'DIVIDE'-D WE FALL

Hi Gary,

I remember there had been quite a few huge falls within the Billboard Hot 100's top 40 during the '80s, which leads me to this question regarding the current Hot 100 (dated June 13, 2009): With Linkin Park's "New Divide" diving 6-39, would that top Napoleon XVI's "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" from 1966 as the all-time biggest fall within the top 40, or has there been a bigger such drop since? It makes me curious to know the all-time biggest bungee jumps within the chart's top 40.

Respectfully,

John Maverick
Burt County, Nebraska

Hi John,

Thank you, as always, for "dropping" a line. The 6-39 slide for Linkin Park's "New Divide" does, indeed, set the mark - by one position - for biggest drop within the top 40 in the more than 50-year history of the Billboard Hot 100. The band's crash marks one of two steep descents in this week's top 40, as the "Glee" Cast's "Don't Stop Believin' " retreats 4-29.

Though "New Divide" increases by 30% in all-format airplay to an audience of 15.1 million, ranking just below the 75-position Hot 100 Airplay chart, its 62% decline in paid downloads (the track plummets 3-22 on Hot Digital Songs, selling 57,000 downloads this week, compared to 152,000 last week) is enough to send it to its 33-position thud on the Hot 100.

Here is a look at the top positional drops within the top 40 in the Hot 100's history:

33 positions (6-39), "New Divide," Linkin Park, 2009
32 positions, (5-37), "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!," XVI, 1966
30 positions (8-38), "I'm Telling You Now," Freddie and the Dreamers, 1965
29 positions (9-38), "Groovin'," the Young Rascals, 1967
29 positions (10-39), "Change," Taylor Swift, 2008
29 positions (9-38), "Fearless," Taylor Swift, 2008
28 positions (10-38), "Vacation," Connie Francis, 1962
28 positions (11-39), "Your Precious Love," Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, 1967
28 positions (12-40), "Skinny Legs and All," Joe Tex, 1968
28 positions (10-38), "Chuck E.'s in Love," Ricky Lee Jones, 1979
28 positions (11-39), "Cool Night," Paul Davis, 1982
27 positions (13-40), "The Writing on the Wall," Adam Wade, 1961
27 positions (13-40), "Uptight (Everything's Alright)," Stevie Wonder, 1966
27 positions (13-40), "Mothers Little Helper," the Rolling Stones, 1966
27 positions (12-39), "Summertime," Billy Stewart, 1966
27 positions (11-38), "Honey Chile," Martha & the Vandellas, 1968
27 positions (12-39), "Leaving on a Jet Plane," Peter, Paul & Mary, 1970
27 positions (13-40), "Use Me," Bill Withers, 1972
27 positions (12-39), "Lyin' Eyes," Eagles, 1975
27 positions (10-37), "Hold on to My Love," 1980
27 positions (9-36), "Waiting for a Girl Like You," Foreigner, 1982

The only decades not represented above are the '50s and the '90s. The former decade's top dropper within the top 40 was Wink Martindale's "Deck of Cards," which folded 12-38 in 1959. The latter's was John Mellencamp's "Get a Leg Up," which tripped 14-40 in 1991, and Spice Girls' "Goodbye" (11-37, 1999).

Ironically, two aptly-titled tracks made steep drops from high ranks to just outside the top 40: Dixie Chicks' "Landslide" (10-43, April 5, 2003) and Paul Simon's "Slip Slidin' Away" (15-47, Feb. 11, 1978). Counting the entire Hot 100, Jonas Brothers recorded the biggest fall of all-time, plunging 73 spots (16-89) on the chart dated Aug. 8, 2008, with the similarly appropriately-titled "Pushin' Me Away."

(All these statistics kind of remind me of the 1,000-foot drop that Rick, Will and Holly Marshall endured when the greatest earthquake ever known struck their tiny raft, transporting them into the "Land of the Lost." Sorry ... someone watched a bit too much of the classic TV series' marathon on Sci Fi last week and is planning on seeing the new movie version this weekend ...)