2016: The Year In Music

Ask Billboard: Chart Moves, Like 'Jagger'

Ask Billboard: Chart Moves, Like 'Jagger'

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, 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.


AS STUDENTS RETURN TO SCHOOL, A MUSICAL HISTORY LESSON

Hi Gary,

With the ascension of "Moves Like Jagger," by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera, to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, Mick Jagger becomes, by my count, the 18th real-life historical figure whose name is included in the title of a Hot 100 No. 1.

The honorees are:

"Tom Dooley," the Kingston Trio (1958) (Tom Dula, Confederate War soldier who was convicted and hanged for the murder of his fiancée)

"Stagger Lee," Lloyd Price (1959) (Stagger Lee Shelton, cab driver and pimp convicted of murder)

"Mr. Custer," Larry Verne (1960) (General George Armstrong Custer, Indian War general killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn)

"Dominique," the Singing Nun (1963) (Saint Dominic, Spanish priest and founder of the Dominican Order)

"Ringo," Lorne Greene (1964) (Johnny Ringo, Old West gunfighter)

"I'm Henry VIII, I Am," Herman's Hermits (1965) (King Henry VIII, British monarch)

"Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," Paul and Linda McCartney (1971) (WWII American Fleet Admiral William Halsey, Jr.)

"A Fifth of Beethoven," Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band (1976) (Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer)

"Sir Duke," Stevie Wonder (1977) (Duke Ellington, American jazz musician)

"MacArthur Park," Donna Summer (1978) (General Douglas MacArthur, American general and field marshall of the Philippine Army)

"Bette Davis Eyes," Kim Carnes (1981) (Bette Davis, two-time Oscar-winning film actress)

"St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)," John Parr (1985) (Saint Erasmus of Formiae, aka St. Elmo, Christian saint and martyr; patron saint of sailors)

"Rock Me Amadeus," Falco (1986) (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer)

"Jacob's Ladder," Huey Lewis and the News (1987) (Jacob, Biblical patriarch; third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant)

"Ice, Ice Baby," Vanilla Ice (1990) (Vanilla Ice, American rapper)

"Hey There Delilah," Plain White T's (2007) (Delilah DiCrescenzo, American distance runner)

"Crank That (Soulja Boy)," Soulja Boy Tell 'Em (2007) (Soulja Boy, American rapper and record producer)

"Moves Like Jagger," Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera (2011) (Mick Jagger, British singer-songwriter; lead vocalist of iconic rock band the Rolling Stones)


Despite popular belief, "Angie", by the Rolling Stones, is not about David Bowie's ex-wife, model and cover girl Angela Bowie; Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana" is not about Diana Ross or Princess Diana; and OutKast's "Ms. Jackson" was not written about Janet Jackson.

Here's wishing you, and everyone reading, a great Labour Day weekend!

Blair Buchta
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, 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.


GROUPIES

Dear Gary,

Among the many feats of "Moves Like Jagger" topping the Hot 100 is that it is the sixth No. 1 to pair a male group with a female solo artist.

Here is a list of all such collaborators:

"Then Came You," Dionne Warwicke & Spinners, 1974
"Opposites Attract," Paula Abdul (Duet With the Wild Pair), 1990
"One Sweet Day," Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men, 1995

"Thank God I Found You," Mariah Carey featuring Joe & 98 Degrees, 2000
"Party Rock Anthem," LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock, 2011
"Moves Like Jagger," Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera, 2011

Hope you survived the storm and keep up the good work,

Jeff Lerner
Long Island, New York


Thanks Jeff,

You, as well, as Long Island seems to have been hit harder overall than Westchester County, where I am. Good thoughts to all who were adversely affected by the hurricane.

Thanks for the list, and interesting that 2011 is the first year with two such No. 1s.

Two additional qualifying songs are currently ascending the Hot 100. Cobra Starship's "You Make Me Feel ...," featuring Sabi, rises 19-18 and Rascal Flatts' "Easy," featuring Natasha Bedingfield, lifts 68-64.

"Feel" is Cobra Starship's second charted song with a female guest. Its debut hit, "Good Girls Go Bad" (No. 7, 2009), showcased the vocals of Leighton Meester.
Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, 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.


'HEAD'S UP

Hi Gary,

Here's some fun with adjacent titles on the Hot 100 this week.

Usually, the term is 'head over heels.' On this week's chart, however, it's "Heels" over "Head." Pistol Annies' "Hell on Heels" steps in as the Hot Shot Debut at No. 55, while Lupe Fiasco's "Out of My Head," featuring Trey Songz, ranks at No. 56.

And, as two "Head"s are better than one, Andy Grammer's "Keep Your Head Up" follows at No. 57.

A bit lower on the list, we have the recipe for a beautiful, laid-back day:

No. 83, "Fish," Craig Campbell
No. 84, "Sail," AWOLNATION
No. 85, "Walk," Foo Fighters

All best done, of course, when the world outside is "Brighter Than the Sun," to quote Colbie Caillat's new single ... at No. 82.

Pablo Nelson
Berkeley, California


Thanks Pablo,

In additional back-to-back-to-back chart headlines, on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Lil Wayne appears on each title in the top three:

TW-LW, Title, Artist(s)
1-1, "I'm on One," DJ Khaled featuring Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne
2-2, "Motivation," Kelly Rowland featuring Lil Wayne
3-4, "How to Love," Lil Wayne

As "Love" reaches a new peak, Weezy makes history as the first artist in the Nielsen Music era (Dec. 5, 1992-present) to concurrently lock down the chart's top three spots simultaneously.

Not a bad way to further fuel interest in "Tha Carter IV," expected to crown next week's Billboard 200.
Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, 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.


INTERESTING INSTRUMENTS, CONTINUED

Hi Gary,

I would like to add one more title to the lists of hit songs featuring unusual instruments, discussed the last two weeks in "Ask Billboard."

"Moonlight Feels Right" by Starbuck (No. 3, 1976), features a xylophone.

Thanks for the topic!

Tim Powers
Waterford, Connecticut



Hi Gary,

Speaking of whistling practically dominating the Hot 100's top 10 of late, including infusing the new No. 1, "Moves Like Jagger," has anyone mentioned "The Lazy Song"? Bruno Mars whistled while he worked it to No. 4 in June.

And, since a reader mentioned bassoons, that instrument is featured in the legendary "Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (No. 1, 1970).

Matthew Stewart
Oakland, California



Hi Gary,

Hot 100 hits with unusual instrumentation?

How about "Life In a Northern Town" by the Dream Academy (No. 7, 1986) with an English horn (and two celli and timpani)?

Or, "The Mummer's Dance" by Loreena McKennitt (No. 18, 1998), with an oud and a hurdy gurdy (aka, wheel fiddle)?

Or, "Take It to Heart" by Michael McDonald (only No. 98 on the Hot 100 but No. 4 on Adult Contemporary in 1990), with a coral (electric) sitar?

Kind regards,

Dirk Heinrich
Eckernförde, Germany



Hi Gary,

If we're going to mention the slide whistle, how about the slide-whistle classic, "The Streak," by Ray Stevens? The song spent three weeks at No. 1 in 1974.

And, if I'm not mistaken, wasn't that a banjo in Heart's "Dreamboat Annie?" (the stand-alone version, not the one which leads into "Crazy on You").

Andy Ray
Carmel, Indiana


Thanks Tim, Matthew and Dirk.

And, Andy, it is a banjo, as picked by Geoff Foubert.

As for whistles, how about yet another kind of whistle? New Kids on the Block's "Hangin' Tough" features a police whistle. The song hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 this chart week in 1989.

A current country hit also stands out for its unique instrumentation. Billy Currington's "Love Done Gone" eschews the genre's more organic trademark sound in favor of a brass attack.

The happily disguised breakup song bullets at No. 14 this week on Country Songs.
Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, 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.


INTERESTING INSTRUMENTS, CONTINUED

Hi Gary,

As a longtime Billboard charts fan, here are some more songs that have featured instruments you don't hear too often in pop music.

Max Crook conceived and developed the Musitron organ, a hybrid synthesizer, in 1959. Two years later, it helped Del Shannon rule for four weeks with "Runaway."

In the Bee Gees' "Tragedy" (No. 1, 1979), Barry Gibb made the song's explosion sound with, simply, his mouth cupped.

Diana Ross and the Supremes' "Reflections" (No. 2, 1967, and the first song to feature Ross specifically) was influenced by the rise of psychedelic rock and pop, with its use of an oscillator.

The harpsichord, as heard on "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and other Beatles songs, also symbolizes that era.

Some other notable non-instrument sounds from rock's golden early days:

Frank Wilson, "Last Kiss": broken glass
R Dean Taylor, "Indiana Wants Me": police siren
Bobby Darin, "Splish Splash": water sounds, of course
Buzz Clifford, "Baby Sittin' Boogie": baby gurgling
the Beach Boys, "409": car sounds
Frankie Ford, "Sea Cruise": boat sounds
Cascades, "Rhythm of the Rain": the, well ... rhythm of the rain
Lovin' Spoonful, "Summer in the City": urban sounds, such as traffic

And, from summer to Halloween, which is now just two months away ...

Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers, "Monster Mash": dragging chains

Best,

Steve Resnik
"RAMP (Radio and Music Pros)" e-newsletter
Los Angeles, California

(FYI, "RAMP" senior editor Kevin Carter, Dave Sholin and Shel Resnik assisted with the list).


Thanks Steve,

It's always a great pleasure to mine your vast knowledge of music, and chart, history. Thanks to your helpers, as well, including Dave Sholin, whose syndicated top 40 radio show, "Countdown USA," I fondly remember listening to in the late '80s!

I'll add one more song, since I'm still replaying in my head the Mary Chapin Carpenter concert I went to two weeks ago at the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford, Mass.

While she didn't perform the song, "Down at the Twist and Shout" stands as one of her top Hot Country Songs smashes (No. 2, 1991) and, like Billy Currington's current hit, expanded the sonic boundaries of commercial country music.

Have a great "Saturday night" and long holiday weekend!