After the release of their respective seventh albums, who had more number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna or Madonna? The answer may surprise you, it’s Rihanna. You get the same answer if you include Madonna’s first dozen albums. Rihanna compiled 13 number one singles in the first seven years of her recording career (2006 to 2013). Madonna racked up a dozen from 1982 to 2014. Rihanna also has more number one hits than The Supremes, Whitney Houston, and Janet Jackson.
Rihanna has been able to achieve the baker’s dozen thanks to several collaborations. Of her 13 chart-toppers, seven have been with another artist. Those artists are Jay-Z, Eminem (twice), Drake, Britney Spears, T.I., and Calvin Harris.
Rihanna is the stage name of Robyn Rihanna Fenty. She was born in Saint Michael, Barbados on Feb. 20, 1988. She was discovered by record producer Evan Rogers and then she successfully auditioned for Jay-Z, who was then president of Def Jam Records.
Rihanna’s first album was Music of the Sun released in 2005. She followed that up with A Girl Like Me (2006) and Good Girl Gone Bad (2007). All three albums peaked inside the top ten and all were certified Gold or Platinum.
It took four more albums for Rihanna to reach the top of the main albums chart. That fourth album was Unapologetic. It dropped on Nov. 19, 2012 and went straight to number one. The opus contains the hit singles “Diamonds,” “Stay,” and “Pour It Up.”
In February of 2009, Rihanna was assaulted by her boyfriend at the time, singer Chris Brown. Brown was subsequently arrested and pleaded guilty to felony assault. He received five years probation and ordered to stay at least 50 yards away from Rihanna except at award shows. The assault forced Rihanna to cancel her performance at the 51st Grammy Awards.