Sir Paul McCartney is no stranger to making history, and this week he does it again on the Billboard Hot 100. His collaboration with Kanye West and Rihanna, “FourFiveSeconds,” jumps from No. 15 to No. 6, giving the former Beatle his first solo Top 10 hit since before Rihanna was born.
McCartney last appeared in the upper reaches of the chart in America with “Spies Like Us” in 1986. That 29-year gap is the longest in chart history, edging out the 28 years Santana went between “Black Magic Woman” and “Smooth.” There is a technicality, though – McCartney did hit the Top 10 in 1995 as a member of the Beatles, but since that wasn't a solo hit, Billboard isn't counting it.
“FourFiveSeconds” was one of the highlights of Sunday night's Grammy Awards, as the trio performed a mostly acoustic rendition of the song. The track was part of Kanye's collaboration with Sir Paul, though it is now expected to appear on Rihanna's next album.
The song is No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, giving Sir Paul his first major hit in that format. In his career, McCartney has now charted on a dizzying number of Billboard charts for various genres, including Pop, Mainstream Rock, Dance, Smooth Jazz, Adult Contemporary, and R&B/Hip-Hop.
McCartney has scored 23 Top 10 hits in the U.S. as a solo act, starting with 1971's “Another Day.” He has reached No. 1 nine times with tracks like “Band on the Run,” “Silly Love Songs,” “Listen to What the Man Said,” “Ebony and Ivory” with Stevie Wonder, and “Say Say Say” with Michael Jackson.
Could “FourFiveSeconds” hit No. 1? It is a definite possibility as airplay catches up with online video streams and digital sales. The current No. 1 song, Mark Ronson's “Uptown Funk,” is experiencing declines in all three categories, so the field will be wide open for a new song to take over the chart. “FourFiveSeconds” is already No. 1 in McCartney's native U.K.
Yesterday, Kanye talked to Ryan Seacrest about working with Sir Paul. He told the host, “You know, we just went in a vibed out. As you can see, I might be a little bit more angst than Paul. And remember the last time when Paul had somebody really angst working with them, the type of music they made?... I’m not comparing myself to John Lennon, I’m just saying I’m angst a bit like John Lennon. And tension creates a new magic.”