This week on the Billboard Hot 100, Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” bumps up from two to one, marking the singer’s ninth number one. Perry has been no stranger to the summit of the music charts; eight of her last 11 singles have gone on to become number ones. Her string of five consecutive number ones, all from 2010’s Teenage Dream, tied Michael Jackson’s Bad album for the most number ones from a single album.
What makes “Dark Horse” exceptional is the fact that it was never intended to have been a single–just yet, according to this Billboard article. After the release of “Roar,” Capitol Records released “Unconditionally” as the official second single from Perry’s latest album Prism. The song had all of the record label’s promotional efforts behind it and Perry performed it (with a wee bit of controversy) at the American Music Awards in December.
After becoming a fan-voted “preview track” during the MTV VMAs, “Dark Horse” cracked the top 10 digital songs chart for a brief period and faded. But, it didn’t go away. While “Unconditionally,” was pushed on top 40 radio stations, fans were still calling in and requesting “Dark Horse.”
Brooke Taylor from WJFX Fort Wayne, Ind. told Billboard, “While we understand that it’s not the label priority, the fans of our brand are the ones we have to take into consideration when it comes to our title selection.”
It seems the dark and urban side of Katy Perry was winning fans over just as much as her cotton candy-wrapped pop. “Dark Horse” continued to slowly trot all over “Unconditionally” on the radio waves and you could almost feel the pressure weighing on Capitol.
Lo and behold, on Dec. 18, the label officially released “Dark Horse” as the third single from Prism. The trappy track topped the digital charts shortly after and has held the spot for three weeks–and is still going. The song also had a boost from her Medieval-witchy performance at last weekend’s Grammy Awards.
With just one more chart topper, this Cali girl will find herself tied at sixth place on the most number-one singles of all-time list with Janet Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Mariah Carey currently holds 18, the most for a female artist, while The Beatles are one spot above her with 20.
My prediction: I still stand firm on the fact that “Birthday” will be released sometime in May and be Perry’s tenth number one. It’s going to be the summer jam. But between then and now? I think it may be tough. Prism was not made to be the hit factory that Teenage Dream was, but I think “Walking on Air,” “This Is How We Do,” and to a lesser extent, “Legendary Lovers,” are the only singles I could maybe see climbing to number one. If that’s the case, roll “Walking On Air” out in March, “Birthday” in May, “This Is How We Do” in August and “Legendary Lovers” in October.