SZA’s ‘SOS’ breaks Aretha Franklin’s 54-year old record

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SZA’s ‘SOS’ breaks Aretha Franklin’s 54-year old record

Two weeks after her single “Kill Bill” broke the record for the longest running No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart by a woman, SZA adds the corresponding record on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums to her rapidly growing list of accolades: Her SOS album becomes the longest reigning No. 1 by a solo woman in the chart’s 58-year history.

SOS logs an 18th week at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart dated May 13, breaking the tie it set last week with Aretha Franklin’s Aretha Now for the most weeks on top for an album by a woman. Franklin’s set, which contains classics such as “Think” and her cover of “I Say a Little Prayer,” ruled for 17 weeks in 1968. Notably, Franklin set the record in question three different times. Her 1967 breakthrough, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, was the first set by a woman to land 14 weeks at No. 1. The next year’s Aretha: Lady Soul took that record and extended it by two weeks, but follow-up Aretha Now did even better, setting the 17-week standard that lasted for 54 years, until the SOS era.

For its record-breaking frame, SOS earned 56,000 equivalent album units in the week ending May 4, according to Luminate, a 5% drop from the prior frame, but still 20,000 units ahead of the week’s closest competitor, Jack Harlow’s Jackman.

With SOS overtaking Aretha Now, here’s a look at the albums by solo women with the most weeks at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums since the list’s launch in January 1965.

Weeks at No. 1, Album Title, Artist, Peak Date
18, SOS, SZA, Dec. 24, 2022

17, Aretha Now, Aretha Franklin, July 27, 1968

16, Aretha: Lady Soul, Aretha Franklin, March 2, 1968

14, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Aretha Franklin, April 29, 1967

10, Beyoncé, Beyoncé, Dec. 28, 2013

10, Lemonade, Beyoncé, May 14, 2016

Notably, three albums also deserve a mention: Diana Ross and The Supremes Greatest Hits by the all-female trio spent 12 weeks at No. 1, beginning on Oct. 14, 1967. Sade, fronted by female lead singer and band namesake Sade Adu, earned 11 weeks at No. 1 with Promise beginning on Feb. 1, 1986, and the all-female-performed soundtrack to the film Waiting to Exhale, featuring tracks sung by Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Brandy and others, claimed 10 weeks at No. 1 starting on Dec. 16, 1995.

On the overall count, SOS’ 18 weeks in charge put it in a tie for ninth place for most weeks at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, matching the 18-week runs of The Temptations’ The Temptations Sing Smokey and Michael Jackson’s Bad. The King of Pop’s Thriller, with 37 weeks, tops the leaderboard.

As mentioned above, the SOS era has paid enormous chart dividends for SZA’s career. The smash hit “Kill Bill” has clocked 19 weeks (and counting) atop Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, the longest for any track by a woman and within one week of tying Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, for the most in the list’s history. And five months into its domination, the juggernaut continues to spin off new hits. Current radio single “Snooze” jumps into the top 10 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, becoming the 10th song from SOS to crack the top 10 barrier.