Chart Rewind: In 1999, Britney Spears Hit Number ‘One’ for the First ‘Time’

“A talent to watch.”

In the Jan. 30, 1999, issue, Billboard reviewed Britney Spears’ debut album, …Baby One More Time, released on Jive Records. “The teenage heartthrob who cut through the fourth-quarter clutter with the pop/R&B single ‘…Baby One More Time’ delivers her debut album – a top 40-ready workout filled with hook-laden songs from the same bag as the title cut,” Billboard praised, noting that Spears “already tasted the limelight in a two-year run on Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club.”

“Blessed with a sweet voice and a wholesome, girl-next-door image,” the review continued, “Spears has hit a nerve among a teen fan base primed by the likes of Hanson, ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys.”

The same week, the album and its title cut concurrently hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Billboard Hot 100 charts, respectively.

The coronations sparked Spears’ robust chart-topping history. To date, she boasts six No. 1s on the Billboard 200: …Baby One More Time, Oops!…I Did It Again (2000), Britney (2001), In the Zone (2003), Circus (2008) and Femme Fatale (2011). She banked her 10th and most recent top 10 with Glory (No. 3) in 2016.

Spears has scored five No. 1s on the Hot 100: “…Baby One More Time,” “Womanizer” (2008), “3” (2009) and two in 2011, “Hold It Against Me” and as featured on Rihanna’s “S&M.” Spears added her 14th and latest top 10 with “Hold Me Closer,” with Elton John, in September 2022.

Spears’ initial Hot 100 No. 1 likewise marked the first as both a writer and producer for Max Martin. With the chart-topping launch of Ariana Grande’s “Yes, And?” on the Jan. 27, 2024, survey, Martin passed George Martin for the most leaders among producers in the Hot 100’s history.

Spears’ memoir The Woman in Me arrived in October 2023. The book recaps Spears’ rise to fame, her relationship with Justin Timberlake and her life under a 13-year conservancy. According to the Associated Press, it sold 1.1 million copies in the U.S. in its first week.

“I’ve been involved with a lot of different projects over the years, and with Britney, we’ve got a real special artist here,” mused Jack Satter, then-Jive senior VP of pop promotion, in the Oct. 24, 1998, Billboard, issue. “I really feel that she’s like a young Madonna. Our goal is to make her into a huge pop-rhythm crossover artist. I think she’s got longevity.”


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