20 years ago, three tweens auditioned for the cast of The Mickey Mouse Club and from then on, music history would never be the same. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake rose to the top of the charts in the heat of the late 90’s bubblegum pop explosion with hit albums and singles, eventually branching out into reality television, film and other endeavors. I was 3 in 1993 when the trio first made their mark on the Club; the show was done the next year (though I saw it in repeats) and I’m betting a lot of people didn’t think those performers would do anything substantial. Heck, The Party, the quintet formed from cast members in the early 90’s, had only one top-40 hit and they were done. No big deal there.
Something was different with Aguilera, Spears and Timberlake. The latter two joined groups; one flopped and one flourished. I think you know which one is which. The two ladies then pursued solo careers, all three became superstars, etc. That was then. I’m now 23, and all three of them are top ten on iTunes’ top-selling songs chart, the first time that this has likely ever happened, or at least one of the first. As of the early morning, Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” (featuring Jay-Z) stands at #5, Aguilera’s feature on Pitbull‘s “Feel This Moment” is holding down #8, and “Scream & Shout” by will.i.am and Spears is down to #9.
At CHR radio, “Moment” is the only one to not be within the top ten, but its large gains should put it there soon. (It’s currently #16; “Scream” is #4 and “Suit” is #10.) Since I like to focus on the radio aspect of the industry, I thought it would be interesting to point out the last time that all three singers were simultaneously in the top 40 and in the top 10 together on the format. Trust me, it’s been a while. Each singer has had their shares of ups and downs over the years, but this unification of the three so high on the charts nearly 15 years after each singer debuted at radio is certainly something to be celebrated.
According to the archives of Mediabase 24/7 data, this is the last published chart that all three singers appeared in together:
In this example, Spears was on the decline after peaking at #1 for two weeks in late December and early January. “Dead” was in its second week in the top 40. The collaboration with T.I. would eventually peak at #4 in April. Aguilera’s “Better” quickly peaked at #11 for two non-consecutive weeks in late October and early November before quickly falling, though it spent several weeks in the 30’s (and this last week at #40) thanks to year-end chart airplay. All three would make the top 40 several times between then and their current songs, with Aguilera accumulating the last singles (2), followed by Timberlake (3; all featured appearances) and then Spears with 8. Often times, two of them would be in the top 40 at the same time, but nothing panned out between the three until now.
If you’re looking for the last survey where all three singers appeared as main-credited acts, then we’ll need to travel back even further to 2003:
Radio & Records CHR Chart – November 21, 2003
#11: Britney Spears featuring Madonna – “Me Against The Music”
#15: Christina Aguilera featuring Lil’ Kim – “Can’t Hold Us Down”
#40: Justin Timberlake – “Señorita”
Spears once again comes in highest on this survey with her first single from In The Zone. It was at its peak, though it hit the #10 spot unofficially at midweek. Next release “Toxic” would return her to the top after a four-year absence. Aguilera’s song was trending downward after spending a month at #3 starting in mid-September. It was the fourth single from Stripped, the biggest of which was “Beautiful”, her fourth and last #1 on the CHR chart to date. This was the last week in the top 40 for “Señorita”, probably the least remembered release from Justified. It too was a fourth single, and spent two weeks at #5 in September. I wasn’t really a fan of it back in the day, though I’ve learned to like it over the years. He largely remained absent from the charts until 2006, then Spears had zero charting singles between late 2004 and late 2007, and Aguilera became really hit or miss after the Back To Basics era. In short, things didn’t match up until the beginning of 2009. You see how rarely these things happen.
Now, for the big question. When was the last time these three all appeared in the top ten together? Wait for it…
“You’re kidding me!” Nope, our three Mouseketeers haven’t been in the top ten together on the pop chart since the summer of 2000, nearly thirteen years. I remember it well. Spears was spending her last of three weeks at #1 with “Oops!” before Timberlake and his group would take over the #1 spot for six weeks. Both acts were riding high on albums that sold north of one million copies in their first week, with *NSYNC‘s No Strings Attached pulling in a record 2.4 million copies in sales during its first seven days on shelves. (Let’s not forget that a fourth member of the Club, JC Chasez, was also in the group.) Aguilera didn’t exactly see the same numbers, but her debut album put four singles into the top ten, “Turn” being her third. It peaked at #6 a few weeks earlier.
Do you feel old yet? I do. Those darn chart retrospectives. Hope you’ve enjoyed this look back in time and congratulations to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake for lasting this long on the charts, together for what could be the last time. M-I-C… see you real soon with more chart stories. (Follow me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.)