For the second straight year, New Kids on the Block won the top honor in Billboard's annual year-end chart roundup. But while the New Kids were top pop artists for combined albums-singles activity, Janet Jackson took eight honors, in the biggest single-artist sweep since 1984, when Lionel Richie won in 10 categories. Jackson was the runner-up for top pop artist, followed by Phil Collins (who took the male pop single and male pop album categories), Paula Abdul (who edged Jackson for top pop female album artist), Michael Bolton and M.C. Hammer.
For those wondering how 1990's best-selling album, Hammer's "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em," ended up only No. 5 in the Billboard recap, it helps to understand the rating system and that the eligibility period is from Nov. 18, 1989 to Nov. 17, 1990: Year-end chart positioning is based on a computerized point system with a complex inverse relation formula that tallies number of weeks on charts with positions attained during the eligibility period. Hammer's record, which sold 7 million copies and was No. 1 for 21 weeks, came out in March, thus missing a third of the eligibility period. As for Vanilla Ice, whose "To the Extreme" debut has been No. 1 for the past seven weeks and may outsell Hammer before the year's end: His album came out in late September, so it doesn't even register this year.
Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814" was rated top album in pop and R&B (dual honors matched only by brother Michael's "Thriller" in 1983 and "Whitney Houston" in 1986). She also matched Michael, Madonna and Gladys Knight in becoming a multiple winner of the top pop singles artist title; took her second top R&B artist title for combined albums-singles activity (the only woman to do this in the past decade); took both the R&B album and R&B singles artist titles; top dance artist; top club play; and top 12-inch sales. Jackson also won those five awards in 1986 with her breakthrough "Control" album.
The top pop single was "Hold On," and the top R&B single was "Hold On," though the songs were not the same. The pop "Hold On" was by the new group Wilson Phillips, while the R&B one was by the new group En Vogue (it showed up at No. 8 on the pop list). Wilson Phillips, named top pop singles artists group, was runner-up to New Edition offshoot Bell Biv Devoe for top new pop artist (BBD, however, was edged by After 7 as top new R&B artist). It was a good year for newcomers in general, with six among the top 25 pop artists (BBD at No. 8, Wilson Phillips at 10, Roxette at 16, Lisa Stansfield at 20, Mariah Carey at 21 and Technotronic at 24).
Washingtonians on the year-end charts:
Johnny Gill's first solo album since joining New Edition propelled him to all sorts of honors: No. 25 pop artist, No. 31 pop album artist, No. 29 pop album; No. 2 R&B singles artist behind Janet Jackson, with four top R&B singles ("My, My, My" at No. 8, "Rub You the Right Way" at 17, "Fairweather Friend" at 57 and "Where Do We Go From Here," his duet with old Washington pal Stacy Lattisaw, at 33). More Gill honors: No. 9 R&B album artist, No. 9 R&B album, No. 4 R&B artist, No. 3 male pop singles artist, No. 11 male pop album artist, No. 19 pop singles artist and No. 23 pop single (for "Rub," which was also the No. 40 dance-sales 12-inch single). Lattisaw made the top R&B album list with "What You Need" at No. 60 and ended up at No. 41 on the top R&B singles artist chart.
No other local artists did quite as well as Gill, but Mary Chapin Carpenter is likely to show up on next year's charts based on momentum that began with a No. 34 position for country artist, No. 36 country album artist, No. 38 country album (for "State of the Heart"), No. 24 country singles artist and No. 70 country single (for "Quittin' Time").
Former WPGC deejay Doug Lazy hit the yearly double as "Let the Rhythm Pump" was the No. 10 dance-club play single and No. 37 dance-sales 12-inch single. The Baltimore-bred, Howard University-trained Harper Brothers were the No. 7 jazz album artists, their "Remembrance" album No. 5 on the jazz chart. On the gospel wrap-up, the Richard Smallwood Singers' "Portrait" was No. 34, the Donal Vails Choraleers' "In Jesus I Have Everything I Need," No. 36. And regionally, Virginia's Bruce Hornsby and the Range provided the No. 15 and 43 album rock tracks with "Across the River" and "A Night on the Town."