It's hard to argue with success, so the next time someone gives Paul McCartney guff for collaborating with Kanye West and Rihanna on their recent "FourFiveSeconds" single, he can just point to the pop chart.

ABC News Radio reports that the trio has leaped to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "FourFiveSeconds" this week, in the process delivering the former Beatle his first Top 5 single in 31 years. That sets a new record for longest gap between Top 5 hits; the previous record holder, Carlos Santana, went nearly 29 years between 1971's "Black Magic Woman" and his 1999 collaboration with Rob Thomas, "Smooth."

Some might quibble that since this isn't a solo McCartney single, it doesn't count — but McCartney's last Top 5 hit, "Say Say Say," was a duet with Michael Jackson, as was the one before it, "The Girl Is Mine." The one before that, "Ebony and Ivory," found McCartney singing with Stevie Wonder; to get to his last truly solo single to reach that high, you have to go all the way back to "Coming Up," which topped the U.S. charts in the summer of 1980.

The moral of the story, as fans of his work with John Lennon have known all along, is that collaborating agrees with McCartney — and perhaps more importantly, that taking unexpected creative chances can pay off in big ways. Here's hoping Sir Paul keeps surprising us for many years to come.

You Think You Know the Beatles?

See the Yearbook Photos of Paul McCartney and Other Rock Stars

More From Ultimate Classic Rock