Ask Billboard is updated every week. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.
'CALL ME MAYBE' … BY 'PAYPHONE'?
It's amusing to see two perfectly connected songs occupying adjacent positions in the top five of the latest Billboard Hot 100. To what am I referring? "Payphone" by Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa, at No. 3 for the third consecutive week, and "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen, at No. 4, up one from last week.
Perhaps, if they switch positions, meaning, "Call Me Maybe" comes before "Payphone" (which is likely next week, considering the continuous upward movement of "Call"), it'll make more sense, with Jepsen singing "Call Me Maybe" to Maroon 5 and Khalifa, to which the latter would reply with a, "through the 'Payphone' "?
Are there any other instances of the same type of occurrence in past Hot 100s?
Cheers from a diehard Billboard fanatic,
Leo O. Laparan II
Head, Research Section, Editorial Department
Intramuros, Manila, Philippines
Goofy, semi-useless - but fun - chart trivia? You've come to the right place!
With 53 years of the Hot 100-times-a hundred songs a week, that's … well, a lot of chances for some back-to-back lyrical chart quirkiness.
"Call Me Maybe" and "Payphone" are merely the latest such examples. (And, it would almost make you think that Americans are obsessed with their phones or something.)
Let's look back at others.
On the Aug. 4, 2007, Hot 100, T-Pain's " Buy U a Drank" ranked at No. 9. Thankfully, there was a " Bartender" right there at No. 10 (the very same person as the artist placing the order: T-Pain). And, every fancy mixed drink needs an " Umbrella" up above. Right on cue, Rihanna ranked at No. 3 with her seven-week No. 1s smash from that summer.
For four weeks in spring 2000, Destiny's Child sang " Say My Name." Santana responded twice over with " Maria Maria." Uh-oh, wrong answer. No Beyonce, Kelly or Michelle in the latter song. The tracks swapped spots at Nos. 1 and 2 in that span.
In 1999, Lou Bega sang about having "a little bit of Jessica" in his life in " Mambo No. 5." For two weeks that November/December, there she was, ranking right next to him in the Hot 100's top five. Simpson, that is, on "I Wanna Love You Forever." No Monica, Erica, Rita, Tina or Sandra, though, although the also name-checked Mary (J. Blige) ranked in the chart's lower rungs in those frames.
This week in 1996, Coolio took Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans perhaps a bit too literally. As the women sang " Count on Me" (at No. 8), the rapper rapped, " 1, 2, 3, 4" (at No. 7).
On Feb. 20-27, 1993, whimsy won out over the predictable, as " A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)" by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle ranked at No. 2 ahead of a plain old " Ordinary World" by Duran Duran at No. 3.
Two decades before Adele mixed the two in her most recent Hot 100 No. 1, fire and rain fought each other for the chart's top spot. On Dec. 2, 1989, rain put out the fire: Milli Vanilli's " Blame It on the Rain" placed at No. 1, directly ahead of Billy Joel's " We Didn't Start the Fire."
American music was all over the place in early 1983. Literally, as on the Feb. 5, Hot 100 that year, Toto's " Africa" took over at No. 1 from Men at Work's " Down Under."
The top 10 on the March 9, 1974, Hot 100, was a jungle, so Kool & the Gang did the " Jungle Boogie" at No. 4. Creatures of which to beware that week: " Spiders & Snakes," courtesy of Jim Stafford (at No. 7), and a " Mockingbird" (that might or might not sing), thanks to Carly Simon and James Taylor (at No. 8).
On Nov. 19, 1966, Bobby Darin nailed down the No. 9 position with " If I Were a Carpenter." A carpenter's enemy? " Rain on the Roof," which was, unfortunately, at No. 10, thanks to the Lovin' Spoonful.
And, on the Hot 100 dated 50 years ago this week (May 12, 1962), just as the current Hot 100 reflects the country's affinity for phones, back then, music audiences were twisting and shouting. Ernie Maresca's " Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)" roared 16-8; Gary U.S. Bonds' " Twist, Twist Senora" lifted 10-9; and, Joey Dee & the Starliters' " Shout - Part 1" rounded out the top 10 (6-10). The father of the movement - Chubby Checker - meanwhile, ranked at No. 13 with " Slow Twistin'," with Dee Dee Sharp, after he had sent "The Twist" to No. 1 for a second time that January (the song remains the only title to have logged two separate runs to the summit; it had first reigned in 1960).
That's 10 coincidences of related titles appearing back-to-back in the Hot 100's top 10 alone. There's got to be so many more - so, please feel free to spotlight other examples. Flip through your Joel Whitburn books or browse every weekly top 10 in the Hot 100's history on billboard.com by using the handy "View Chart Archives" search function.
Send any other instances of random acts of two-of-a-kindness to email@example.com and we'll continue the discussion in the next "Ask Billboard."