Beatles: How Rihanna Broke a Record They Held for Decades

Rihanna is one of the most popular R&B/pop singers ever. The Beatles are perhaps the most popular rock ‘n’ roll bands ever. Despite this, the two artists are very rarely compared to each other. Until now.

Many classic rock fans are under the impression no other artist could possibly match the Beatles’ commercial appeal. It doesn’t appear the numbers back up this feeling. Here’s how Rihanna recently broke one of the Fab Four’s records.

Rihanna, Paul McCartney, and Kanye West | Mark Davis

Rihanna one-upped the Beatles

Rihanna recently released the song “Believe It.” It’s far from the most popular track of Rihanna’s career. So far, it’s only reached the 23rd spot on the Billboard Hot 100. However, this modest chart performance was all it took to surpass a Beatles record.

Both before and after the Beatles broke up, their songs charted on the Billboard Hot 100. Altogether, the band amassed an astounding 50 top 40 hits. This is impressive. However, it’s not as impressive as Rihanna’s 51 top 40 hits. Thanks to “Believe It,” Rihanna reached that milestone.

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On one level, you could argue the Beatles had an easier time reaching that milestone. The Beatles released their first single decades ago, so they’ve had far more time than Rihanna to get 50 of their songs to chart. Thanks to later songs like “Real Love” and “Free as a Bird,” the Fab Four were charting hits even after John Lennon’s untimely death.

On the other hand, you could argue Rihanna had an easier time getting 51 top 40 singles to chart. Her time as an artist has lasted longer than the Beatles’ entire career. Thus, Rihanna has been heavily promoting her work longer than the Beatles were heavily promoting their works.

Could Rihanna break the record for most number-one singles in the U.S.?

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In addition, Chris Molanphy of Salon said this might not be the last time Rihanna breaks a Beatles record. With the release of her 2016 hit “Work,” Rihanna earned her 14th number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100. The Fab Four, meanwhile, have 20 number one hits on the same chart – more than any other artist. If Rihanna has another string of successful singles, she could feasibly break the Beatles’ longstanding record.

However, you might not want to count on that happening. “Work” was a hit in 2016 but Rihanna has not hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the years since. Of course, there’s nothing stopping her from reaching the peak of the chart again. However, it would be a pretty unprecedented feat for Rihanna to have seven number-one singles this late in her career.

Maybe we don’t need to pit the Beatles and Rihanna against each other. Paul McCartney doesn’t seem to have an issue with Rihanna, as he collaborated with her on the hit song “FourFiveSeconds.” Rihanna once called Paul a “legend,” saying she’s a “peasant” compared to him. It looks like there’s some mutual respect between the two of them. Even if Rihanna does break the Fab Four’s record, she won’t change their status as one of the best bands of all time.

Also see: Rihanna Reveals Her Hit ‘S&M’ Reflects Her Relationship With Her Dad