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Mariah Carey leads on year-end charts
Updated: 2005-12-19 09:50

You do not need to read an analysis of the 2005 charts to know that Mariah Carey made an impressive comeback, but a closer look at Billboard's year-end surveys suggests this may be her most successful year to date.

File photo shows singer Mariah Carey posing during the 2005 Recording Academy Honors at Gotham Hall in New York City December 7, 2005. [Reuters]
The evidence? For the first time in her 16-year career, Carey has the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 Songs recap.

"We Belong Together" sealed up bragging rights by remaining in pole position for 14 weeks, longer than any other 2005 entry. It was the first single to have a 14-week reign in eight years, since Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997"/"Something About the Way You Look Tonight."

"We Belong Together" is Carey's seventh song to appear in a year-end top 10. Her highest ranking on an annual Hot 100 recap until now was the No. 2 spot "One Sweet Day" held in 1996. True, timing was a factor, as that collaboration with Boyz II Men had its impact diluted by overlapping into two different chart years; it would otherwise have been have been the top song of the year.

Carey's current triumph marks the first year-end No. 1 by a female artist in five years, since Faith Hill had the top tune of 2000 with "Breathe." In the ensuing years, the No. 1 year-end Hot 100 songs have been recorded by Lifehouse, Nickelback, 50 Cent and Usher.

Last year, men dominated the year-end recaps. Now the pendulum has swung the other way. The 2004 Hot 100 Songs recap featured male artists on nine out of the top 10 songs; this year that number shrinks to five, including one song where Busta Rhymes is a featured guest.

With Gwen Stefani lodged at No. 2 with "Hollaback Girl," this is the first year that women have sewn up the top two spots since Cher ruled with "Believe" in 1999 and TLC was second with "No Scrubs."

Demonstrating how fortunes can change from year to year, only one artist repeats in 2005 from the 2004 Hot 100 summary. Ciara, who is No. 5 this year with "1, 2 Step," was No. 9 last year with "Goodies."

The majority of artists on the year-end recap of Hot 100 Songs are there for the first time. Aside from Carey and Ciara, only Stefani and 50 Cent have previously registered in the top 10 of a Hot 100 annual recap.

Since "Disco Inferno" placed 11th, 50 Cent just missed having two songs in the top 10. The only artist occupying two slots in the top 10 is Kelly Clarkson, at No. 4 with "Since U Been Gone" and No. 10 with "Behind These Hazel Eyes."

Clarkson is the main, but not only, reason that the "American Idol" franchise has made such a powerful showing on the year-end recaps. Contestants from the TV series are responsible for 17 year-end No. 1s, up from two in 2004 and 2003 and one in 2002.

For the seventh consecutive year, the No. 1 album of the year is by a male artist. "The Massacre" marks the second time that 50 Cent has had the best-selling set on the annual Top Billboard 200 recap. He is the first artist to repeat with the top album of the year since Michael Jackson, who was No. 1 in 1983 and 1984, albeit with the same release, "Thriller."

The last time a female act had the top set was in 1997, when "Spice" by the Spice Girls was the best-selling album. In 1998, the "Titanic" soundtrack outsold all competitors. Between 1999 and 2004, the acts with the No. 1 album of the year were Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, the Beatles, Eminem, 50 Cent and Usher.

2004 was a bad year for soundtracks, and 2005 was not much better. Movie-related CDs ranked in the top 10 in 2002 ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?" was No. 6) and 2003 ("8 Mile" was No. 7), but in 2004 the highest-ranked soundtrack was "Tupac: Resurrection" at No. 57. This year, the best-selling soundtrack is "Ray," at No. 43.

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