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Top Hits And Artists

Everyone who listens to my television and radio shows knows that my source - the only source - of chart data is Billboard. As the trade paper of the record industry, it's been publishing charts of every size, shape, and significance for more than 40 years, reflecting the popularity of the music and performers that have become part of our lives.
- Casey Kasem

Don Imus once said, "It ain't number one 'til it's number one in Billboard. Top hits and artists all came from Billboard. In January of 1955, Billboard published three pop singles charts: Best Sellers In Stores, Most Played By Jockeys and Most Played In Juke Boxes. These charts appeared weekly in the magazine and each focused on specific areas of the music trade.

In November of 1955, Billboard introduced its first 100-position pop chart, The Top 100. On August 4, 1958, Billboard introduced the Hot 100, its first chart to fully integrate the hottest-selling and most-played pop singles. The Hot 100 has since hosted every type of music that falls under the wide umbrella of the popular song, from reggae to rock to doo-wop to country to rap to novelty and more.

Although Billboard began publishing in 1894, it wasn't until 1940 that it published its first weekly national pop chart. This first chart was a top 10 listing and the chart fluctuated in size from 10 to 30 positions until 1955, when Billboard introduced its first Top 100 chart. The Hot 100 chart, which has become recognized as America's definitive record singles chart, was first published on August 4, 1958.

From 1955 to 1958, before the introduction of the Hot 100, there were a number of charts published by Billboard, which were consulted by various members of the music trade. It wasn't until the Hot 100 chart was published in 1958 that the music industry settled down to consulting simply one chart as the definitive source for popular record chart data.

Radio airplay and record sales have always been the two combined factors of a song's ranking on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. To better reflect the hottest songs of the ever-changing radio and record industry, Billboard has continually revised its compilation method over the years. From 1958-91, Billboard compiled the Hot 100 from playlists reported by radio stations and surveys of retail sales outlets.

The data used to compile each week's Hot 100 chart is also used to compile the weekly Hot 100 Singles Sales and Hot 100 Airplay charts. The early Sales chart was compiled from the best-selling records based on reports from record stores, and the early Airplay chart was compiled from the most-played songs based on radio station playlists.

Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry. It maintains several internationally recognized music charts that track the most popular songs or albums in various categories on a weekly basis. Its most famous chart, the "Hot 100" survey, ranks the top 100 songs regardless of genre and is frequently used as the standard measure for ranking songs in the United States. The "Billboard 200" survey is the corresponding chart for album sales.

Billboard magazine was originally concerned with carnival entertainment, but music coverage grew to the point that its earlier subjects were spun off into a separate journal in the 1950s. On January 4, 1936 Billboard magazine published its first music hit parade and on July 20, 1940 the first Music Popularity Chart was calculated. Since 1958 the Hot 100 has been published, combining single sales and radio airplay. Billboard has many, many different charts with the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 just being the most famous. Billboard also has charts for the following music styles: country, bluegrass, jazz, classical, R and B, rap, electronic, latin, and christian music. The size of these charts varies from 10 positions up to 75.

Music snobs may get their knickers in a twist when they check out the first title on Billboard's All-Time Top 100 Songs, compiled in celebration of the Hot 100 chart's 55th anniversary. The No. 1 tune is Chubby Checker's The Twist. It also led a similar Billboard list assembled in 2008. "I think someday it will be dislodged" from the top spot, says Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard's director of charts. "What keeps it going now is its two-time run at No. 1 in two different years. No one else has gone back to No. 1."

The top 10, which places Los Del Rio's Macarena and Olivia Newton John's Physical ahead of The Beatles' Hey Jude, is sure to rankle highbrows. "We're not passing judgment," Pietroluongo says, noting that the list is based on popularity, not quality. "There's no accounting for taste in popular music." The order was based on points assigned to rankings on the Hot 100, adjusted for different eras. Before SoundScan data began tabulating sales in 1991, less reliable retail and radio reports fed into calculations. The first Hot 100 chart, which blended sales and airplay data, made its debut in August 1958.

LeAnn Rimes' How Do I Live, No. 4, is the only entry in the top 10 that never reached the summit of the Hot 100. So why the lofty position? "That song spent 69 weeks on the chart, which was a record up until a few years ago," Pietroluongo says. "Jason Mraz broke it with I'm Yours (with 76 weeks). How Do I Live still holds the record for most weeks in the top 10, with 32. Party Rock Anthem is third with 29 weeks in the top 10 and 68 weeks on the chart. That got pretty close to LeAnn."

Dance hits dominate the upper regions of Billboard's All-Time Top 100 Songs. "They're the ones that end up being the most enduring," Pietroluongo says. "They're feel-good records, the ones you hear in social settings. Love it or hate it, I defy you to find anyone who hasn't heard I Gotta Feeling or Party Rock Anthem."

"Hey Jude" by The Beatles reached its Hot 100 Peak in 1968. It was the first single released on the Beatles' own Apple label, and the longest-running No. 1 (nine weeks) for the group on the Hot 100. It is also the longest No. 1 in terms of running time, at seven minutes and 11 seconds.

"You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone was No. 1 for 10 weeks in 1977. Years after it was a hit, Boone told Billboard: "Because the lyrics really lent themselves to how I felt about my relationship with the Lord, that's the way I chose to sing it. I never thought anyone would know."

"Physical" by Olivia Newton-John reached its Hot 100 Peak in 1981. Tame by today's standards, in 1981 "Physical" was considered too risqué for airplay by some radio programmers. One music director told Billboard, "Once the words sank in, it caused an uncomfortableness among listeners."

"Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" by Los Del Rio was No. 1 for 14 weeks in 1996. The original version was recorded in 1993, entirely in Spanish. Miami's Power 96 only played songs in English and asked Carlos De Yarza and Mike Triay, the Bayside Boys, to do a remix. Singer Patricia Alfaro recorded their new English lyrics and the song became a national phenomenon.

"I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas reached its Hot 100 Peak in 2009. The Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" was No. 1 for 12 weeks and was immediately succeeded by "I Gotta Feeling," which ruled for 14 weeks. The combined 26-week reign is the longest for any artist in Hot 100 history.

"Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO, Lauren Bennett & GoonRock was No. 1 for six weeks in 2011. The song recorded by Motown founder Berry Gordy's son (Redfoo, a.k.a. Stefan Kendal Gordy) and grandson (SkyBlu, a.k.a. Skyler Husten Gordy) became a bigger hit than any single released by Motown. ("Party" was released on Interscope.) Born in Kent, England, Bennett is the highest-ranking British artist on the all-time Hot 100.

"How Do I Live" by LeAnn Rimes reached its Hot 100 Peak in 1997. Diane Warren wrote the song for Rimes to sing in the film "Con Air," but the producers preferred Trisha Yearwood for the soundtrack. Both versions were released as singles and both charted. Rimes' single remained on the Hot 100 for 69 weeks, a record at the time.

"Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin was No. 1 for nine weeks in 1959. Inspired by Louis Armstrong's version of the song from "The Threepenny Opera," Darin recorded "Mack the Knife" for his album "That's All," but didn't want it released as a single. Atco issued it anyway and it became his biggest hit and signature song.

"Smooth" by Santana and Rob Thomas reached its Hot 100 Peak in 1999. "Smooth" went to No. 1 30 years to the week after Santana's debut on the Hot 100 with "Jingo." It was the longest wait in history from chart debut to first No. 1.

The Twist by Chubby Checker was No. 1 for three weeks in 1960 and 1962. The only single to be No. 1 twice on the Hot 100, in two different chart runs. After topping the chart in 1960, the dance caught on with the older generation. Checker was invited to perform "The Twist" on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on Oct. 22, 1961, prompting a re-release of the single and a full-page ad in Billboard that proclaimed, "‘The Twist' dance rage explodes into the adult world!" The grown-ups bought enough copies to send the song back to No. 1 in early 1962.

Timothy P. Maga. To the "New Frontier". "All the Way with LBJ". The 1960s (Eyewitness History Series) Facts on File. 2003.


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