Zayn’s first solo single “Pillowtalk” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week — higher than any One Direction song has ever charted. The closest 1D has come to that top spot was with “Best Song Ever,” which debuted at No. 2 back in 2013 but couldn’t quite topple “Blurred Lines.” More recently, the Zayn-less single “Drag Me Down” made it up to No. 3 in August of last year.
Not only is Zayn the only current or former member of One Direction to dominate the charts, he’s also the very first artist whose first name starts with Z to make it up to No. 1. He’s set a few more records while he’s at it, too — like becoming the first UK artist to enter the charts at No. 1 with a debut single.
The last time a solo artist rocketed to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 after making it to No. 2 with a group was in 1987, when Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” led the chart. She’d previously reached No. 2 as the lead singer of the Go-Gos, whose single “We Got the Beat” climbed to the runner-up slot in 1982.
If “Pillowtalk” is any indication, going solo was actually the best career move Zayn ever made. His debut album Mind of Mine is currently due to drop in March.