Britney Spears Still Queen of Pop

By | October 15, 2008 at 6:06 PM

Britney Spears' new single "Womanizer" made a record-breaking leap to top spot on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart on Wednesday, underscoring her musical comeback after making headlines with her personal woes.

Billboard said the song, the first from a new Spears album due for release in December, jumped from No.96 to No.1 in the past week and returned Spears to the top of the list for the first time since her 1999 debut single "Baby One More Time."

"Womanizer" is also No. 1 on iTunes charts in Canada, France, Spain and Sweden, Spears' record company Jive said.

Billboard said the unprecedented leap of "Womanizer" was spurred by first-week download sales of 286,000, the biggest opening week tally by a female artist since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking digital downloads in 2003.

The charts were released as expectations rose that Spears would start a tour in early 2009 — her first since 2004 — to support the new album "Circus" to be released on December 2.

Spears, 26, looking recently more like her old pop princess self, told a New York radio station last month that she planned to tour around the world next year but gave no details.

Jive declined to comment on a Billboard story about a tour next spring.

Last year, Spears performed a handful of club shows in southern California but did not go on the road to promote her last album "Blackout," which had a good chart debut in November 2007 but faded quickly.

Spears has been on the mend this year after making headlines for shaving her head, attacking paparazzi with an umbrella, losing custody of her two sons and two admissions to psychiatric hospital units.

Her father took control of her business affairs in February and, in September, Spears won three awards for her 2007 song "Piece of Me" at the MTV video music awards.

She plans to set the record straight about her highly public meltdown in a 90-minute documentary to be aired on MTV on November 30.

Before her life spiraled out of control, Spears was one of the best-selling international artists of the last decade with sales of more than 62 million albums.

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