This Week in Music History: August 17-23

We’re excited to be kicking off a new series: This Week in Music History! Every Monday, we’ll be sharing a few fun facts that took place that week in music history.

For our very first look back, we’ll be diving into a virtual band, a runaway bride, and a star on the rise.

August 18, 2001: “Clint Eastwood” Broke Into the Top 40

This week in 2001, a different kind of musical group made its Top 40 debut. The brainchild of Blur lead vocalist Damon Albarn, the Gorillaz were a new type of band, one made up entirely of… cartoons! The virtual group, composed of four animated characters, first broke into the mainstream when their hit “Clint Eastwood” (named because it had a The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly feel to the melodic line) climbed the charts. After experiencing a decade’s worth of success, the Gorillaz have been on hiatus since 2012—or at least they were. Earlier this summer, Albarn told an Australian news outlet while on tour with Blur that he’s planning to return to the studio in September to begin a new Gorillaz record. What crazy sounds will the cartoon quartet bring us this time around? Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long to find out!

August 20, 2005: Mariah Carey Tops the Charts

Four years after “Clint Eastwood,” Mariah Carey was on her tenth—that’s right, TENTH—studio album, and at the height of her fame. Yes, exactly one decade ago, the Top 40 chart had some powerful women competing for the top slot, but Ms. Carey was beating them all. She took the summer by storm with one of her biggest hits to date, “We Belong Together.” The song’s music video featured the artist running away from a fake wedding, leaving actor Eric Roberts at the altar, all while wearing the Vera Wang gown from her (real) marriage to music executive Tommy Mottola. The track ended up topping the Urban, Urban AC, and Rhythmic charts in addition to pop radio stations across the country.

August 20, 2005: Rihanna Gets Her First Taste of Success

But little did Mariah Carey—or anyone, really—know, in 2005, a new star, sitting quietly at No. 5, was making the first of many appearances to come on the Top 40. It’s hard to imagine today, but back in 2005, the artist we now know fondly as RiRi was still relatively unknown, getting her first taste of chart success with the single “Pon De Replay.” Rihanna of course went on to have many more top hits; in fact, a total of 13 of the Barbadian artist’s singles have made it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, tying for third most No. 1 hit’s on the chart with Michael Jackson. A lot has changed in ten years!​​​​