Breaking records and setting a monumental event in music history, The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” reaches 88 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100 charts, a record that was previously held by the Imagine Dragons with their hit song “Radioactive,” which charted for 87 weeks.
A year before “Blinding Lights” officially set the record of the most weeks charting at the Hot 100, the song also reached another monumental milestone as it spent its 19th week at number one on the Radio Songs tally, which is another prestigious Billboard chart. The previous record was held by the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris,” which lasted 18 weeks. The song held on to that record for 22 long years until The Weeknd came and snatched the title.
Time and time again, The Weeknd has proven himself to be a multi-format genius. Prior to his record-breaking success with “Blinding Lights,” his previous projects have also garnered international acclaim. However, the radio success of “Blinding Lights,” which topped out at 26 weeks at number one on Radio Songs, was an unprecedented milestone.
The song manages to transcend multiple generations across different multimedia formats. “Blinding Lights” is more than just a radio song. It is a song with endless mass appeal and a special melody that is timeless yet also contemporary in its own right.
The song’s retro feel is a particularly genius stylistic choice as the single was released at the tail end of the relatively downtempo period of top 40 songs headlined by Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy,” Halsey’s “Without Me” and Khalid’s “Talk” which were among the biggest songs of 2019.
“Blinding Lights” came at a perfect time as it helped kick off a trend of uptempo, retro pop hits such as Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now,” Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain on Me,“ Doja Cat’s “Say So” and BTS’s “Dynamite.” The bright, synth-heavy arrangement of “Blinding Lights” worked alongside the songs concurrently succeeding when it settled in for its Radio Songs run in 2020.
The timing was perfect, and the song even more so. The Weeknd truly struck gold with his hit single, and the entire album itself is an absolute delight. Without a doubt, After Hours is The Weeknd’s biggest commercial success yet. It might be true that he had multiple number one singles prior to his latest album, but his current run has trumped the previous success of any of his preceding projects. His fourth full-length album, After Hours, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 Chart in April 2020 with 444,000 equivalent album units, according to MRC Data.
“Blinding Lights,” released on XO/Republic Records, debuted at number 11 on the Hot 100 dated December 14, 2019. The song, which ranks at number 18 in its 88th week, hit number 1 for its first of four weeks on top of the chart back on April 4, 2020.
Over the course of its historic run, “Blinding Lights” has rewritten the records for the most time spent in the Hot 100’s top 5, which was 43 weeks, top 10, which was 57 weeks, top 20, which was 79 weeks and top 40 which was 84 weeks. It is truly the Weeknd’s era, and we’re all just living in it.