Ask Billboard: What's So Unusual About Hunter Hayes' New No. 1?

Hunter Hayes performs at the GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! held at Bridgestone Arena on December 5, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Readers check in on Hayes topping Hot Country Songs, Josh Groban crowning the Billboard 200 without a top 40 single, the Lumineers' crossover success and more uncredited artist appearances.

As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20

HUNTER HAYES 'RETURNS' TO NO. 1

Hi Gary,
 
Is there any precedent to Hunter Hayes' stunning return to No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart this past week with his hit "Wanted" … after 20 weeks of waiting in the wings, so to speak? The song topped the Sept. 29, 2012, chart and had then remained in the top five (except for one week) since.

Growing up in the '70s and '80s, I considered it unusual for a song like Andy Gibb's "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" to return to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977 after merely a four-week gap.

Other than Chubby Checker's return to No. 1 on the Hot 100 with "The Twist" after a 15-month absence in two separate chart runs in 1960 and 1961-62, I can't think of any song on one of the major Billboard song charts other than "Wanted" to have had such an extensive gap between trips to the summit.
 
Sincerely,

Kenny Tucker
New Orleans, Louisiana


Hi Kenny,

It is perhaps surprising to see "Wanted" return to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs after a 20-week wait. There's a major asterisk, however, involving the feat.

When "Wanted" first topped the tally, Hot Country Songs was a radio airplay-only chart. Three weeks later, it transformed from comprising Nielsen-BDS monitored airplay on country stations to a country version of the Hot 100, reflecting the most-heard country songs across all formats, as well as the top-selling (according to Nielsen SoundScan) and most-streamed country songs each week.

So, "Wanted" has crowned Hot Country Songs first when the chart was all-airplay-based and now under its hybrid formula. Further, "Wanted" would not have led the list the week of Sept. 29 had the chart measured all three fields then. A look back at "test" charts prior to the Oct. 20 methodology switch shows that "Wanted" spent two weeks peaking at No. 2 the weeks of Sept. 29 and Oct. 6. Thus, this week marks the first that "Wanted" has shown as the most popular country song under Billboard's three-fold manner of airplay/sales/streaming measurement.



In any case, that Hayes reaches/returns to No. 1 highlights the breakout success that the 21-year-old has already achieved. It also reinforces the aim of the redesigned Hot Country Songs chart. (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Rock Songs and Hot Latin songs similarly underwent such changes in October.) The idea is to show, per the chart's title, the most popular country songs in the U.S. After its run to No. 1 on the all-airplay-fueled version of Hot Country Songs (now known as the Country Airplay chart), "Wanted" has proven a durable crossover hit, reaching the top 25 on Pop Songs, Adult Pop Songs and Adult Contemporary.

"Wanted" ranking atop Hot Country Songs this week follows Hayes' nomination for best new artist at the Grammy Awards (Feb. 10) and his performance of the ballad's chorus before he introduced Carrie Underwood singing a medley of her Hot Country Songs top 10s "Blown Away" and "Two Black Cadillacs."

That's quite a step up from when he sang the song for members of the charts department in the cozy library at Billboard's New York offices more than a year ago (see above).

Even then, it was apparent for the lucky few in attendance that the song was bound for much wider audiences.

As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20

No. 1 ... BUT NOT IN THE TOP 40

Hi Gary,

With Josh Groban scoring his third No. 1 album ("All That Echoes") on the Billboard 200 this past week, I was wondering if you could please note other artists who've had No. 1 albums but no top 40 hit singles on the Hot 100.

Also, with today being Presidents' Day in the U.S., I'd like to mention that in the history of the Hot 100, the names of two presidents – Chester Arthur and Andrew Jackson – have graced the titles of No. 1 songs:  Christopher Cross' "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" and OutKast's "Ms. Jackson."

Happy Presidents' Day!

Blair Buchta
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Hi Blair,

As discussed in Friday's "Weekly Chart Notes" column, top 40 singles success may be one of Groban's few chart feats not yet achieved, as he's become a top-selling (22 million albums sold in the U.S. so far, according to Nielsen SoundScan) AC/"popera" sensation (while still wooing younger audiences), even if he hasn't crossed over a hit to pop radio, or the Hot 100's top 40.

Before the advent of SoundScan sales data, which began powering the Billboard 200 the week of May 25, 1991, star pop acts routinely led the chart for lengthy stretches with sets whose singles soared up the Hot 100, such as Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (37 weeks), Prince's "Purple Rain" soundtrack (24) and M.C. Hammer's "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em" (21).

Since, SoundScan has shown that albums often enjoy their strongest sales upon their debuts, often at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. And, that success stretches across all genres. With consumers today able to find music from so many sources – radio, online, TV, commercials, video games, etc. – a top 40-charting single on the Hot 100 is now merely one way for an act to build enough of a following to top the Billboard 200.

Here's a look at acts since just the beginning of 2010, including Groban (who's risen as high as No. 70 on the Hot 100 with "The Prayer (Live)," with Celine Dion, in 2008), that have crowned the Billboard 200 despite not having tallied a top 40-peaking Hot 100 hit. (The list excludes Jack White, who'd reached the Hot 100's top 40 as a member of the White Stripes before his solo "Blunderbuss" led the May 12, 2012, Billboard 200):
 
Artist, No. 1 Album, Date Reached No. 1 (Genre)
Josh Groban, "All That Echoes," Feb. 23, 2013 (adult contemporary/classical crossover)
Chris Tomlin, "Burning Lights," Jan. 26, 2013 (Christian)
tobyMac, "Eye On It," Sept, 15, 2012 (Christian)
Mac Miller, "Blue Slide Park," Nov. 26, 2011 (rap)
Jill Scott, "The Light of the Sun," July 9, 2011 (jazz/R&B)
Amos Lee, "Mission Bell," Feb. 12, 2011 (folk/rock)



The Decemberists, "The King Is Dead," Feb. 5, 2011 (folk/rock)
Cake, "Showroom of Compassion," Jan. 29, 2011 (alternative)
Susan Boyle, "The Gift," Nov. 27, 2010 (vocal/standards)
Disturbed, "Asylum," Sept. 18, 2010 (rock)
Arcade Fire, "The Suburbs," Aug. 21, 2010 (alternative)
Avenged Sevenfold, "Nightmare," Aug. 14, 2010 (rock)
Godsmack, "The Oracle," May 22, 2010 (rock)
Vampire Weekend, "Contra," Jan. 30, 2010 (alternative)

As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20

'HO HEY''S MANY HOMES

Gary – any idea of the last time a song charted on as many formats as "Ho Hey" has done now?

@KurtTrowbridge


Hi Kurt,

Following its success at rock, pop and adult formats, the Lumineers' breakout hit is now climbing Country Airplay. "Ho Hey" debuted on the chart at No. 60 this past week … joining another multi-format smash, Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait," which rises 49-46.

As reported by Billboard country chart manager Wade Jessen, "Hey" garnered spins at three monitored country stations last week, led by KMLE Phoenix (22 plays). KMLE also played "Wait" 37 times in that span. Although neither of the songs is being aggressively promoted at country radio, KMLE program director Jeff Garrison says, "[Both groups make] music with real lyrics and real instruments that speak to everyone, not just one format of listeners. The reaction has been tremendously positive, with most listeners telling us that both bands belong on KMLE."

Let's take a look at the airplay chart performances of both songs so far:



"Ho Hey"
No. 1 (eight weeks), Adult Pop Songs
No. 1 (eight weeks), Triple A
No. 1 (two weeks), Rock Airplay
No. 1 (two weeks), Alternative Songs
No. 2, Radio Songs (all-format)
No. 2, Pop Songs
No. 15, Adult Contemporary
No. 60, Country Airplay

"I Will Wait"
No. 1 (11 weeks), Triple A
No. 1 (10 weeks), Rock Airplay
No. 1 (one week), Alternative Songs
No. 10, Adult Pop Songs
No. 25, Radio Songs (all-format)
No. 27, Pop Songs
No. 46, Country Airplay

As impressive as both songs' reaches continue to be, neither has yet to wrest the honor of Billboard's most widely-crossed-over hit of the past 25 years, an honor given to a song that also charted at R&B, dance and Latin formats (although not country): Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," the Hot 100's top title of 2011. (Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," featuring Kimbra, the No. 1 song of 2012, also garnered multi-format acceptance, although not from R&B radio.)

Here's a look, chronologically, at the depth of "Deep," i.e., the airplay chart odyssey of the song across the record 12 radio-based surveys on which it appeared:

Debut Date, Chart, Peak Position
Dec. 11, 2010, Triple A, No. 1 (14 weeks)
Dec. 25, 2010, Adult Pop Songs, No. 1 (13 weeks)
Jan. 22, 2011, Rock Songs, No. 15
March 19, 2011, Alternative Songs, No. 21
March 26, 2011, Adult Contemporary, No. 1 (19 weeks)
April 2, 2011, Radio Songs (all-format), No. 1 (six weeks)
April 2, 2011, Pop Songs, No. 1 (five weeks)
April 2, 2011, Dance Airplay, No. 2
May 28, 2011, Rhythmic, No. 12
July 2, 2011, R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, No. 61
July 2, 2011, Latin Pop Airplay, No. 16
July 23, 2011, Latin Airplay, No. 43

As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20

SOLO DUETS, READERS RESPOND, CONTINUED

Hi Gary!

A belated happy 2013 to you! Per the ongoing "Ask Billboard" topic, I'd like to add some more artists who were featured in songs but not given an official credit.

On Kenny Loggins' No. 5 hit from 1978, "Whenever I Call You Friend," Loggins receives sole credit, although the song features memorable vocals from Stevie Nicks.

You can also hear Fleetwood Mac's Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham, on John Stewart's 1979 hits "Gold" and "Midnight Wind," but only Stewart gets the credit.

Later that year, Fleetwood Mac scored a No. 8 Hot 100 hit with the highly unusual single "Tusk," on which the band collaborated with the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band. It set a record for the most musicians performing on a single. The USC ensemble got a platinum disc out of it but no official credit on the single.

Geddy Lee of Rush didn't receive billing on "Take Off," the 1982 novelty hit by Bob & Doug McKenzie … even though Rush was on the same label at the time (Mercury).

In 1985, remixer, producer and frequent Madonna collaborator Jellybean hit No. 18 on the Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Dance/Club Play Songs chart with "Sidewalk Talk." Madonna wrote the song and provides memorable backing vocals, with Catherine Buchanan on lead vocals.  Neither diva received official credit on the song.



In 1989, "Heaven Help Me," the lone Hot 100 hit for Deon Estus, bassist for Wham! and George Michael, was a No. 5 hit.  Michael co-wrote the song and provides additional vocals, but no official credit on the ballad.

In 1996, Primitive Radio Gods' "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand" spent six weeks at No. 1 on Alternative Songs (then named Modern Rock Tracks) and employs a heavy sample of B.B. King's "How Blue Can You Get" from 1964. King, however, does not receive billing on "Standing."

Speaking of hefty samples, Diana Ross' No. 5 hit from 1980 "I'm Coming Out" was prominently used in the 1997 No. 1 hit, "Mo Money Mo Problems," by the Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy and Mase. But, Ross was not credited.

Oh, and one more favorite from 1985, a real deep cut. Former Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey hit No. 1 in at multiple countries with "A Good Heart" (a No. 74 hit on the Hot 100). "Heart" had some star power behind it, as it was written by Lone Justice's Maria McKee and produced by Eurythmics' Dave Stewart. Culture Club's Boy George, meanwhile, is prominently featured on backing vocals.

Thanks for revisiting this fun topic!

Ron Raymond, Jr.
Host/Producer, "Stuck in the '80s"
WMPG-FM and WMPG.org
Portland, Maine

As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20

SOLO DUETS, READERS RESPOND, CONTINUED

Hi Gary,

I came up with two more songs (from the '80s) that I believe fit into the category of including notable uncredited artists:

Prince and the Revolution, "Take Me With U" (1985). Uncredited: Apollonia

...and one that always baffled me as to of why an artist was not fully credited despite being heard in such a prominent portion of the song (maybe because he wasn't singing, merely talking … creepily):



Michael Jackson, "Thriller" (1984). Uncredited: Vincent Price

Thanks,

Chris Sammond
Cincinnati, Ohio



Hey Gary,

Here's one: "Doin' It," LL Cool J (1996) features vocals from Leshaun – yet she was not credited officially.

Thanks,

Jim Radenhausen
Reeders, Pennsylvania



Hi Gary,

In regards to songs with non-credited featured artists, a number of '90s singles came to my mind:

PM Dawn (featuring Cathy Dennis, if not officially), "Looking Through Patient Eyes," 1993 (a No. 6 hit on the Hot 100)
Duran Duran (Lamya), "Come Undone," 1993 (No. 7)
Paula Abdul (Ofra Haza), "My Love Is for Real," 1995 (No. 28)
Paula Abdul (Color Me Badd), "Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up," 1995




And, speaking of Abdul, her 1992 hit "Will You Marry Me?" (No. 19) also features some noteworthy assistance, but of the instrumental kind: a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder.

Thanks!

Vince Forrington
Vancouver, British Columbia