The single life looks good on Mariah Carey.
This week, Carey scored her 16th number one single on Billboard’s Hot 100 with “We Belong Together”–putting her in rarefied company.
Only the Beatles, with 20, and Elvis Presley, with 18, have had more Billboard number ones.
Carey, who has surpassed the likes of Michael Jackson (13 number ones) and the Supremes (12), as well as rival pop divas Whitney Houston and Madonna (11 apiece), is “the most successful female artist of all time,” her label, Island Def Jam, touted in a press release Thursday.
Island Def Jam has reason to crow–the label has effectively resurrected the career of Carey, who fell on hard times after signing what the New York Daily News called “the biggest recording contract of all time” with Virgin in 2001 and then sustaining an “emotional and physical breakdown” as her Glitter movie and album tanked.
After the relatively lackluster sales of 2002’s Charmbracelet, Carey, 35, has bounced back with The Emancipation of Mimi. The album debuted at number one in April, bouncing long-running chart champ 50 Cent. It has already been certified double platinum and spawned two hit singles, the lead track, “It’s Like That,” and the current hit, “We Belong Together.”
“It is with a combination of pride and awe that I congratulate Mariah on accomplishing what no other female in modern pop history has been able to do–no one is more deserving than Mariah Carey of sharing the pantheon with the greatest of the greats,” gushed Island Def Jam boss Antonio “L.A.” Reid.
The singer played the modesty card upon learning the news. “I didn’t know what to expect when I put this record out except I knew that it was a good record and I was happy with it,” she told the Associated Press.
Carey is next scheduled to perform at the MTV Movie Awards June 4 in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be taped for broadcast June 9.