Chart Rewind: In 1999, Cher Made a Record Return to No. 1 With ‘Believe’

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“Did She or Didn’t She? Cher She Did!”

Underneath that headline, Fred Bronson wrote in the Chart Beat column in the March 13, 1999, Billboard, “The big question this issue is whether you looked here first or at the Billboard Hot 100 to discover if Cher went to No. 1 with ‘Believe.’ I won’t keep you in suspense: Cher rewrites the record books in many ways, as her international hit seizes the summit in her own country.”

That week, “Believe,” with its trademark AutoTune-enhanced vocals, rose to No. 1 on the Hot 100 “just 10 days shy of a quarter-century since Cher was last on top,” Bronson noted. “‘Dark Lady’ spent a frame at No. 1 for the week ending March 23, 1974. That means Cher has the longest gap between No. 1 hits” in the chart’s history.

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To date, Cher maintains the mark for the longest break between Hot 100 No. 1s excluding holiday fare. Overall, only Brenda Lee has waited more patiently between time on top: 63 years, one month and two weeks between the reigns of “I Want to Be Wanted” in 1960 and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” this past December.

With “Believe,” Cher also claimed the record for the longest span of Hot 100 No. 1s: 28 years, four months and one week, dating to her first leader, “Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves,” in 1971. Similarly, she continues to boast the lengthiest span of No. 1s outside of holiday hits; Lee leads with a span of 63 years, five months, three weeks of ruling the chart.

(If including Sonny & Cher’s 1965 No. 1 classic “I Got You Babe,” Cher’s span atop the Hot 100 would stretch 33 years, seven months and three weeks.)

Meanwhile, Cher was 52 when “Believe” crowned the Hot 100. “As William Simpson of Los Angeles points out,” Bronson wrote, citing Cher’s impressive longevity, “that’s even more dramatic when one notes the ages of the three most recent artists to reach No. 1: Monica (18), Britney Spears (17) and Brandy (19 when she was No. 1).”

“It’s not that amazing, OK?,” Cher, now 77, laughed on NBC’s Today in November regarding the 25th anniversary of “Believe” leading the Hot 100. “I’d give anything to be 70 again …”

Cher is currently working on a memoir. “It’s very difficult because I’ve lived too long, and I’ve done too many things,” she said on Today. “It would have to be, like, an encyclopedia.”

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