “Let it Be” which debuted at Number 6. That record was held for over 25 years until the summer of 1995.

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On June 17th of 1995, Michael Jackson’s Scream/Childhood became the highest debut ever on the Billboard Hot 100.

However, on the same week of Micheal Jackson’s high debut, Hip-Hop artist The Notorious B.I.G. released “One More Chance.” The singlewould also enter at Number 5 one week later. One More Chance’s single debut brought in over 80,000 units of sales for the previous week. One More Chance was # 1 in sales for the week. The song steadily rose up the airplay monitor particularly from stats of Rhythmic Top 40 radio stations. So now, Michael Jackson and the Notorious B.I.G. were at a tie for the highest debut entries on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. What a coincidence, two songs to debut at # 5 in just two weeks!

Fast forward three months later, Michael Jackson set quite an amazing record. Jackson released the second single from the HIStory album, “You Are Not Alone.” You Are Not Alone picked up advanced airplay on top 40 radio stations weeks before the single entered the chart. The song was rising on the Hot 100 Airplay since mid July.The retail single was released towards the end of August in 1995. At this time on the Billboard Hot 100, there had to be a retail single in order for a single to enter the Hot 100. Singles were released in a variety of formats which were CDs, cassettes and vinyl records. Major retail stores had put Michael Jackson’s single on sale for as a low as 49¢ to 99¢ and $1.99 depending on the format. The sales advantage bolstered the sales of the song. According to Billboard Magazine’s Chart Beat column, “The sales for You Are Not Alone in its first week surpassed 120,000 units.” The airplay for the single continued to rise and it was nearing its peak. With such strong airplay and the almost immediate sales surge, there was no doubt that the single would enter very high up on the charts. However, it was a major shock to see the song debut at the Number One spot!

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Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone” holds the honor for the 1st single To Debut at Number 1on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles. TheMichael Jackson single entered the chart at Number 1 on the week ending September 2nd, 1995. Indeed, this was an amazing achievement to debut at the top of the chart. “You Are Not Alone” made the Guinness Book of World Records in 1995 for the first # 1 song to debut at number 1 in the 37 year history of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

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“You Are Not Alone” stayed at number one for one week. The single continued to rack up sales and even maintained its bullet. The Michael Jackson song got certified Platinum for sales of over one million copies.

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For a comprehensive look at the entire chart for this week, click HERE.

Later in September, another Jackson family member received a record high debut. Janet Jackson’s “Runaway” debuted at # 6. Janet Jackson was the first female artist with the highest debut on the Hot 100 Singles. “Runaway” tied her with The Beatles “Let It Be” number 6 debut and she had the 6th overall highest debut.

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During September, four # 1 singles, both former and current, occupied the top four positions on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles. It continued into the first week of October for a total of five weeks. # 1 songs in the top 4 for that length of timeare a very rare occurrence most likely a first on the chart this year.

The achievement for a single debuting at # 1 happened again and occurred in September, 1995. This ground breaking accomplishment would be repeated three more times. Here is the list of singles that went on to debut at number one in 95:

  • Fantasy – Mariah Carey
  • Exhale (Shoop Shoop) from the film “Waiting to Exhale” – Whitney Houston
  • One Sweet Day – Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men.

All of these songs brought in big sales within its first week. The sales for these # 1 debutsaveraged more than 165,000 copies in its first week. The singles were certified Platinum for sales of over 1,000,000 copies. Mariah’s two singles earned a double Platinum status. Record labels played a big part in these new happenings in 1995 and it certainly worked. The songs were released to radio stations weeks before the single became available to buyers. When the single became available to purchase, retailers put the specific songs on sale much of time causing huge sales waves in its first week release as well as the proceeding weeks after.

In addition to number 1 debuts, there were additional high debuts within the top 10 for the fall of 1995:

  • R. Kelly – You Remind of Something (# 4)
  • Pearl Jam – I Got ID/Long Road (# 7)
  • Madonna – You’ll See (# 8)
  • The Beatles – Free As a Bird (# 10).

Then there would be a huge record broken. On December 2, 1995, “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men began its chart run. The sales for the single exceeded more than 204,000 units for its debut week on the chart. The song entered the chart at the Number One position making it the 4th single to do so. “One Sweet Day” began an amazing run at the number one position. One Sweet Day continued its strong sales lead and the single was awarded a double Platinum certification by the end of January of ‘96 for sales of over 2 million copies. The airplay monitored for the song was # 1 in airplay for many weeks as well. “One Sweet Day” continued its strong run at the # 1 position and would stay 16 weeks at number 1 well into March of 1996! This is the most weeks that a single logged in at the # 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles.

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A special congrats goes to Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men for creating this record.

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In contrast to these high debuts, there was a record for the lowest Hot Shot Debut. This happened on July 29, 1995. It is the lowest high debut in the history of the Hot 100 Singles chart. This goes to alternative rock group, Garbage. They came in at # 97! The name of the song is “Vow.”

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The single lost its bullet on the next week, and spent one more week at # 97. After that, it fell off the chart.

There were 38 total singles that debuted within the top 40. This was more than 5 times (an 18.42% increase) the amount from the previous year. It was the most top 40 debut entries that the Hot 100 Singles had ever seen. Some of these high debuts sputtered out fast, while others made quite an impact on the Hot 100 chart. 11 songs debuted in the top 10 with 4 singles entering in at the # 1 position. Just fours ago, top 40 Hot Shot Debuts only happened a few times a year.

Record labels played a big part with the unusual chart debuts. The record companies found a new blueprint for success. Basically, it was “Hey, let’s wait 6-8 weeks, when airplay is at its absolute peak to build demand, then ship out 1,000,000 + copies and then wham an easy #1.” The record labels figured that the singles would sell out in a month. This would indeed create a nice peak for the single and most importantly it would not eat into album sales. Nobody expected a # 1 debut, but it happened this year. It was fascinating to see such big changes and new records set.

  • # 1 Hits
  • 16 Weeks at Number 1
  • 1995
  • Billboard 100 Singles
  • Billboard charts
  • Boys II Men
  • Mariah Carey
  • Michael Jackson
  • Soundscan
1995 A Year of Record Breakers (2024)


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