Jason Aldean's '1994' enters the Billboard Hot 100, marking the chart's latest hit whose title doubles as a year.
"I was a junior in high school in '94 and Joe Diffie was huge," Jason Aldean told Billboard last year. "I went to the Cherry Blossom Street Party in Macon [Ga.], with Kenny Chesney on one stage and Joe Diffie on the other stage.
"There were 5,000 people watching Joe Diffie and about 500 watching Kenny Chesney."
Aldean's affection for Diffie, who notched 17 top 10s, including five No. 1s, on Hot Country Songs between 1990 and 2000, is apparent on his current single, "1994," which enters the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 93. "1994, Joe Diffie comin' out my radio," Aldean sings. "I'm just a country boy with a farmer's tan / So help me girl, I'll be your pickup man," he adds, referencing two of Diffie's hits: "So Help Me Girl," which reached No. 2 on Hot Country Songs in 1995, and "Pickup Man" a four-week No. 1 beginning in December … 1994.
"1994," isn't however, the first Hot 100 hit whose title is a year. Seven such songs preceded it (excluding titles with extra words, like the Four Seasons' 1976 No. 1 "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"). Let's time-travel through the list:
The French alternative group's breakout song reached No. 84 on the Hot 100 in 2010 – and No. 1 for two weeks on Alternative Songs. (It also helped shift alternative to more a melodic and synthesizer-based sound following the crunchy earlier 2000s.) "Paris in 1901 was better than it is now. So, the song is a fantasy about Paris," the band's lead singer Thomas Mars has explained.
"1941," Tom Northcott
The Canadian folk singer's No. 88-peaking 1968 single was written by Harry Nilsson. "Well in 1941, a happy father had a son," the story song begins. Twenty years later, the son and his wife "got a house not far from town and in a little while / The girl had seen the doctor and she came home with a smile. Now in 1961, a happy father had a son" of his own.
"1973," James Blunt
The singer best known for his 2006 No. 1 ballad "You're Beautiful" upped the tempo on "1973," which reached, fittingly, No. 73 in 2007. "The '70s sound like they were a time of excess and great flamboyance [and with] a sense of fun, as well," Blunt mused upon the song's release.
"1979," the Smashing Pumpkins
The band's 1996 smash rose to No. 12 on the Hot 100 and marks its lone No. 1, among a hefty 17 top 10s, on Alternative Songs. "We don't know just where our bones will rest / To dust, I guess," goes the quintessential nugget of '90s angst.
The somewhat controversial nature of the Los Angeles band's song may have hindered its Hot 100 performance (No. 69, 1970). "It's time you started thinking inside your head that you should stand up and fight," it suggests. "Oh, just where will you be when your freedom is dead / Won't you listen tonight?"
"1985," Bowling for Soup
What a difference a year makes: contrasting with the gravity of the song above, pop/punk band Bowling for Soup ribbed lost '80s youth on its 2004 No. 23 hit. "Nothing has been alright since Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, way before Nirvana / There was U2 and Blondie and music still on MTV / Her two kids in high school, they tell her that she's uncool / 'Cause she's still preoccupied with 19 … 19 … 1985!"
Likely the most celebrated of all songs whose titles are years, "1999" reached No. 12 on the Hot 100 in 1983. It returned in early 1999 (of course) to tally a week at No. 40. Not only did the song popularize the phrase, "party like it's 1999," but the axiom continues to take on new life. "We gonna party like it's 3012 tonight," Justin Bieber sings on his recent Hot 100 top five hit "Beauty and a Beat," featuring Nicki Minaj.
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