Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, & Justin Bieber’s “Despacito” Becomes First Spanish-Language #1 Single Since “Macarena”
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” featuring Justin Bieber, crowns the Billboard Hot 100 chart (dated 5/27), rising 3-1. Among highlights for the new leader, it’s the first mostly Spanish-language Hot 100 #1 in more than 20 years, and it makes Bieber the first artist ever to notch new #1s in consecutive weeks. A week ago (on the 5/20 chart), Bieber bowed at #1 as featured (with three other acts) on DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” (which this week dips to #3).
Fonsi and Daddy Yankee each earn their first Hot 100 #1, and Bieber banks his fifth with “Despacito” (released on Universal Music Latino / Raymond Braun / SchoolBoy / Def Jam / UMLE / Republic Records).
Let’s take the many notable achievements for “Despacito” at #1 on the Hot 100 one-by-one.
Latin leader: Translating to “slowly” in English, “Despacito” (the 1,065th total #1 in the history of the Hot 100, which began on 8/4/1958) is the first Hot 100 #1 sung mostly in Spanish since Los Del Rio’s “Macarena,” which, fueled by its Bayside Boys mix, dominated for 14 weeks in 1996. It also went on to become the biggest song of all of 1996 on that year’s year-end Hot 100. (The first 40 seconds of the Bieber mix of “Despacito” finds him singing in English, along with a quick snippet by Fonsi in English later in the song.)
“‘Macarena’ Reaches Numero Uno’,” Fred Bronson beamed in the 8/3/1996 Billboard Chart Beat column, the week that “Macarena” hit the Hot 100’s summit. The song became the first leader sung primarily in Spanish since 1987, when Los Lobos’ remake of Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” became the first, and only, all-Spanish-language #1 (for three weeks beginning 8/29/1987).
A key similarity between the last two mostly Spanish-language Hot 100 #1s (and unlike “La Bamba”): Both “Macarena” and “Despacito” surged to new heights following the arrival of more mainstream remixes that added lyrics sung in English. The Bayside Boys mix transformed “Macarena” into a more pop-friendly dance song, after it had first hit #45 in fall 1995 in its original form. (The Bayside Boys’ makeover was actually released in August 1995 but didn’t fully catch on until dance/pop radio station WKTU New York added it in May 1996, jumpstarting its explosion.) Meanwhile, “Despacito” had reached an almost identical #44 before the release of the Bieber-assisted version.
Hot Latin Songs leader: “Despacito” tops the Hot Latin Songs chart for a 15th week. While it’s Bieber’s first #1 on the genre chart, it’s Fonsi’s seventh and Daddy Yankee’s fifth. And, with 15 weeks on top, the track is tied for the 10th-longest #1 run in the chart’s 30-year history.
As for Bieber on the Hot 100…
Bieber’s historic back-to-back #1s: Bieber becomes the first artist ever to tally new #1s on the Hot 100 in back-to-back weeks: “I’m the One” debuted at #1 on the 5/20-dated chart (a week ago) and now “Despacito” dethrones it on the 5/27 survey. The previous fastest accumulation of new #1s? Oh, only by the Beatles: On 3/21/1964, amid the frenzy of early Beatlemania, “She Loves You” hit #1; two weeks later, on the 4/4-dated chart, “Can’t Buy Me Love” supplanted it. So, by adding new #1s in back-to-back weeks, Bieber bests the Beatles by a week for the quickest collection of new Hot 100 leaders.
Bieber was already among the mere 12 acts that have replaced themselves at #1 on the Hot 100, as his “Love Yourself” directly succeeded “Sorry” on 2/13/2016. Now, he’s one of only three acts to earn two sets of consecutive leaders. His mentor Usher replaced himself at #1 twice in 2004, when “Burn” took over for “Yeah!” (featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris) and then when (after a #1 by Fantasia, “I Believe,” interrupted the reign of “Burn”) “Confessions Part II” replaced “Burn.”
The other act to have replaced itself with more than one pair of Hot 100 #1s: The Beatles again, who remain the only act to ring up three #1s in a row at the expense of all competition: Their debut U.S. smash “I Want To Hold Your Hand” led directly before “She Loves You” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
Eight straight: “Despacito” marks the eighth consecutive Hot 100 #1 exclusively by male artists. That’s the longest streak in 29 years, since male artists linked 13 in a row in 1988. The all-time record? 17 in a row in 1961.
The most turnover at the top in 27 years: “Despacito” topping the 5/27-dated Hot 100 also marks the fourth new #1 in as many weeks, following the coronations of Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.” (5/6), Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like” (5/13) and Khaled’s “I’m the One” (5/20). Incredibly, that’s the quickest turn-around of new #1s on the chart since late 1990 (notably, before electronically-measured Nielsen Music data began fueling the chart in November 1991, making for generally longer #1 reigns than before, when the chart had been fed by ranked reports from radio stations and retailers).
The current streak is the longest since seven Hot 100 #1s stepped up to the top in successive weeks nearly 27 years ago: “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection,” Nelson (9/29/1990); “Close To You,” Maxi Priest (10/6); “Praying For Time,” George Michael (10/13); “I Don’t Have The Heart,” James Ingram (10/20); “Black Cat,” Janet Jackson (10/27); “Ice Ice Baby,” Vanilla Ice (11/3); and “Love Takes Time,” Mariah Carey (11/10, to begin a three-week reign).
Oddly enough, the current run of four new #1s follows 11 straight weeks atop the Hot 100 for Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” (which led for 12 total weeks).
A version of this article originally appeared at Billboard.