Last January, Chart Beat paid respects to songs that peaked at No. 11 on various Billboard charts, just one spot from a more fortunate top 10 rank. Still, several No. 11 hits have gone on to become well-worn classics, including the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby," Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" and Linkin Park's "Numb."
Ironically, peaking at No. 12, despite its lower rank, can satisfy a label and artist more than reaching No. 11. "No one wants to wind up at No. 2, 6 or 11. But, of those, No. 11 is probably the worst," says Adrian Moreira, RCA senior VP/adult music. "If you peak at No. 2, at least you can brag about reaching the top five. If you hit No. 6, a label can still market a track and/or artist as 'top 10.'
"But, if you peak at the dreaded No. 11, then the best you can boast is 'top 15,' which obviously doesn't sound as prestigious."
As 2012 gets underway, Chart Beat remembers songs that rose to No. 12 high points on Billboard surveys and, despite falling two spots shy of the top 10, remain cherished and notable.
First up, R&B/hip-hop.
"The Happening," the Supremes, 1967
A No. 12-peaking R&B song, "The Happening" is one of the legendary act's 12 Hot 100 No. 1s. Beginning with its next single, "Reflections," then-Motown president Berry Gordy tweaked the group's billing to Diana Ross & the Supremes until her 1970 departure.
"Yes We Can Can," Pointer Sisters, 1973
The song launched the family act's 30-entry R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart history. Two years later, Anita, June, Ruth and Bonnie (who went solo in 1978) notched their sole No. 1, "How Long (Betcha Got a Chick on the Side)."
"Soft and Wet," Prince, 1978
"Hey, lover, I got a sugarcane that I wanna lose in you." That opening pick-up line from the then-20-year-old's debut single clearly won fans over and introduced an icon who's sold 39.5 million albums, according to the RIAA.
"Torture," the Jacksons, 1984
The Jackson 5 expanded to six for only one album, 1984's "Victory," as Jermaine Jackson, whom brother Randy had replaced in the lineup, returned. "Torture" followed the set's lead single, the No. 4-peaking "State of Shock," featuring Mick Jagger.
"Don't You Know," Heavy D & the Boyz, 1988
The rap ballad became the act's first of nine top 40-peaking titles on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Heavy D - rapper/actor/record executive Dwight Myers - passed away at 44 in November.
"Turn This Mutha Out," M.C. Hammer, 1989
Hammer reached No. 12 twice, with this track and "Help the Children," before soaring to No. 1 with "U Can't Touch This" in 1990. At 21 weeks, the rapper's second major-label album, "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em," boasts the Billboard 200's longest reign of the last 25 years.
"Mama Said Knock You Out," LL Cool J, 1991
The track, also a No. 17 Hot 100 hit, became the third of LL Cool J's eight Gold or Platinum singles.
"Fantastic Voyage," Coolio, 1994
Coolio scored his breakthrough hit with this track that samples Lakeside's 1981 like-titled topper. A year later, he fared even better, reaching No. 2 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (and No. 1 on the Hot 100) with "Gangsta's Paradise."
"Changes," 2pac, 1999
The song combines 2pac's rapping and Bruce Hornsby's 1986 No. 1 pop hit, the piano-powered "The Way It Is." In 1998, LL Cool J had similarly revived portions of George Michael's 1988 Hot 100 No. 1 "Father Figure" as "Father" (which also reached No. 12).
"Obsessed," Mariah Carey, 2009
Carey's ribbing, and imitation in the song's video, of Eminem yielded her 30th and most recent top 20 R&B/Hip-Hop Songs placement.
"Imma Be," the Black Eyed Peas, 2010
After "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling" led the Hot 100 for 12 and 14 weeks, respectively, this song spent a more modest, although still certainly impressive, two weeks on top. On R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, however, "Be" marks the quartet's highest peak and sole top 40 hit to-date.
"I'm Back," T.I., 2010
T.I. emerged from incarceration with a new appreciation for freedom. "Think the power is in your gun," he raps, "But, overall it's in your heart."