Women in Music 2016
7 Weird Genre-Crossing Hits From Paul McCartney, Eddie Murphy, Hayley Williams & More
Last week's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart featured a promising hip-hop game newcomer. Unlike most rising rap stars, he's from Britain, he's over 70 and he's named Paul McCartney.
Thanks to Kanye West, the classic rock icon -- who plays organ on "Only One" -- is now on a top 20 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs hit. (It's actually Macca's fourth song on the chart -- he lodged previous entries in the '80s via duets with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.)
McCartney's not the only musician to score a top 20 hit outside of his genre comfort zone. From Eric Clapton hitting the dance club to Kid Rock going adult contemporary, here are 7 weird genre-crossing hits.
McCartney Enters Kanye's Dark Twisted Fantasy
As previously mentioned, the former Beatle plays organ while Kanye sings from his late mother's perspective on the recently released "Only One." Speaking of perspective, "Let It Be" found McCartney singing about his late mother, so he's got some experience with these things. The song debuted at No. 11 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Every 'Picture' Tells a Story
Although his image has softened somewhat in the 21st century, when Kid Rock's countrified duet with Sheryl Crow came out in 2002, the Detroit star was better known for rap-rock than genre (and generation) crossing hits. After a tug of war with his label -- who worried "Picture" would hurt his "American Badass" image -- Kid Rock released "Picture" as a single. It went on to be his biggest Hot 100 hit to date, plus a top 20 hit on the Adult Contemporary chart. Suddenly, Kid Rock was playing in a dentist office near you -- coincidentally, around the same time former hard rock screamer Rod Stewart was dominating the adult contemporary scene with the first entry in his Great American Songbook series.
Putting the 'E' in Eric Clapton
In 1965, Eric Clapton contributed his incendiary blues-rock guitar to the classic album Having a Rave Up With the Yardbirds. Forty-five years later, Clapton was providing the soundtrack for a rave with "(I) Get Lost." Originally written in acoustic form for the 1999 film The Story of Us, the song got a dance reimagining for the comp Clapton Chronicles, which peaked at No. 10 on the Dance Club Songs chart in 2000. Wisely (or sadly?), the guitar legend did not pursue his brief dancefloor flirtation much further.
From 'Raw' to Reggae
In 1993, Snoop Dogg debuted with his controversial gangsta rap album Doggystyle; Not long after, Eddie Murphy starred in Beverly Hills Cop III. Safe to say no one expected that 20 years later, they'd be making earnest reggae music together. 2013's "Red Light" wasn't the comedian's first musical foray -- his 1985 funk collabo with Rick James "Party All the Time" actually peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 -- but it was a completely unexpected move from the former Dr. Doolittle. And this song is serious reggae -- for proof, note Murphy's prominent use of the word "emancipation." With vocals from Snoop Lion, Eddie Murphy's "Red Light" peaked at No. 9 on Reggae Digital Songs in 2013.
'Family Guy' Gets Family-Friendly
Just last month, Seth MacFarlane notched a top 10 Billboard chart hit. That's not too surprising, given his extensive history with music (see Family Guy's various songs and his musical Oscars monologue). What was weird, however, is that the boundary-pushing comedian notched a top 10 on the Adult Contemporary chart. He can thank Sara Bareilles -- who duetted with him on "Baby, It's Cold Outside" for his Christmas album -- for his seasonal hit. For once, the Family Guy guy was actually family-friendly.
EDM Ingests Punk
Let's never forget that less than two years ago, pop-punk frontwoman Hayley Williams went No. 1 on both the Hot Dance Club Songs and Dance/Mix Shop Airplay charts. Taking a brief respite from Paramore, Williams recorded vocals for Zedd's "Stay the Night" and notched a massive dance hit in the process. Warped Tour tears may have flowed at first, but Paramore fans warmed up to the EDM jam before too long.
Lady Gaga Follows in Lady Day's Footsteps
Per Nielsen Music, Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett's Cheek to Cheek has spent 16 of its 17 weeks (as of Jan. 11, 2015) at the No. 1 slot on the Jazz Albums chart (Annie Lennox's Nostalgia bumped it for one week). Unlike some genre-crossing forays, Gaga actually altered her vocals to fit the genre she's dabbling in -- she even scats in the style of early 20th century jazz greats. It's the refreshing career 180 no one saw coming.
Additional reporting from Keith Caulfield and Gary Trust.